SURVEYS FIND MANY SUPPORT SAVING FORESTS

truffler1635 at my-deja.com truffler1635 at my-deja.com
Sat Apr 22 12:35:04 EST 2000


>From The Oregonian, April 1, 2000, p A1

SURVEYS FIND MANY SUPPORT SAVING FORESTS

Respondents in 11 states are polled on President Clinton's roadless-area
preservation plan

By JONATHAN BRINCKMAN, The Oregonian

	President Clinton's proposal to prevent all road-building, logging
and mining in wild areas of U.S. national forests is widely popular in
11 states, according to poll results released this week by a
conservation group.
	Support for the proposal ranged from a high of 83 percent in
Wisconsin to a low of 53 percent in Montana, according to the group,
Heritage Forests Campaign. In Montana and Idaho, fewer than two-thirds
of those questioned supported Clinton's proposal.
	In Oregon, which has 6.8 million acres of roadless land in its
national forests, 67 percent supported the proposal.
	Generally, residents of states with the smallest amounts of roadless
land were most supportive of the proposed ban. Conversely, states with
the largest amounts were among the least supportive.
	In October, Clinton proposed that development be banned in the 40
million to 60 million acres of national forest land where no roads
exist. The U.S. Forest Service held 225 hearings late last year and
early this year on the proposal. The Forest Service is scheduled to make
a recommendation this year after holding another round of public
hearings.
	"The polls show that, fundamentally, the public believes that
national forests should be there for public good rather than the private
gain of mining and timber interests," said Patrick Burns, a spokesman
for the Heritage Forests Campaign.
	The organization, financed by the Pew Charitable Trusts Foundation,
was created to press for the road ban. It paid about $55,000 for the 11
polls.
	Some results were comforting to representatives of the timber
industry, who are lobbying hard against the proposal. In Oregon, for
example, 51 percent of those polled said logging, mining and other
industrial activities should be permitted in national forests where
roads exist.
	Chris West, vice president of the Portland-based Northwest Forestry
Association, said he did not believe the majority of Americans would
support a ban on forest roads. He said the poll was flawed because it
did not ask whether respondents were familiar with Clinton's proposal.
"They use questionable statistics to get the answers they want," West
said. "I don't see value in this polling data other than to perpetuate
their campaign."
	John Freemuth, a political science professor at Boise State
University, said he was not surprised that support was highest in states
with the least amount of roadless forest land because residents and
businesses in states with the larger tracts have more to lose. Those
residents, however, could be out-voted.
	"Forests are national lands whether locals like it or not," Fremuth
said. "If people in Minnesota, for example, feel strongly about this,
they have the electoral votes, so it's out of local hands."
	Wisconsin, the most supportive state, has 74,000 acres of roadless
land in its national forests, the third fewest of the states polled.
Minnesota, the second most supportive state, has 61,000 acres of
roadless land, the second fewest.
	Montana, where support was the lowest, has 6 million acres of
roadless land. Idaho, with the second-lowest support at 57 percent, has
9.2 million acres of roadless land, the most of the 11 states.
	John McCarthy, conservation director for the Idaho Conservation
League, called it remarkable that support for the ban was so high in
Idaho and Montana. Those states see high use of motorized recreational
vehicles in roadless areas, he said, and a poll question said that the
proposal called for motorized vehicles to be banned.
	"People are rightfully nervous about what this would do to access
for motorized creation," McCarthy said. "Even with that, a solid
majority is ready to limit logging and eliminate road-building."
	McCarthy said he did not know whether the final proposal would call
for eliminating motorized recreation.
	The 11 states that were polled were picked because many have large
amounts of public land and all are politically important for the 2000
presidential election, said Burns of the Heritage Forests campaign. He
said Eastern states were not included because supporters of the ban know
they have strong backing there.
	The random telephone polls, conducted during the past two weeks, had
a sample size varying from 500 to 800 people per state. The margin of
error ranged from 4 percent to 4.38 percent.

SIDEBAR:

FOREST PLAN POLL

Supporters of a proposal by President Clinton to prohibit logging,
mining, oil drilling and off-road vehicles in roadless areas of national
forests released polling data from 11 states. Here's a state-by-state
breakdown of support and opposition:

State		Support 	Oppose
Wisconsin	83%		11.8%
Minnesota	76%		21%
Colorado	75%		20%
Tennessee	72%		12%
Washington	72%		20%
California	72%		20%
New Mexico	71%		20%
Michigan	69%		23%
Oregon		67%		27%
Idaho		57%		38%
Montana		53%		41%

Note: Tallies don't equal 100% owning to unsure or undecided responses.

Source: Heritage Forests Campaign.

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


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