Bill to end logging on federal lands introduced to congress HR 2789

Muskie mike at
Sun Nov 9 05:53:43 EST 1997

Forest Alert 10/31/1997

Bill to end Timber Sales Program on our National Forests Introduced in 

<Picture>On October 31, 1997, an end to the destructive and wasteful 
timber sales program on our National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, 
and BLM lands has come one step closer to completion. Rep. Cynthia 
McKinney (D-Georgia) and Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) have introduced 
landmark bi-partisan legislation that will finally protect and restore 
our Federal public forests from the largest government chain-saw 
massacre in history. This Bill, known as the The National Forest 
Protection and Restoration Act (NFPRA), will end the century-long 
plunder of our national heritage on more than 250 million acres of 
federal lands. The list of original co-sponsors includes Bob Filner 
(D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), 
John Lewis (D-GA), George Brown (D-CA), Julian Dixon (D-CA) and Henry 
Waxman (D-CA). 

The Sierra Club is poised to lead this campaign and change the political 
debate over forest management in this country, forever. To this end, 
Sierra Club has recently released an economic report that details the 
money losing nature of the timber sales program in our National Forests 
and will also be running a full-page ad in the western edition of the NY 

The bill itself is visionary and provides solutions for problems 
associated with the need to restore our forest ecosystems, based on the 
best science, and also helps workers, potentially displaced by the 
passage of this bill, retrain, relocate and find new, more ecologically 
sustainable jobs. 

The National Forest Protection and Restoration Act (NFPRA): 

•Preserves America's national forest heritage, protecting and restoring 
the ecological values of our federal public forests by ending the 
federal government's timber sale program on National Forests, National 
Wildlife Refuges, and BLM Lands. •Immediately protects all roadless 
areas by canceling existing timber sales in those areas. •Immediately 
prohibits all new timber sales, cancels Salvage Rider sales, and phases 
out all existing timber sales within 2 years. •Will save taxpayers 
hundreds of millions of dollars annually by ending the fiscally 
irresponsible federal timber sales program. •Redirects logging subsidies 
to provide funds for worker retraining; and gives preference to 
displaced timber workers for jobs in the woods doing ecological 
restoration. •Redirects logging subsidies, providing funding to replace 
25% revenue sharing payments to States for counties and local 
governments. •Redirects logging subsidies to provide funding for 
environmentally sensitive non-wood alternative paper and construction 
materials. •Begins a scientifically-based ecological restoration program 
for federal public forests. 

The McKinney-Leach bill targets the fundamental cause of the continuing 
assault on our forested ecosystems, by removing the budget-enhancing 
incentives that drive the U.S. Forest Service to encourage excessive and 
irresponsible logging. NFPRA prohibits the sale of timber or other wood 
products from public lands, and redirects the massive subsidies to 
worker retraining and ecological rehabilitation programs. The act 
addresses the "jobs" question by providing employment opportunities to 
displaced workers in the necessary effort of restoring damaged 
watersheds, removing landslide-causing logging roads, and encouraging 
reestablishment of native fisheries and wildlife. 

Economic Report

Sierra Club recently issued an economic analysis that exposes the 
astounding subsidies paid to timber companies by US taxpayers. For the 
first time, the enormity of the corporate welfare handouts to the 
logging industry is revealed. 
Among the findings of the Report to Congress are the following: 

•The National Forest timber sales program operated at a net loss to 
taxpayers of at least $791 million in fiscal year 1996, and returned $0 
(no receipts) to taxpayers. •If we ended the timber sales program on 
National Forests and redirected the logging subsidy, we could provide 
over $25,000 for each public lands timber worker for retraining or 
ecological restoration work--and still have over $200 million left over 
to reduce the federal deficit in the first year alone. •We don't need to 
log National Forests for our timber supply, given the fact that the 
timber cut annually from National Forests nationwide now comprises only 
3.9% of this nation's total annual wood consumption, and less than 5% of 
the sawtimber used for construction. •The Forest Service's own 
nationwide poll found that most Americans oppose commodity production, 
including timber sales, on National Forests. •Logging on national 
forests INCREASES the risk of forest fires more than any other human 
activity. •The above findings were reviewed and verified by the 
Congressional Research Service (CRS). In a report dated August 22, 1997, 
CRS concluded that, " the commentary demonstrates in figure 4 [of 
the report], essentially NO timber sales receipts were deposited in the 
General Treasury in FY1996 to offset timber program expenditures. Thus, 
one can conclude that $791 million is a 'reasonable estimate' of the 
cost of the Forest Service's FY1996 timber program to taxpayers." 
(emphasis in original) 


An essential element of this campaign is outreach to other environmental 
groups as well as to nontraditional constituencies. Christians for 
Environmental Stewardship, for example, recently announced support for 
ending the timber sales program. We are actively seeking endorsements 
from all sectors of society. 

What you can do to help:

We're actively seeking volunteers to help us with our drive for 
cosponsors in the House of Representatives. Calls, letters, faxes and 
emails are urgently needed to members of Congress asking them to sign on 
as cosponsors of the National Forest Protection & Restoration Act 
(NFPRA). Letters to the Editor of your local newspaper are especially 
effective at raising awareness in your community. Please contact the 
activists listed below for specific information on the current status of 
organizing efforts in your Congressional district, and for information 
on becoming a local contact person for this campaign. 

Rene Voss is the National Forest Issues Leader for Georgia Chapter of 
the Sierra Club and can be reached at rene.voss at 
Charlie Ogle is Chair of the Sierra Club's No Commercial Logging on 
Public Lands Task Force and can be reached at 
charlie.ogle at 

 Article taken from the Sierra Club Home Page.--Muskie

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