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E-M:/ ACT: Tell MI Congresspeople to vote against HR 2515

Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org

Enviro-Mich folks:  ALL of Michigan's Members of Congress should hear about
the dangers of HR 2515, introduced by Rep. Bob Smith, (R-OR) the chairman of
the House Ag committee.  Please review the below synopsis -- more info is
available by contacting me.  Michigan's National Forests, as well as all the
others nationwide, are at risk if this gutting environmental and public input
is allowed to pass.  Anne Woiwode, anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org

 Call today and urge your Representative to oppose HR 2515, the Smith "CHAIN 
 SAW Surgery" bill, when it reaches the floor possibly later this month. 
 HR 2515 is:
 - based on the faulty premise that there is a forest health "crisis", an 
 assumption that has been refuted from all quarters.
 - designed to allow logging companies to cut green trees in the name of 
 forest health (reminiscent of the Clearcut Salvage Rider).
 The last time we checked, Representative Bob Smith (R-OR) wasn't a doctor.  
 Nevertheless, Smith, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, is 
 ready to perform some not-so-delicate CHAIN SAW surgery on our National 
 Forests.  HR 2515, Smith's bogus "Forest Health" bill, was marked up in 
 committee nearly two weeks ago, and now appears ready to be considered on the 
 House floor.  
 The Smith bill has left the environmental community in a collective state of 
 deja-vu since we contended with similar legislation in the Craig forest 
 health bill and the "Clearcut Rider" during the 104th Congress.  Like the 
 Craig bill and Salvage Rider, the Smith Bill relies on a faulty diagnosis:  
 that our National Forests are in the throes of some massive "forest health 
 crisis".  This premise has been attacked from all quarters, including the 
 Clinton Administration.  In a letter to Chairman Smith, Agriculture Secretary 
 Dan Glickman accurately pinpointed the real impetus behind HR 2515:  
 "While the bill establishes a new restoration fund to help pay for these 
 projects, some of the money to support the fund would come from harvesting 
 commercially valuable timber.  This would establish a cycle by which forest 
 health activities would depend on commercial timber sales, encouraging an 
 increase in the number of commercial timber sales to fund restoration." 
 The prescription that would result from the diagnosis of a forest health 
 "crisis", then, would actually call for more logging of green trees.  What's 
 more, the bill would allow the Secretary of Agriculture to designate entire 
 regions (which could be specific acreage, entire National Forests, or even 
 regions such as the Pacific Northwest) as "Forest Health Recovery Areas", 
 which would then be more closely surveyed for salvage logging activity.  Once 
 again, the timber industry has found a backdoor route by which to perpetuate 
 their destructive practices.
 Lately the Forest Service has been taking tiny steps forward, however 
 incremental, with their roadless policy and shift in emphasis towards 
 recreation.  Should the Smith bill pass it would represent a gigantic step 
 backwards in the management of our National Forests.  It's time for Mr. Smith 
 to stop the forest malpractice.

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