CONGRESS URGES ADMINISTRATION TO CONSIDER ENDING OLD GROWTH LOGGING

wafcdc at americanlands.org wafcdc at americanlands.org
Thu Mar 9 07:13:55 EST 2000


From: "wafcdc at americanlands.org" <wafcdc at americanlands.org>
Subject: CONGRESS URGES ADMINISTRATION TO CONSIDER ENDING OLD GROWTH  LOGGING

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 9, 2000

CONTACT: 						American Lands: Randi Spivak 310/779-4894 
ONRC: Doug Hieken   541/344-0675
Pacific Crest Biodiversity Project: Pete Nelson  206/545-3734	


CONGRESS URGES ADMINISTRATION TO CONSIDER
ENDING OLD GROWTH LOGGING
							
Washington, DC.- In an effort led by Representatives Adam Smith (D-WA) and
David Wu (D- OR), fourteen members of the Pacific Northwest and Northern
California Congressional delegation urged the Clinton administration this
week to consider ending old-growth logging in the Pacific Northwest.  The
written request to the administration coincides with the end of the public
comment period for proposed changes to the Northwest Forest Plan that
governs the 17 "spotted owl" forests in western Oregon, Washington and
Northern California.

The Forest Plan, crafted in 1994, has been plagued by recent legal troubles.
Last August, federal Judge William Dwyer ruled that the government had
violated the Forest Plan's "clear, plain and unmistakable" requirement to
conduct wildlife surveys prior to logging old forests.  In response, the
government has proposed new and dramatic changes to the Forest Plan that
substantially weaken existing environmental safeguards and opens the door to
industrial logging of the remaining unprotected old-growth forests. A number
of prominent scientists who were involved in the development of the original
Northwest Forest Plan, raised serious concerns about the ability of rare and
sensitive wildlife to survive under the proposed changes.

The Congressional letter, which was delivered to Chairman George Frampton of
President Clinton's Council on Environmental Quality, asserts "Any changes
to the Northwest Forest Plan are monumental and we believe it is important
for all possible alternatives to be considered."  Although the Congressional
letter acknowledges the "competing interests" of the Northwest Forest Plan
which call for simultaneously protecting forests ecosystems and providing
wood to mills, the delegation called on the government to consider a "no
old-growth logging" option.  

Doug Heiken with Oregon Natural Resources Council said, "All of the options
considered in the new plan rely almost exclusively on clear-cutting old
forests. As long as old growth falls in the Pacific Northwest, public
controversy will forever plague the Northwest Forest Plan."  The
Congressional letter urges the administration to reissue the plan with a "no
old growth logging" alternative citing the administration's failure to
evaluate a full range of alternatives as required by federal environmental laws.

"We praise Representatives Adam Smith and David Wu for their efforts." Peter
Nelson, Policy Director with Pacific Crest Biodiversity Project said.
"Things have changed since 1994. Despite declines in federal timber, every
county in the region except for two, had higher total employment in 1996
than 1990.  Jobs are a big concern. But the answer doesn't lie in
liquidating old growth forests, it lies in restoring the landscape that can
provide family wage jobs and sustain forest dependent communities."

Public opinion polls show that the majority of Americans want greater
protection for national forests and believe that logging the last remaining
ancient forests on public lands is unacceptable and unnecessary.  In
addition, the market demand for old growth is diminishing.  "Major
corporations including Home Depot, the worldÕs largest lumber retailer, and
Kinkos have pledged to stop using old growth in their products.  If
corporate America can move away from old growth, why can't the federal
government?" asks Randi Spivak, President of American Lands Alliance.  

Federal timber is no longer a driving force in local economies.  Federal
timber now accounts for less than 10% of all wood logged in the Pacific
Northwest and less than 1/5 of one percent of total employment in the region
affected by the Northwest Forest Plan.  The economic health of the region
relies in part on preserving our natural forest heritage which provides
clean drinking water and air, habitat for fish and wildlife and unparalleled
recreation opportunities. 	

                                                -End-











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