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E-M:/ Urgent Action Needed!! Protect our National Forests

Enviro-Mich message from Frank Ambrose <snakeman@expert.cc.purdue.edu>

Please call your representative to congress and urge them to support and
vote for the FUrse amendment.  Congresswoman Elizabeth Furse of Oregon is
introducing an amendment to the Forest Service's budget that will
eliminate their ability pay for destructive logging roads,and limit their
ability to subsidze timber sales on our national Forests.

On the Senate side, Senator Bryan of Nevada will be introducing a similar
amendment.  Call your  senators and urge them to support this amendment.

These amendments will most likely come to a vote later this week.

Use the 800 number below to save some money, and also use the fact sheets
below to help inform yourself on the matter.

For the Forests,
Frank Ambrose
American Lands Alliance

***toll free number to capitol***

Subject: Fachsheet on Subsidies for Logging and Roadbuilding on the  National Forests

         Subsidies for Logging and Roadbuilding 
                 on the National Forests

Our National Forests are suffering from abusive logging and
roadbuilding that is the result of a money-losing federal timber
sales program. 

The National Forests continue to be the victims of excessive logging. 
Even though less than 5% of the primary forests in the lower U.S.
remain, last year the Forest Service sold over 7000 acres of old growth
forests to be logged in the Northwest alone.  Damaging timber sales
like the Deadwood Sale in Idaho continue.  The Deadwood sale would
enter roadless areas, ruin prime fish habitat, and cost the taxpayer over
$100,000.  In fact, the Forest Service itself estimated that their timber
sale program lost $15 million for taxpayers in 1996 and $88 million in

These abuses are funded by subsidies in the Forest Service budget;
the agency budget is weighted toward logging and road building
while other needs go underfunded.

Almost 1/3 of the Forest Service's $3.3 billion budget is related to
logging.  And of that, only a portion is directly appropriated funds. 
The Forest Service justifies some of their logging for  environmental
reasons, but one particular line item ("Timberlands Management") is to
subsidize logging for which no environmental benefits are claimed. 
Meanwhile, wildlife, watershed and recreation funding together
constitutes only 11% of the Forest Service's budget.  Enormous needs
exist for money for road obliteration, road maintenance (a $440 million
maintenance back log and $10 billion reconstruction backlog according
to the Forest Service), watershed repair, etc.

Even eliminating the Purchaser Road Credit, the budget includes
$37 million in subsidies for timber road construction.

We favor eliminating the Purchaser Road Credit; however, even
without the credit program the Forest Service budget will still support
construction of 403 miles of new timber roads, of which 106 miles will
be in roadless areas.  These roads will be purchaser built or "purchaser
elect" roads, but they will be subsidized by $37 million in tax dollars
going for engineering work that should be paid for by the purchaser.  
The Congress should exercise its "power of the purse" to cut funding for
the destructive subsidies, and increase funding for programs that will help
the forests.

There are long term changes that should be made in the laws governing the
National Forests, but the immediate action the Congress can take to stop
irresponsible logging and road building is to reshape the Forest Service
budget.  The forthcoming roads directive from Forest Service Chief Mike
Dombeck will provide temporary protection from road building for 30 million
acres of roadless areas (regrettably not including the Tongass NF or the
Ancient Forests west of the Cascades).  However, while this moratorium is in
effect it is up to Congress to cut the subsidies that cause the destruction
of these last remaining wildlands, and refocus the budget priorities of the
Forest Service to where the money is really needed.  In other words, the
Congress needs to stop funding the "bad," and spend more on the "good."     

The Furse Amendment will reduce timber and roadbuilding subsidies, and
reallocate funds for critical road maintenance.

Rep. Elizabeth Furse will be offering an amendment to the Forest Service
budget when the Interior Appropriations bill comes to the House floor.  The
amendment will cut $88 million in timber subsidies from the Timberlands
Management line item and $37 million timber road building subsidies.  From
this cut, $100 million will be reallocated to road maintenance and
decommissioning, watershed restoration and recreation and $26 million
savings will accrue to the taxpayer.

Additional funds are needed for road maintenance and decommissioning to make
up past backlogs and to stop ongoing degradation of the environment.

The proposed Forest Service budget only has enough funds to maintain 45% of
the existing 373,000 mile road network.  When roads are not maintained, they
steadily erode filling streams with sediment.  Catastrophic road blowouts
and landslides can occur if culverts are not cleared on a regular basis.
The Forest Service also has admitted a $10 billion reconstruction backlog on
the 86,000 miles of road used for general transportation and recreation.  In
addition, the Forest Service already has over 40,000 miles of road scheduled
for decommissioning yet has funds to carry out only 3,500 miles next year.
The Administration's long-term roads policy is expected to identify
additional roads that pose a threat to the environment or are no longer needed.

The Furse Amendment will not eliminate the timber sale program but will cut
subsidies that result in environmentally destructive timber sales.
The Forest Service admits that over 2/3 of the timber program is paid for by
off-budget funds (such as the Salvage Fund or KV) that are outside of the
annual appropriations process.  Cutting $126 million from the timber and
roadbuilding appropriation represents less than 15% of the total program
which has allocated $977 million for logging in FY 1999.

For more information, please contact Steve Holmer or Amelia Jenkins, Western
Ancient Forest Campaign at 202/879-3188 or wafcdc@igc.org


Ends the Subsidy for Roadbuilding on 
the National Forests

The Furse Amendment will cut $37.4 million from the budget for
roadbuilding for timber access found in the Engineering Support and
Administrative Overhead line-items of the Forest Service budget. 
Whether this work is actually done by the Forest Service or the
purchaser, it ought to be paid for by the purchaser.

Cuts the Subsidy for Logging on the National

The Furse Amendment will cut $88.6 million from the Timber
Management line-item which is the portion of the budget for
commercial timber sales for which no environmental benefits are
claimed.  The Forest Service admits the timber program lost $88.6
million in 1997, but independent analysts estimate the actual loss is
over $500 million.    

Reduces the Federal Deficit

The Furse Amendment will redirect $26 million of the proposed cut to
deficit reduction.  The House Budget Resolution calls for $5 billion in
cuts to natural resource programs over the next five years.  

Restores the Environment

The Furse Amendment will redirect $100 million to the road
maintenance, watershed restoration and recreation.  This will help make
up the $440 million maintenance backlog and to decommission
environmentally harmful or unneeded roads.


For more information please contact Steve Holmer or Amelia Jenkins 
at 202/879-3188 or wafcdc@igc.org

Steve Holmer
Campaign Coordinator

Western Ancient Forest Campaign
1025 Vermont Ave. NW  3rd Floor
Washington, D.C. 20005
202/879-3189 fax

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