Deal Imminent - Administration About to Agree to a Disastrous Bill

wafcdc at americanlands.org wafcdc at americanlands.org
Thu Sep 28 17:09:13 EST 2000


From: "wafcdc at americanlands.org" <wafcdc at americanlands.org>
Subject: Deal Imminent - Administration About to Agree to a Disastrous  Bill for the Forests & County Payments

To:		All Reporters
From:		Steve Holmer
Date:		September 28, 2000

Deal Imminent - Administration About to Agree to a Disastrous Bill for the
Forests & County Payments

	A bad agreement on the Interior Appropriations bill between Congress and
the Clinton Administration is very near that would increase logging and
allow a dangerous county payments bill to become law.  The deal includes a
$40 million funding increase for timber sales above the Forest Service
request.  The timber targets rider that requires the agency to log 3.6
billion board feet next year has been watered down to advisory language, but
it remains in the bill.   

	The Domenici amendment has been slightly changed but is still not even
close to being acceptable.  The language requiring the Administration issue
new expedited NEPA regulations for fuels reduction projects has been made
optional.  So, if it desires, the new Administration could choose the issue
these regulations and use them.   The revised Domenici rider also provides
no ecological standards for restoration or environmental safeguards to
prevent these funds from being used for logging.  Further, projects are no
longer limited to the urban/wildlands interface and have been extended to
include all National Forest and BLM lands.

	In addition, the county payments legislation appears to have been added to
the deal.  A portion of the House county payments bill calling for a new
national committee to make recommendations on sustainable logging and making
payments to counties has been added to the Interior bill.  The remainder of
the county payments bill will be added to the Agriculture Appropriations
bill which is now in conference committee.  In another substantial weakening
of the bill, the decisionmaking process for the local Advisory Committees
has also been changed to majority rule, effectively ending any hope for
environmentalists to block harmful projects.

	Conservationists are urging the Administration to oppose this agreement and
to: 

1) Oppose any increase in funding for timber sales above the
Administration's request. 

2) Oppose the timber targets rider that requires the Forest Service to offer
3.6 billion board feet of timber next year.  This would double current
logging levels.

3) Oppose the Domenici amendment because the expedited NEPA option would
weaken this important environmental law and could limit public involvement
and sound science in decisionmaking and because it includes post-fire
salvage logging which increases fire risk and intensity.  Urge the
Administration to support adding environmental safeguards to the fuels
reduction funding to ensure that there is no commercial logging, no old
growth logging or logging of large trees, no entry into roadless areas and
that all funds will only be directed to the urban/wildlands interface.

4. Oppose the county payments legislation and to insist that the local
advisory committees be abolished and the projects be prohibited from
commercial logging, logging of old growth or entry into roadless areas.


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Steve Holmer
Campaign Coordinator

American Lands 
726 7th Street, SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
202/547-9105
202/547-9213 fax
wafcdc at americanlands.org
http://www.americanlands.org






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