ACF Weekly UPDATE

Don Staples dstaples at livingston.net
Fri Apr 17 19:57:44 EST 1998


ACF  Weekly UPDATE 



+       Research Council calls into question EPA's PM monitoring plan

The Environmental Protection Agency should consider postponing for three
or four years much
of its effort to establish a monitoring system and characterize
emissions sources for the new
fine particulate matter standard (2.5 microns) "until researchers
develop a better
understanding" of the pollutant's health effect, according to a report
by the National Research
Council of the National Academy of Sciences.

Questioning the fact that nearly one-third of EPA's research budget for
particulate matter is
directed toward the monitoring plan, NAS stresses more of an emphasis on
funding for the
health research. "If these efforts [to set up a monitoring network] are
planned and implemented
without some of the key data and guidance from the scientific community,
then monitoring might
not measure the most hazardous air particles or the most serious
exposures," a report
summary said.

The NAS report echos statements made by the ACF and other attending a
special EPA PM
meeting in January.  During that meeting, such questions as "what are
considered hazardous
levels," "do we currently have a problem," and more were asked of the
EPA.  At the meeting,
representatives of the EPA stated that monitoring was needed before it
can be determined if a
problem exists.  

This follows a failed attempt by Congress to block the standards. 
Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) a
critic of the program added to the Intermodel Surface Transportation
Efficiency Act of 1997, an
amendment that requires the EPA to pay for air monitoring equipment to
determine if states and
cities are meeting the standards.

+       NAS-NRC Report on Federal Role on Nonfederal lands released in
book form

Speaking of the NAS, the National Academy of Science has published its
finalized report, a
Forested Landscapes in Perspective, Prospects and Opportunity for
Sustainable Management
of America's Nonfederal Forests in hardcover.  This is the same report
which the ACF has been
preparing an official response.  If you are interested, the NAS report
is available from the NAS
for low, low price of $39.95 (plus $4.00 for shipping and handling). 
The ACF National Office has
copies of the draft available for the asking. 

+       Smith Forest Health Bill Defeated 181-201

On March 26, House Agriculture Chairman Bob Smith's (R-OR) bill, H.R.
2515 "The Forest
Recovery and Protection Act of 1998" was defeated on the House floor by
20 votes (181-201).
The Smith bill was considered by many to be a moderate bill to improve
forest management
practices.

First, Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-ID) and other western Republicans
insisted that Chairman
Smith offer an amendment to expand the roads language in the bill to
allow for necessary road
construction. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) then offered an amendment as
a substitute (2nd
degree amendment) that would have significantly limited the ability to
construct roads. The
Boehlert substitute was agreed to by a vote of 200 to 187, effectively
substituting the Boehlert
language for the Smith-Chenoweth language. The House then defeated the
amendment. Finally,
after the parliamentary maneuvering was over, the House defeated H.R.
2515.

+     And finally. . . Just because you care doesn't mean you are a
Scientist

A Federal court in Tennessee has ruled that a person is not qualified to
express scientific
opinions merely because he or she is concerned about the environment.
The court then struck
from further consideration the portions of two declarations which
expressed scientific
conclusions for which the declarant lacked qualification. The ruling
came in the Broadened
Horizons case where the plaintiffs demand that the federal government
analyze the impacts of
harvesting trees before it permits barge facilities to transport logs or
wood chips.

The plaintiffs, who live on the boat "Broadened Horizons," claimed
injury because increased
harvesting will reduce the availability of nuts and other natural foods
which they gather during
the winter. While the court allowed their opinion on the relative
availability of nuts, it excluded
their opinions that their health and longevity is affected because they
have to substitute foods
from "managed orchards." The court also excluded conclusions such as
clearcutting
hardwoods will lessen rainfall in the Tennessee River Valley, thus
creating "desert-like"
conditions, and that clearcuts are directly linked to mudslides and
siltation which impair
navigation and aquatic habitats. The court further noted that the
plaintiffs provided no rationale
by which the court could evaluate their conclusions.
-- 
Don Staples
UIN 4653335

My Ego Stroke:  http://www.livingston.net/dstaples/



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