I just saw on the local news in Portland that Bush is comming to
Portland in two weeks and to push is old growth tree slaughter and
push for more money for the neo-fascists. here are the various
internet news versions (PLEASE POST to others):
Timber industry wins settlement in case challenging Forest Plan
The Bush Administration says it will work harder to let loggers cut
down enough trees in Oregon to meet timber goals.
The administration also has agreed to consider dissolving reserves
devoted to fish, wildlife and old growth forest.
The agreement came from a settlement with the timber industry over its
challenge to the Northwest Forest Plan.
The U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management have agreed
to do all they can to meet the $1.1 billion board feet target of
That target was set by the Northwest Forest Plan in 1994 but never
The BLM has agreed that timber production is the primary purpose of
the $2.2 million acre lands in Western Oregon.
Half the timber revenue the government collects will go to local
Bush commits to increased timber cutting
The Bush administration has committed to more than double the amount
of logging in public forests west of the Cascades -- including old-
growth trees -- to meet the original goals of the 1994 Northwest
Administration officials have been vocal about their plans to
resurrect cutting in the region, but they put the pledge on paper for
the first time in a legal settlement filed in federal court Friday in
The settlement came two weeks before the president is scheduled to
visit Portland to promote a White House initiative to cull fire-prone
"We finally have a real commitment of what the agencies need to do,
which is huge," said Tom Partin, president of the American Forest
Resource Council, an industry group in Portland that signed the
Friday's deal stitches together a series of other recent
administration steps to accelerate logging by curtailing environmental
reviews and appeals of timber sales.
It means trees probably will start falling on federal lands faster
than they have in nearly a decade, possibly sparking a new round of
logging protests and activist lawsuits.
"The Bush administration is trying to go back in time and ignore the
legal decisions and body of science that brought us to this point,"
said Patti Goldman, a lawyer with Earthjustice who often works on
lawsuits over logging.
The document requires the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land
Management to seek enough funding and make "their best efforts every
year" to sell 1.1 billion board feet of federal timber annually
starting in 2005.
That's the amount the Clinton administration estimated the agencies
would sell when it released the sweeping Northwest Forest Plan nine
years ago. But environmental lawsuits and other hang-ups have held the
actual harvest far short. Last year, the federal agencies offered 428
million board feet, less than half the original goal.
A federal judge still must approve the settlement filed Friday. It
resolves a 1995 lawsuit filed against the government by 18 Western
Oregon counties that have Oregon and California grant lands.
The federal government granted the lands to the Oregon and California
Railroad Co. in the 1860s before reclaiming them in 1916. Congress
later passed legislation to compensate the counties because the
federal lands provide the counties no property tax revenue. The grant
lands dot the counties in a checkerboard pattern.
The BLM manages the lands to produce timber, although the acreage
remains subject to environmental laws, including the federal
Endangered Species Act.
The counties argued that 2.4 million acres of O&C lands should not
have been included in the 24 million acres covered by the Northwest
Forest Plan. The plan was meant to balance protection of wildlife,
such as the northern spotted owl, with some logging.
The counties' lawsuit was settled and dismissed before the Bush
administration amended the original settlement Friday. It reaches
beyond the original lawsuit to boost logging on all forest plan lands
in Oregon, Washington and Northern California.
"What we have is an attitude change among the agencies and the
administration that they really have to deliver what they're supposed
to deliver," said Douglas County Commissioner Doug Robertson,
president of the Association of O&C Counties.
The settlement says federal foresters will offer 805 million board
feet of wood from the roughly 4 million acres of land open to logging
in the Northwest Forest Plan. Some of that includes massive old-growth
It says they also will provide about 300 million board feet by
thinning crowded trees in reserves set aside for wildlife protection.
And it says the BLM will revise its management blueprints for Western
Oregon by 2008, which could end up removing O&C lands from the forest
plan acreage as the counties first sought. That could undermine
ecological aims of the forest plan, activists said, since some
scientists felt the lands hold vital wildlife corridors
The Bush administration has used similar legal settlements in other
environmental cases to loosen restrictions on federal lands. For
instance, it agreed to revise forest plant and wildlife survey rules
in response to a lawsuit by industry.
But administration officials had no pressing need to settle the county
case, Goldman said. "They're using a decade-old case that had
virtually no merit or life left in it to give away the forest."
Michael Milstein: 503-294-7689; michaelmilstein@...