TIMBER LOGJAM NEARS RESOLUTION

truffler1635 at my-deja.com truffler1635 at my-deja.com
Sat Nov 20 14:59:46 EST 1999


The following article is from The Oregonian, Nov. 19, 1999 p C1

TIMBER LOGJAM NEARS RESOLUTION


The Clinton administration and conservationists agree to settle a
lawsuit that has stopped federal sales in three states.

By JONATHAN BRINCKMAN, The Oregonian

	The Clinton administration and a coalition of conservation groups
agreed Thursday to settle a lawsuit that has stopped timber sales on
24.5 million acres of federal forests in Washington, Oregon and
California.
	The agreement would lift an injunction against 34 timber sales that
was imposed by a federal judge during the summer. The U.S. Forest
Service later decided to halt all other pending timber sales until the
issue was resolved.
	U.S. District Judge William Dwyer of Seattle rules that the Forest
Service had failed to adequately conduct surveys for 77 rare plant and
animal species, as required by the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan.
	The settlement reached Thursday must be submitted to Dwyer for
approval. It would allow the sales to go forward once they had passed
simpler environmental surveys. Conservationists who filed the lawsuit
said they expect the agreement to be submitted to the judge next week.
	If approved, it would lift a dark cloud from the Northwest Forest
Plan.
	The Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management adopted
the forest plan to lift court injunctions that by the early 1990s had
stopped logging in the old-growth habitat of the northern spotted owl, a
threatened species. The plan reduced logging on federal land in the
Northwest by about 80 percent.
	A provision in the forest plan requires the agencies to survey for
the 77 forest species, including mammals such as the red tree vole and
many obscure and hard-to-find plant, fungi and mollusk species, before
putting any public timber up for sale.
	The government said it was unable to complete those surveys because
they were too difficult, expensive and time-consuming.
	Sales in areas governed by the forest plan have been paralyzed since
August, when Dwyer issued his first injunctions in the conservationists'
lawsuit.
	"This agreement gets us out of court and back on track," said Jim
Lyons, the U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary who supervises
the Forest Service.
	Northwest timber industry officials criticized the agreement.
	Chris West, vice president of the Northwest Forestry Association,
said his organization should have been involved in the settlement talks.
"The Clinton administration has cut a sweetheart deal with the
environmental community without involving the parties that the judge
ordered involved," West said.
	Frank Gladics, president of the Independent Forest Products
Association, said the Northwest Forest Plan's restrictions on logging
have devastated companies that relied on federal timber. "For Mr. Lyons
to suggest that now everything has been solved has a very hollow ring,"
Gladics said.
	The agreement reached Thursday would allow the government to conduct
simplified surveys, examining fungus species, for example, for one
season instead of several, as now required. Timber sales that pass those
surveys could be approved under the agreement.
	Mike Axline, director of the Western Environmental Law Center in
Eugene, said the agreement will ensure that the government complies with
the law. "The government, once it lost in court, finally decided to do
the right thing," he said.

COMMENT BY POSTER: This agreement is without merit in science. By only
requiring 1 season's worth of fungal assessment, it will miss a lot of
fungi. Take the current year as an example: most fungi didn't fruit this
year. I have seen almost no mushrooms, where even last year they were
abundant.

As for the species on the ROD (Record of Decision) for the Spotted Owl,
I haven't seen a single species listed fruiting this year.

Thus, implementation of this "compromise" plan is purely politically
motivated. The bottom line, presumably, is to get the "cut" back out.
Meanwhile, salmon, steelhead, owls, murrelets, and a probable listing
for Cutthroat trout next year go undebated. To say nothing about the
mycorrhizal fungi necessary to keep trees alive long enough to harvest
them.

Posted as a courtesy by:
Daniel B. Wheeler
www.oregonwhitetruffles.com



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