UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The forest for the tree : the Pacific Northwest lumber industry and environmental legislation, 1965-1976 Heard, Carrie Harbin Parnie


This thesis examines the response of the Pacific Northwest lumber industry to the environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s and to the legislation the movement inspired. The economic fortunes of the Pacific Northwest have been tied to the lumber industry from the time the region was settled. Until the mid-1960s the lumber industry enjoyed unrivalled influence on policies affecting logging practices on public and private lands. The environmental movement was a strong and unexpected opposition to the industry and its practices. However, the lumber industry mistook changes in the political climate for nothing more than negative public opinion. It was on this problem that the industry repeatedly concentrated, which gave the environmentalists a number of advantages in the political arena. The result was environmental legislation passed at the state and federal levels. The industry was able to begin swinging the pendulum of political influence back to its side when the United States' economy entered a recession in the early 1970s. Armed with figures on inflation and unemployment the lumber industry attempted to convince Congress and the public that environmental regulation and prosperity were not compatible. Although the industry was never again caught off guard as it was by the environmentalists in the 1960s, it never regained the level of political influence that it had prior to that decade. While this thesis concentrates on the general trends of the lumber industry response to events in the late 19 60s and early 1970s, the background of the industry and the climate which gave rise to the environmental movement have also been examined.

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