July 3

How to Comment on Timber Sales at a BNR Meeting (WA)

Timber Sales

Here's how to comment on a proposed timber sale at the monthly WA Board of Natural Resources meetings held remotely by webinar every month. 

Next Meeting:  Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 9 a.m.

These meetings are public-friendly. Public comments are taken at the start of the meeting. Please make your voice heard, very few people typically comment (aside from timber industry reps) so your comment DOES make a difference.

Step 1. Go to this page on the DNR website: https://www.dnr.wa.gov/about/boards-and-councils/board-natural-resources.  Check the bottom of the page for a list of upcoming meetings and their agendas. (Even if your timber sale isn't on a meeting's agenda you CAN still comment.)

Step 2. At the top of the page you'll see a Covid19 update telling you if the next meeting will be held remotely. It looks like this, below. Click on the link that says "are available here" in blue.

screenshot of bnr site

Step 3. On the next page, copy the Session ID number, then click the 'joinwebinar.com' link to go to the webinar site.

Step 4. On the Join Webinar website enter the Session ID number and your email address. (It does not have to be a business email address.)

bnr webinar signup box

Step 5. On the next page. 

  • Choose 'No' for "Listen Only".
  • Choose 'Yes' for comment during "General Items of Interest" if your timber sale is NOT on that day's agenda.
  • Choose 'Yes' for comment during "Timber Sale Action Items" if your timber sale IS on that day's agenda.
Most Important: Do not sweat these details! the important thing is to comment.

It's a public-friendly meeting and if you sign up for the wrong category they will still listen and assign your comment to the right category. So if you're arriving late and didn't have time to check the agenda, just choose "General Items of Interest".

Then wait for the meeting to start. They'll automatically mute you until your comment time starts, so make sure your volume is on and ready for when that happens.

Comments are taken early on the in the meeting, so they're done quickly. You do NOT have to have your comments scripted, just say whatever you think for up to 3 minutes.

Here's an example of a Board of Natural Resources meeting from May 2020:  https://www.tvw.org/watch/?clientID=9375922947&eventID=2020051011

Yes, it does take some effort but it's a heck of a lot better than pre-Covid, when you had to basically take the day off of work to drive down to Olympia to make a 3-minute comment - not feasible for many people.

(Meanwhile, the lobbyists and industry representatives who are also making comments are on their company's clock and being paid to be there - a bit eyebrow-raising when you think about it from a democracy standpoint.)

Let's hope Board of Natural Resources sticks with the webinar format for public comments on timber sales once Covid restrictions are lifted. It certainly seems like a more democratic process when the public doesn't have to take an entire day to travel to Olympia to comment on a timber sale that DNR wants to log in their back yard.

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