We Stand Corrected: Paul Kennard Does Not Link Oso Landslide to Logging

May 23, 2014

In early April, we noted a story in the Seattle Times insinuating a link between a nine-year-old timber harvest and the Oso landslide. One of the sources quoted regarding the inadequacy of the analysis of the timber harvest and the underlying watershed analysis was geologist Paul Kennard.

In the article Kennard complained that in discussing the watershed analysis "Everything had to be argued to the nth degree if it involved leaving a stick of timber." Another article about the timber harvest and the landslide says Kennard "worked with the Tulalip tribe in the 1980s to restrict timber harvests near the Hazel slope because of fears that it would collapse."

As a result of those quotes, we wrote at the time "Of the scientists quoted in the story, only one is willing to point the finger at the timber harvest as a source of the landslide: Paul Kennard." Recently, we received a letter from Kennard's lawyer saying that our conclusion is incorrect and asked that we correct the record.

Kennard does not, his lawyer writes, believe the timber harvest is the source of the landslide. They wrote:

His lawyer goes on to say that Kennard believes:

So, we stand corrected. It sounds as if Kennard's position is similar to the U.S. Geological Survey and other geologists who have thrown cold water on the connection insinuated by the Times, the Stranger and environmental activists like Peter Goldman.

Kennard's lawyer believes our previous statement saying Kennard linked the landslide to the timber harvest is a serious issue. He wrote that such "inaccurate statements attributed to Mr. Kennard may have significant consequences to him." We e-mailed, asking what those consequences might be, but Kennard’s lawyer did not answer. Our assumption is that connecting the landslide to the timber harvest is so obviously unscientific that such a conclusion would harm his reputation among his peers.

So, our characterization of his position on the Oso landslide and logging was incorrect. Mr. Kennard and his lawyer did not, however, deny that he called the people who firebombed the U.W. “eco-patriots.” Nor did they deny, or retract, or express regret for calling the researchers at the U.W. “eco-terrorists.” Nor did Kennard deny or retract his statement calling geologists working with timber companies prostitutes.

One step at a time I guess.