Real deal on EPA Rules.

D. Staples dstaples at
Fri Apr 14 10:25:00 EST 2000

Real deal on EPA rules may be a set up for fed court ruling.  From “The
Piney Woods
Journal”, April 2000.

By JAMES RONALD SKAINS, Background and Opinion.

Federal EPA Region 6 Director Greg Cook, a former Assistant Attorney
General in Texas,
told those assembled in the West Monroe Civic Center on the evening of
Feb. 21, "I don't
have a problem with forestry as a source of pollution under the Clean
Water Act.  I never
intend to actually require harvesting permits on private forestlands
under these new EPA

Those words, plus "the forest industry in Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas
is over-reacting,"
is the official Washington, DC,  spin on the EPA/Forestry scenario
concerning the new EPA
regulations set to go into place in mid-summer-of this year.

Over half of the 31,000 public comments and letters received by the EPA
protesting the
new regulations were from the Ark-La-Tex.  The unofficial spin inside
the Washington
beltway is that it's only a "bunch of red-necks from Louisiana,
Arkansas, and Texas who
have a problem with these new EPA regulations."

The Washington, DC “spin-doctors” point to the gatherings of protesters
in the three states
in the Piney Woods as evidence of just a small pocket of opposition to
the new regulations.
In the four public EPA/Forestry forums held in the Ark-La-Tex in El
Dorado, Texarkana,
West Monroe, and Lufkin, over 6,000 people came out to express  their
displeasure at
EPA’s action which would decimate the forest industry.

After Greg Cook made his statement at the West Monroe EPA/Forestry
forum,  Louisiana
Congressman John Cooksey made the comment, “If that is the way that Mr.
Cook feels,
I’m optimistic that we can work something out with the EPA.

Congressman Cooksey had successfully dealt with Carol Browner, who heads
the Federal
EPA, on a proposed EPA regulation that if implemented would have shut
down several
Piney Woods paper mills.  The ‘gentlemen's agreement’ not to enforce the
EPA rules on the
paper mills and the recent spin by the EPA not to enforce the new
regulations has
apparently given Congressman Cooksey and the forest industry trade
groups confidence
that once again some type of a gentlemen's agreement with Carol Browner
and Deputy
EPA Director Charles Fox can be reached.

However, the "Real Deal" is that the EPA in these rule changes that
would require
harvesting permits and Public comments meetings for private landowners
to use their
forest lands as they so choose, is that the EPA is  only role playing .

The “role” that has been assigned Carol Browner and Fed EPA by the
Sierra Club/Earth
Justice group is that of the “Trojan Horse”.  The Fed EPA is saying  to
the forest industry,
"You're over-reacting.  We only want these rules in place in case we
find a bad actor in the
Forestry industry.  Otherwise, we will never implement these rules."

However, the Trojan Horse, a.k.a. the Fed EPA in the "Real Deal" role is
to simply get the
new EPA regulations on the books without Congressional approval or
authorization.  Once
the new rules are on the books (scheduled for mid-summer year 2000), the
Club/Earth Justice group will rush a lawsuit to a certain Federal Judge
in New Orleans
asking that the new EPA regulations requiring harvesting permits, etc.,
be implemented on
the "bad actors" in Louisiana.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that this whole
EPA/Forestry scenario is
just a political football that has all the Washington spin facade to
mask the "read deal."
The real political deal is that Al Gore has decided to write off Texas,
Louisiana and
Arkansas in the November elections since George Bush is his opponent and
Gov.  Mike
Foster of Louisiana supports Bush.

By  having these new EPA. regulations go into place before the November
elections, Vice
President Al Gore can then "crow" to the rest of the nation that he has
stopped the
"rednecks in the Ark-La-Tex from slaughtering trees" and has preserved
our Ecosystem.

The only potential snag in the "real deal" is that Wall Street has not
signed off on the deal.
Wall Street has two problems with the "real deal." First, Wall Street is
not totally
comfortable with the scenario of Al Gore being President.  Although, a
loyal lieutenant for
Bill Clinton over seven years, Wall Street is concerned that Al Gore
might "actually think
he is President if he occupies the Oval Office.

The second problem that Wall Street has with the "real deal" is what to
do with
International Paper.  International Paper, or IP, as the huge forest
products company is
known, has been a fixture on the mythical Dow Jones Average for a half
century.  If the
"real deal" goes down and the forest industry is slam dunked by the
EPA/Sierra Club
Earth Justice/Federal Judge Mary Lou Lemmons trio, what happens to IP
stock if IP shifts
a major part of its USA operations overseas because of EPA regulations?

The apparent solution for the IP problem by Wall Street is to use the
same method that
Wall Street has used six other times in the last three years when one of
the Dow Jones 30
companies faces a little adversity.  When the soaring Dow is faced with
a little "cool-down"
because one of it 30 companies has difficulty, they are simply replaced
on the Dow, as were
Texaco, Sears, and Woolco in the past three years.

The door to my web page:
For forestry commentary see bionet.agroforestry and alt.forestry news
groups, as well as for a continuing
conversation on forestry.

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