The Pacific Northwest

Most of the lush old growth forests that once blanketed the Pacific Northwest were logged by Weyerhaeuser—bought in 1899 at $6 an acre from Northern Pacific Railway. Northern Pacific, in turn, acquired the land through a grant issued by President Abraham Lincoln (for free) in the name of Westward expansion. By its own estimate, Weyerhaeuser has clearcut four million acres of forests since 1900.

Today, Weyerhaeuser owns 2.5 million acres in the Pacific Northwest, almost all of which has been converted into industrial farms. In these monoculture farms, trees are harvested like crops—wiping out habitat, depleting groundwater and leeching the soil with chemical herbicides and fertilizers.

These recent clearcuts are from Weyerhaeuser’s Millicoma Tree Farm - a 209,000 acre plantation in Oregon. In a regulatory sleight of hand, Weyerhaeuser's permit for the farm allows the company to eliminate the last 16,000 acres of endangered northern spotted owl habitat in the area. The company is now pushing to ax what remains of federal regulations that limit logging in other endangered species habitat in favor of voluntary measures.

Aside from forests, Weyerhaeuser is also undercutting local businesses—pouring money into underperforming hardwood mills in Oregon and Washington and pushing small mill-owners and workers out of a job. Frustrated mill owners took the case to court and took over $143 million in judgments and verdicts from Weyerhaeuser in 2003 and 2004—near record amounts at the time.