"Healthy Forests" bait and switch?
hanson at quick.net
Wed Mar 3 21:06:15 EST 2004
Things are so fucked up with this forest stuff, in large
part because of the enviro turds, who with their mania for
permit charges and user fees have disturbed an originally
pretty well working environmental and administrative system.
It got so bad that even Disneyland got into the act and intends
to administer the National Forests (Not Parks) but only if
USFS will deliver them a fee collection system in place, the
(1996 Fee Demo legislation) with user-fees amounting for
anybody to pay $5.- for walking cross country in any Nat.
Forest where there are NO Govt. improvements nor any
govt. services. IOW pay to walk on your own public lands!
This is in part what I wanted to address Larry about a few
days ago in another post. ----- hanson
"Le Messurier" <Churchill at cox.net> wrote in message
news:9a24e52ed3e382238755155e71499239 at news.teranews.com...
> Bush's original request in Healthy Forests was for 2 billion; he got $760
> mil. Now he won't even fund that! What a travesty. I can't in good moral
> conscience vote for Kerry, but now my vote for Bush is very doubtful. I
> hope all of us here will write to our Senators and Congressmen to protest.
> "Larry Harrell" <lhfotoware at hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:7a90c754.0403031552.3f29dc82 at posting.google.com...
> > March 3, 2004 Environment & Energy Daily
> > Wyden blasts Bush admin for underfunding hazardous fuels reduction
> > by Dan Berman
> > Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), an instrumental figure in passing "Healthy
> > Forests" legislation last fall, lashed out at the Bush administration
> > yesterday for its failure to meet Congress' expectation of $760
> > million in new money for hazardous fuels reduction.
> > At a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the
> > Forest Service's FY '05 budget request, a visibly agitated Wyden said
> > he would not have supported the Healthy Forests Restoration Act last
> > year without the $760 million authorization. He pledged to do his best
> > to reinstate some of the funding.
> > "You are taking the health out of the Healthy Forests program," Wyden
> > said to administration witnesses present at the hearing. "At a
> > minimum, you are hundreds of millions of dollars short of what the
> > Congress authorized."
> > The White House requested $80 million to $100 million in new money for
> > the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management as part of a total
> > $760.4 million under the Healthy Forests rubric. That includes $476
> > million for hazardous fuels reduction by both agencies. But those
> > figures are far short of the $760 million that Congress authorized for
> > hazardous fuels reduction on 20 million acres of national forest at
> > extreme risk for catastrophic wildfires.
> > "We asked for $760 million in new money for these various kinds of
> > initiatives" in the bill, Wyden said. "This is a breach of what the
> > Congress intended on a bipartisan basis in terms of getting this work
> > done."
> > In addition to authorizing the $760 million, the Healthy Forests act
> > includes limits on administrative appeals, legal challenges and
> > environmental review of thinning projects meant to reduce the threat
> > of wildfires, something supporters said is necessary to block actions
> > by environmental groups that delay needed action in the field.
> > Those new tools, along with expanded use of stewardship contracting
> > and categorical exclusions, will allow the Forest Service to make the
> > most of its funding request, even without $760 million in new money,
> > said Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth.
> > For the Forest Service's Healthy Forests budget, the administration is
> > requesting $449 million, including $266 million for hazardous fuels
> > reduction, $58 million for vegetation and watershed treatment, and $2
> > million for stewardship contracting studies. Programs such as
> > rangeland management that remove small trees and brush have a
> > corollary benefit of reducing the risk for wildfires, the agency says.
> > But although the administration hopes to treat 4 million acres of
> > federal land through controlled burns, logging, rangeland improvements
> > and other measures, Wyden said the funding request sabotages those
> > efforts. "It is a fantasy to say we are going to get anything close to
> > the amount of work Congress foresaw in this bipartisan legislation,"
> > Wyden said. "I think there is going to be enormous frustration out in
> > rural America, which is expecting these new funds to get important
> > work done, and you all basically did a bait and switch."
