After Exposé, Oregon House Moves To Curb Forest Institute’s Power, Budget

"The Oregon House on Tuesday passed a bill to redirect funding from a tax-funded institute created 30 years ago to inform residents about forestry, after an investigation found that the organization sought to discredit scientists and acted as a lobbying and public relations arm for the timber industry.

Representatives voted 32-27 to cut the Oregon Forest Resources Institute’s budget by two-thirds and redirect the money to the type of climate science the organization tried to undermine. The legislation, which now moves to the Oregon State Senate for consideration, would increase oversight of the institute and end its public advertising campaign. It would also shift $2.7 million of the institute’s $4 million annual budget to the Oregon Department of Forestry for projects that include climate research in forests and that would educate smaller family forestland owners about the state’s logging laws.

A joint investigation by The Oregonian/OregonLive, Oregon Public Broadcasting and ProPublica in August revealed that the institute had acted as a de facto lobbying arm of the timber industry, in some cases skirting legal constraints that forbid it from doing so. The investigation showed that the organization attacked and attempted to discredit scientists studying carbon in Oregon’s forests, with one top official calling them “folks who likely believe that the planet would be better off without humans.”"

Rob Davis reports for the Portland Oregonian and Tony Schick for Oregon Public Broadcasting June 9, 2021.


"What Happened When a Public Institute Became a De Facto Lobbying Arm of the Timber Industry" (ProPublica)

Source: Oregonian/OPB, 06/10/2021