Oregon Forest Research Institute and Lobbying
This past August, a team of reporters from the Oregonian, OPB and ProPublica published a hard hitting investigative article exposing the propaganda and lobbying activities of the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFR)I. OFRI is a tax-payer funded state agency that is not permitted to influence or attempt to influence policy. According to the article, OFRI staff has sought to suppress and undermine reports from Oregon State University about impacts of logging on Oregon’s drinking water. OFRI staff has engaged in illegal lobbying activities, and sought to influence policy and protect the interest of large corporate timber companies.
OFRI staff actively undermined scientific research from Oregon State University that showed how Oregon could drastically reduce its carbon footprint. The research showed that forests needed to grow longer, and that short rotation tree farms store about one-third of the carbon of natural forests. OFRI’s Executive Director did the bidding of the timber industry and tried to discredit the authors, much like Big Tobacco tried to suppress evidence of the cancer-causing effects of smoking for decades.
“Internal emails show a tax-funded agency created to educate people about forestry has acted as a public-relations agency and lobbying arm for Oregon’s timber industry, in some cases skirting legal constraints that forbid it from doing so”