Schools Funds Held Hostage by Timber Politics - Bad Deal Imminent

Western Ancient Forest Campaign wafcdc at
Fri Oct 22 15:52:05 EST 1999

From: "wafcdc at" <wafcdc at>
Subject: Schools Funds Held Hostage by Timber Politics - Bad Deal  Imminent

To:		All Environmental Reporters
From:		Steve Holmer
Date:		October 22, 1999

Subject:	Schools Funds Held Hostage by Timber Politics - Bad Deal Imminent

	The Wyden/Craig bill, S. 1608, is being promoted by advocates in both the
House and Senate as the basis for a compromise on the county payments issue.
This is a bad bill which threatens to undermine the leadership direction of
Chief Michael Dombeck and increase incentives for logging the National Forests.

Politicians Don't Want Counties to Have a Choice
	At a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing earlier this
week, Undersecretary of Agriculture Jim Lyons testified against the
Wyden/Craig bill, but offered a compromise to give counties the choice
between the Forest Service's decoupling proposal or the Wyden/Craig
approach.  Sen. Craig dismissed this offer out of hand stating, "the
counties would just take the money and run."   

	"Even though the words "self-determination" are found in the title of Sen.
Craig's bill, it is clear he wants counties to have no other choice but to
cut timber to pay for schools," said Carol Wright, a former school
superintendent with 29 years of experience in education.

	Sen. Craig later took offense when Wright suggested the Committee was
holding children's education hostage to the forest management debate.
Wright, director of California's Klamath Forest Alliance testified that even
during boom times for the timber industry, county payments were not stable
due to market fluctuations and that decoupling would best serve the
interests of the children.

	The Wyden/Craig bill, S.1608, would continue the current system linking
timber sale receipts to county payments perpetuating an incentive for
unsustainable logging on the National Forests.  The bill would also create a
new off budget fund that perpetuates the same kind of incentive for logging
that Forest Service Chief Michael Dombeck is now trying to eliminate.

	"The Wyden/Craig bill threatens the National Forests by putting commodity
production ahead of good stewardship," said Holmer.  "The new off-budget
fund creates a powerful new incentive to both the Forest Service and the
counties to support  logging projects that generate revenue over stewardship
activities that do not."  

	"We finally have a Chief of the Forest Service in Michael Dombeck who is
trying to put stewardship of the land on an even par with resource
extraction," said Wright.  "The Wyden/Craig bill is only digging the hole
deeper by creating new incentives for logging the National Forests."

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Steve Holmer
Campaign Coordinator

American Lands 
726 7th Street, SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
202/547-9213 fax
wafcdc at

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