WAFC Forest Focus - February 25, 1998

Western Ancient Forest Campaign wafcdc at igc.apc.org
Wed Feb 25 19:42:21 EST 1998

From: Steve Holmer <wafcdc at igc.apc.org>
Subject: WAFC Forest Focus - February 25, 1998

FOREST FOCUS, the bulletin of the Western Ancient Forest
Campaign, February 25, 1998  To reach us call (202)879-3188, fax
(202)879-3189, or email WAFCDC at igc.apc.org

SUPREME COURT:  The Supreme Court heard oral arguments
concerning the Wayne National Forest Plan today.  The case, Ohio
Forestry Association v. Sierra Club, will decide whether Forest Plans
can be challenged in court and if so, whether the Forest Service was
biased in choosing too much clearcutting or even-age logging by
undervaluing backcountry recreation.  "This is another attempt by the
timber industry to prevent the public from having a say about
management of their national forests," said Rene Voss of the Sierra
Club.  Ohio pro-bono attorney Fred Gittes presented the argument for
Sierra Club and the Citizen's Council on Conservation.  The decision
should be issued before the end of June.

ROADS HEARING:  Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-ID), Chairman of the
House Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health criticized Forest
Service Chief Michael Dombeck's leadership at today's roads hearing
proclaiming that the Forest Service is "broken" and cannot be fixed. 
She and other pro-timber Representatives challenged Dombeck to
justify the proposed eighteen-month roadbuilding moratorium and
indicated they will actively oppose it.  A rider on an upcoming
appropriations bill to overturn the agency's initiative appears likely
based on Chenoweth's comments today.

BACK TO LEECHES:  Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC) testified at the
hearing today and lambasted the Forest Service for failing to listen to
professional foresters who wish to increase logging on the National
Forest to restore forest health.  Citing a hundred years of forestry
history and numerous university forestry programs, Taylor concluded
that "scientific silviculture" should determine all forest management
activities.  It should be noted however, that the best "medical science"
(before it became an accredited science) once recommended using
leeches to heavily bleed patients with the common cold, killing many. 
Recent scientific reports by biologists conclude that logging and
roadbuilding degrade forest ecosystems, and require substantial
mitigation and restoration activities to repair the damage to streams,
fish and wildlife.

CUSTODIAL MANAGEMENT:  A letter from Reps. Chenoweth, Don
Young and Sens. Larry Craig and Frank Murkowski to Chief Dombeck
asked for an assessment of the costs and savings from converting to
custodial management of the National Forest System.  "It is
increasingly clear that the costs of managing the National Forest System
are increasing and may, in the view of some, outweigh the benefits
being received by interest groups, communities and the public," said
the letter.  The letter requests that the agency provide some useful
information concerning the costs of management, but it appears that the
group of pro-timber legislators are attempting to paint a misleading
picture about the ecological and economic consequences of reducing
forest management activities on the National Forests.

SQUEEZE PLAY:  At an press conference about the above letter Sen.
Frank Murkowski threatened the Forest Service with substantial budget
cuts unless they manage the forest as the Congress sees fit.  "We'll just
keep cutting their budget, squeeze, until they finally squeal," said

Steve Holmer
Campaign Coordinator

Western Ancient Forest Campaign
1025 Vermont Ave. NW  3rd Floor
Washington, D.C. 20005
202/879-3189 fax
wafcdc at igc.org

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