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Virginia Forest Watch
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Virginia Forest Watch
Press Release


For Immediate Release
April 14, 2005
Contact:
Gerald Gray (276) 926-4607
Steve Brooks (276) 479-2176


Bad Logging Practices Continue!
“Worst Job Ever” Found in Buchanan County


Despite what the Logging Industry says, Best Management Practices are not being used sufficiently in Virginia. Virginia Forest Watch (VAFW) was recently tipped off about a logging job in Buchanan County that has resulted in extensive environmental damage and has led to court action.

What is reported by the Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF) as the "worst-ever logging job" was stopped after 8 acres had been devastated. Commonwealth's Attorney, Shelia Tolliver went to the job, and got an injunction under the Big Sandy law which stopped the job.

According to DOF Water Resources Program Manager Matt Poirot, "Belcher's Fork (damage) is just way more intense and concentrated, with a danger to life and property thrown into the mix, I believe that is what makes it worse."

Virginia Forest Watch, Sierra Club and other organizations have been pushing for better forest management practices for some time.

According to Gerald Gray, VAFW chair "When we see jobs like this it only goes to show there is a need for us to continue monitor logging jobs and push for better laws that will protect our streams."

The 25 acre job is located in the northwest corner of Buchanan County, close to the Breaks Interstate Park and the Clinch Ranger District of the Jefferson National Forest. The Department of Forestry issued a citation to the logger and land owner for failing to notify.

Several homes below the site were threatened by water and mud damage caused by the mud slides, and nearby creeks and roads were filled with mud.

The attempt to log on such steep land can not be done without such results, unless cable or helicopter logging is used. As a result the logger and land owner have been taken to court by county officials.

On April 6 representatives of VAFW meet with Robert Bloxom, the new Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, and showed him photos of the Buchanan County job. He was supportive of their request that changes need to be made to prevent further logging practices like this.

In a recent statement in the Roanoke Times Bloxom stated "We're almost to the point in time where we have to make BMPs mandatory. We don't want to impede or close down the industry, but from an environmental perspective we'll come down on the industry and have them mandate BMPs."

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Photos from northwest Buchanan County logging job: