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Wild Olympics responds to new economic impact study

November 30th, 2012 - 5:47am

(Quilcene) -- Supporters of federal legislation to add wilderness to Olympic National Forest and designate local rivers as wild and scenic are lashing out at an economic impact study.

Wild Olympics campaign chair Connie Gallant calls the study released earlier this week as "designed to generate fear and uncertainty."

The Port of Port Angeles, Clallam County and city of Forks paid for a look at the proposed legislation and outlined possible job losses.

The study said the legislation could result in more than a thousand jobs lost in Clallam County if a cutback in available timber product forced a shutdown of sawmills and the Nippon Paper mill in Port Angeles.

But Gallant says the report doesn't justify how the Wild Olympics proposal would result in such a scenario.

The economic impact plan does say the legislation would directly result in the loss of about a dozen jobs in Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor and Mason counties.

Gallant says a lack of funding and staffing to properly implement the Northwest Forest Plan may have a greater impact on timber jobs locally.

She says additional harvest is possible and her group would work with local timber communities to chart a separate path forward to get more timber on the market.

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