Lawrence Summers Memorial Award

The April 1998 Lawrence Summers Memorial Award* goes to Jim Brown, Oregon state forester.

"The Oregon Department of Forestry wants to give up its authority to halt clear-cutting on landslide-prone slopes above homes because it does not think protecting the public's safety is its job," the Portland Oregonian reported in April 1998. "The way the statutes are constructed, our role is environmental protection," state forester Jim Brown told the Oregonian. "The role of public safety falls on local governments." The forestry department also recommended against renewing a current state ban on clearcuts on slopes above homes -- a position at odds with the Oregon Forest Industries Council. ("Forestry Agency Says Its Concern is Trees, Not People," by Jonathan Brinckman, Portland Oregonian, April 16, 1998, courtesy of the Native Forest Council).

*In a 1991 internal memorandum, then-World Bank economist and current Deputy Secretary of Treasury Lawrence Summers argued for the transfer of waste and dirty industries from industrialized to developing countries. "Just between you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs (lesser developed countries)?" Summers wrote. "I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that. ... I've always thought that underpopulated countries in Africa are vastly under polluted; their air quality is vastly inefficiently low [sic] compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City." Summers later said the memo was meant to be ironic.