> > The $760 million authorization was a major issue during the debate
> > over the Healthy Forests bill in the Senate and in conference last
> > fall. The House version of the bill contained no funding clause, but
> > Senate conferees insisted on including the authorization in the final
> > bill.
> > "I would not have been on the floor for the entire time this debate
> > came up unless there was a change to get a bipartisan amendment to
> > ensure there would be new dollars for this hazardous fuels reduction
> > program," Wyden said.
> > Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, who worked behind-the-scenes with
> > lawmakers last fall, noted the bill leaves funding levels up to the
> > discretionary appropriations process and does not specify the $760
> > million must be new money.
> > Furthermore, while President Bush strongly supported the bill, based
> > on his "Healthy Forests Initiative," a statement of administration
> > policy (SAP) issued during the Senate debate questioned the need for
> > the $760 million authorization. "The administration is concerned that
> > the authorization level in the Senate bill is well above [recent
> > funding levels] and above the increased funding levels the
> > administration requested and continues to support for FY 2004," the
> > Oct. 29, 2003, SAP states.
> > Wyden disagreed with Rey's assessment, saying, "Everybody in the
> > United States Senate thought this was new money that was going to go
> > towards these efforts."
> > Firefighting issues
> > Meanwhile, ranking member Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) criticized the Forest
> > Service's $685 million request for wildfire suppression, saying it is
> > millions of dollars short of the actual figure the agency has spent
> > fighting fires in recent years.
> > "I don't think this passes the straight-face test given that all
> > indications are that we will have another bad fire season in the
> > West," Bingaman said.
> > The Forest Service says its request is about $88 million more than it
> > budgeted for FY '04. However, the FY '04 budget contains a $300
> > million repayment for firefighting costs in previous years. The
> > funding request is determined by using the average of costs over the
> > past 10 years, but dramatic wildfire seasons of recent years have
> > forced the Forest Service to far exceed its budget. To make up the
> > shortfall, the Forest Service borrows from other programs, but the
> > solution often comes to the detriment of other essential programs
> > because the money usually is not restored.
> > "Each year we hear testimony about how this administration's request
> > will meet the fire suppression needs and help avoid the chaos of
> > transfers, and each year we end up scrambling for emergency
> > appropriations to cover growing firefighting costs and to repay
> > important accounts that have been raided in the meantime," Bingaman
> > said. "These transfers cause more than chaos, they cause us to delay
> > and dismantle numerous projects in all of our states."
> > For the Forest Service, the practice has delayed forest thinning and
> > rehabilitation programs designed to prevent future wildfires. In 2002,
> > reallocation of funds for fighting wildfires accounted for 30 percent
> > of all delays in fire prevention projects, the General Accounting
> > Office said in a September 2003 report. As a result, the Forest
> > Service and the Interior Department only treated 56 percent of the 4
> > million acres they planned to treat last year.
> > Rey maintained the administration is willing to work with Bingaman on
> > a proposal to create a government-wide contingency account the Forest
> > Service and other agencies could use in order to avoid drawing from
> > other agency accounts in the future.
> > Comment from poster: This is MESSED UP! This will undo any trust in
> > the Bush Administration's (and Congress') forestry program. We may be
> > looking at a total collapse of emergency actions approved by Congress
> > in a bipartisan effort. Judges might just shoot down a great many
> > projects because of a lack of funding for non-timber-producing
> > activities (controlled burning, removal of unmerchantable fuels, etc)
> > embedded within timber projects. These activities were to be the heart
> > and soul of "Healthy Forests". Judges also will not stand for
> > additional cutting of merchantable trees, understocking forests of
> > medium-sized trees (which need to be our future old growth). Old
> > growth must not be cut, as well. Americans should be outraged and
> > urging Congress to fully fund the program while watching where EVERY
> > PENNY goes. If not, we're looking at continued disasters that may very
> > well burn up Bush's re-election bid, too.
> > Larry, still for restoring forests back to old growth
More information about the Ag-forst