WALL: House to investigate Warner Creek blockade!

Recycled News ay903 at extra.lafn.org
Tue Sep 22 20:18:02 EST 1998

House To Probe Ore. Timber Protest

.c The Associated Press


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Three members of the House Resources Committee will
investigate a blockade by environmentalists two years ago that prevented the
sale of a 9,000-acre area of burned timber in Oregon.

The two Republicans and one Democrat will examine law enforcement and
``possible criminal activities'' in connection with the 1995-96 protest, in
which some protesters were charged with minor offenses.

``The fact that this illegal episode was allowed to continue for 11 months
raises serious questions,'' House Resources Chairman Don Young, R-Alaska, said
in a statement.

Environmentalists formed the blockade to protest government plans to salvage
burned trees in a previously protected area hit by arson fire in 1991. Logging
would encourage more arson fires, the protesters argued.

Eventually the U.S. Forest Service ordered the protesters out of their
encampment. Three protesters were convicted of trespassing -- although a judge
declined to impose any sentence.

The Clinton administration subsequently canceled logging plans in the forest
east of Oakridge, Ore.

The Republican-controlled Resources Committee launched a formal inquiry of the
protest last September. Committee staff has reviewed thousands of pages of
documents and traveled to Oregon to interview witnesses.

Democrats have called the investigation unnecessary and politically motivated.
In June they blocked a resolution that would have given the committee
officials subpoena power in the case.

``This whole process is an incredible waste of taxpayers' time,'' Rep. Peter
DeFazio, D-Ore., said at the time.

The three will report back to Young by the end of the year

Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., will chair the group. Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah,
will serve as a member.

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., will appoint a Democratic member.

AP-NY-09-21-98 1955EDT

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