[saf-news] Salvage Rider II

Joseph Zorzin redoak at forestmeister.com
Thu Sep 21 10:04:44 EST 2000

Tom Giesen wrote:

> Well, here we go again - below is the essence of the Domenici version of the
> Year 2000 Salvage Rider, brought to you in part by your own SAF.

Perhaps it should be renamed the "Year 2000 Salvage the SAF Rider"

> Tom Giesen
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> (Analysis by Mike Anderson, TWS)
> A proposed amendment to the FY 2001 Interior Appropriations Act (Title IV
> Hazardous Fuels Reduction, dated September 19) would short-cut environmental
> and public review of salvage timber sales and fuels reduction and just plain
> timber sale projects in the national forests.

No need for the public to get involved with the work of the professional foresters using science.
Yuh, the public are all dummies about such stuff- and just because it's THEIR land is no need for
them to interfere; despite the holy of holies "property rights" which doesn't really apply to them.
(that was a joke)

>   As discussed below, the
> proposed amendment would limit reviews required by the National Environmental
> Policy Act and Endangered Species Act to no more than 90 days.  It would also
> shorten by one-third the time allowed for review of administrative appeals.  If
> enacted, the amendment would be the first time that Congress has imposed
> expedited procedures on national forest management activities since the
> notorious "Salvage Rider" of 1995.

Now if only a consortium of the major enviro groups were MAKING policy for the USFS, by law, none of
this would be necessary. But that would be too intelligent for our lawmakers.

> Summary of Proposed Amendment
> The proposed amendment would significantly broaden both the scope and impact of
> the fuels reduction amendment sponsored by Senator Domenici and approved by the
> Senate in July.
> First, the amendment would apply not only to fuels reduction activities such as
> thinning and prescribed burning, but also to post-salvage timber sales.
> Section  5(A) of the amendment directs the federal agencies to "establish and
> implement Š expedited procedures Š for decisions to conduct hazardous fuels
> reduction treatments Š and any post-fire treatments within the perimeters of
> areas burned by wildfire, on federal lands" (emphasis added).

Sure, shorten those time frames, but only if the enviros are the policy makers. They think on a
bigger level, then they could issue instructions to the foresters. Only makes sense to me. Then,
when my vision of future forestry education happens, all foresters will themselves be full blooded
enviros too- the real definitive experts on forests- on all levels- including metaphysics. Then all
this feuding will end. It will be the golden age of Ecoforestry. <G>

> Second, the amendment imposes an inflexible 90-day deadline for agencies to
> complete Endangered Species Act consultations for both fuels reduction projects
> and salvage sales.    Under existing law, there is a 90-day target for
> completing ESA consultations, but the agencies also have the latitude to
> consult for "such other period of time as is mutually agreeable" to the
> agencies (16 U.S.C. 1536(b)(1)(A)).  The proposed amendment, on the other hand,
> provides that the agencies "shall ensure that such consultation or conferencing
> is concluded within the 90 day statutory deadline applicable to such
> consultation or conferencing with no extensions" (Sec. 5(C)).   Thus, the
> amendment removes any ability for ESA consultations for salvage sales and fuels
> reduction projects  to continue beyond 90 days.
> Similarly, the amendment requires the agencies to establish "expedited
> procedures" for environmental and public reviews of salvage sales and fuels
> reduction activities under the National Environmental Policy Act (Sec. 5(B)).
> The expedited procedures must "ensure that the period of preparation of the
> documentation shall not exceed 90 days."  Unlike the ESA consultation section,
> the amendment gives the agencies some flexibility for completing NEPA reviews:
> the 90-day deadline only applies when the agencies "determine the procedures to
> be appropriate for the decision."  However, the clear expectation is that the
> 90-day deadline will apply except in unusual situations.
> Finally, the amendment aims to short-cut the administrative appeals process for
> salvage sales and fuels reduction projects. Section 5(D) provides that agency
> review of appeals shall be completed expeditiously and "under no circumstances
> shall exceed any statutory deadline applicable to such review."  Under current
> law, the Forest Service has 30 days to rule on administrative appeals, but
> gives the agency discretion to extend the deadline by 15 days (Pub. L. 102-381,
> § 322).   Forest Service regulations provide the full 45 days allowed by the
> law.  Thus, the effect of this provision would likely be to reduce the time for
> the Forest Service to rule on administrative appeals from 45 days to 30 days.
> Discussion
> Imposing legally mandatory time limits on environmental reviews of salvage
> logging and fuels reduction projects would likely be very controversial and
> counter-productive.   In particular, 90 days is an arbitrary and, in many
> cases, wholly unrealistic time frame for conducting NEPA and ESA reviews.   In
> the case of large projects requiring an environmental impact statement, the
> Forest Service must conduct public scoping, prepare a draft EIS, provide at
> least a 45-day public comment period, review comments, and incorporate changes
> in a final EIS (40 CFR § 1501.8).  For smaller projects that are evaluated in
> an environmental assessment, the Forest Service is required to give the public
> 30 days to comment on proposed actions, but still must conduct scoping and
> extensive environmental reviews.   The duration of ESA consultations varies
> considerably based on the degree of potential threat to an endangered species
> or critical habitat, with some consultations requiring several months to gather
> the necessary information and prepare biological opinions.
> Requiring the agencies to rush through the NEPA and ESA processes would very
> likely backfire because controversial projects would be more vulnerable to
> challenge and major delay through administrative appeals and litigation.   In
> the 1995 Salvage Rider, Congress attempted to expedite salvage logging in the
> national forests by  exempting all salvage sales from compliance with
> environmental laws.  The Salvage Rider' language generated a firestorm of
> controversy over "logging without laws."
> In conclusion, the proposed amendment may be the most serious congressional
> attack on the environmental laws protecting national forests since the Salvage
> Rider.  Like the Salvage Rider, the proposed amendment is likely to engender a
> great deal of controversy. Congress would be well-advised not to include
> arbitrary time limits in legislation dealing with salvage logging and fuels
> reductions work.

Joe  Zorzin

"If you can't say something nice, say something surrealistic."
Zippy the Pinhead

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