Logging Rally

Kirk Johnson newkirk at olywa.net
Sun Jan 18 22:31:08 EST 1998

In article <885096182.397737999 at dejanews.com>, mcready at northernnet.com wrote:

> Ray Fenner of Superior Wilderness Action Network stated in the above
> mentioned Star Tribune article, "Unlike the timber industry, we don't
> have bosses telling people to get down to our rally.  We're coming from
> the heart and what people want; we're not being ordered to line the
> highway."

Sounds like an astute assesment by Mr. Fenner.

> For the record, no [one] had to be told to attend
> the logging rally.

Yeah, right.

> wages that buy homes, cars, trucks,
> snowmobiles, clothes, etc. 

Most Americans refuse to trade our forests in so that relatively few
people can afford toys like cars, trucks and snowmobiles. I'll refuse that
trade. One thing we don't need anyway is more loud, smelly, carbon-dioxide
(greenhouse gas) spewing internal-combustion engines motoring around. 

> There you have dead, diseased
> trees just waitng for a lightning strike.

Dead trees; snags, are a normal element in a healthy forest. They provide
important habitat certain birds, insects and other organisms. When they do
fall, they return important nutrients to the soil. This "forest health"
flim-flam purported to exist by timber industry PR was soundly demolished
in the public's eyes after the debacle of the "Emergency Salvage Timber
Sale Program" of 1995. Fires are a natural part of a forest ecosystem as
well. Certain species of trees can't reproduce *without* fire.

> The only healthy forests we
> have are those that are managed by our foresters and loggers.

What a total crock. Gee, how did the forests of North America ever survive
without the oh so benign and beneficial assistance of industrial forestry?
How does the saying go - the forest was so thick that a squirrel could
travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River without ever
having to touch the ground. That's no tall tale. Those pre-1492 ancient
forests with their 200 foot tall White Pines, 300 year old Hemlock and
Oaks, etc. didn't get that way with the help of good ol' Weyerhauser,
Georgia-Pacific, USFS, BLM, Mac-Blo, etc., they got that way by Ma Nature
doing her thing as the milleniums passed. That's the plain truth.

> All these people are interested in doing is preventing the Forest
> Service from doing what they were formed to do - manage the forest....

> The U.S. Forest
> Service was founded on the principle of 'Wise Use' of our resources, not
> 'No Use'.

Rene Voss explains the true origin of the National Forests well in her
article "A Centennial Act for our Beleaguered National Forests" from the
Autumn 1997 issue of The Hellbender Journal:

     "The story begins in 1891, just one year before John Muir and other
founders of the Sierra Club began their protection efforts for Yosemite
and the Sierras. Congress had just passed legislation which allowed for
the creation of Forest Reserves which, by Presidential proclamation, were
off limits to all commodity extraction and commercial use, including
grazing, mining and logging. These reserves, later renamed National
Forests, were to be protected for Americans from the rampant greed of
timber companies who were rapidly liquidating the ancient forests of this
country at an astonishing rate. However, this protected status did not
last very long. Only 6 years later, as a result of enormous pressure from
the timber industry, Congress slipped a rider on to an appropriations bill
which for the first time opened these newly created reserves to commercial
logging. The rider was later refered to as the Organic Act but was, in
fact, nothing more than a handout to the timber industry, similar to the
1995 Salvage Logging Rider. The bill was signed into law on June 4, 1897,
and initiated what can only be described as one of the most tragic losses
of America's natural heritage."

You can look it all up if you don't believe Rene. The National Forests
were created in order to protect them *from* logging, not as  hand-outs to
the timber industry. 

Fast forward to 100 year later, and we finally have some common sense
legislation coming down the line:

> Opinion: Too Many Trees Are Falling
>   WASHINGTON -- The only trouble with the movement for the preservation of
> our forests," Theodore Roosevelt noted in 1908, "is that it has not gone
> nearly far enough." That is still the problem today. 
>   In the waning hours of the just-concluded session, Congress passed a bill
> intended to set up a pilot "fuel break" project in certain national forests
> in California. But is the bill landmark legislation because it places modest
> limits on logging, or will its allowance of cutting on more than 40,000 acres
> only continue the 300-year hemorrhaging of one of our most precious
> resources? 
>   Like the bison herds that sustained the Plains Indians, the sea of trees
> that covered the eastern half and far west of America seemed to early
> settlers to be an inexhaustible resource. 
>   In 1891, with the effect of two centuries of profligate tree cutting
> becoming apparent, Congress established the national forest system. But a
> short six years later it created the Federal timber sales program, and
> logging in our new national forests began. 
>   Today, with 95 percent of the country's original forests already logged,
> most of the remaining 5 percent are subject to being cut, with logs hauled
> from public land on access roads constructed at public expense. 
>   Less than 4 percent of the country's wood products come from public lands,
> yet Federal subsidies for this logging are inexcusably companies, it also
> pays communities to support schools and other services for the families of
> loggers. 
>   But the program's real cost extends beyond this corporate welfare.
> Continued logging in national forests worsens soil erosion, lake and stream
> sedimentation, and air and water quality. Some jobs may be created, but
> whether their number exceeds those in the fishing, recreation and tourism
> industries that are jeopardized when machines intrude on nature's habitat is
> open to question. 
>   Indeed, according to the Forest Service, logging jobs represent less than 3
> percent of all jobs in our national forests. 
>   If we are to be good stewards of public lands, we must protect what remains
> of our national forests. One way to do this is to create programs to insure
> maximum use of recyclable materials. 
>   In 1992 almost half of all American hardwood lumber production was used to
> make pallets for shipping. And according to the industry, more than half of
> these pallets are used just once and then discarded, ending up in landfills.
> Subsidized wood products promote this type of waste. 
>   Ending the logging subsidy makes good environmental and economic sense and
> should be a high priority for a free-market economy. That is why
> Representative Cynthia A. McKinney, a Georgia Democrat, and I have introduced
> legislation to end logging on public lands. 
>   Our bill would provide for the retraining of displaced timber workers,
> economic development assistance to affected lumbering communities, and
> research into recycling and ecological restoration. 
>   At first blush, some might think ending logging on Federal land is
> environmental extremism, but in fact, it is common sense. 
>   Insuring the environmental future requires a global effort, and we should
> do our part. The United States is quick to scold third world countries that
> destroy tropical forests, decrying the impact on global warming and
> biodiversity. 
>   If we are going to exhort other countries to preserve their forests, we
> ought to act to save our own. Forest preservation is neither a regional nor a
> partisan issue. The national forests belong to all Americans, and their
> proper management is everybody's business.
>   James A. Leach, a Republican, is a United States Representative from Iowa. 
> Copyright 1997 The New York Times

The legislation that Rep. Leach (R-IA) refered to in this editorial, and
has introduced along with Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) is known as H.R. 2789,
the "National Forest Protection and Restoration Act of 1997", and reads in

"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, effective as of the date of
the enactment of this Act, no timber sales shall be prepared, advertised,
offered, or awarded on Federal public lands and, except as provided in
section 5*, no commercial logging shall occur on Federal public lands."

*section 5 allows for a two-year phase-out period for existing timber sale
contracts, except for "salvage" rider sales which would be immediately

The full text of H.R. 2789 can be found at: http://thomas.loc.gov/

Please call or write your Congressperson and ask them to support H.R. 2789.

Kirk Johnson
newkirk at olywa.net

Perpetual growth is the creed of the cancer cell  -Edward Abbey

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