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E-M:/ Rep. Furse Withdraws Amendment

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


Frank Ambrose's summary of the vote on the Furse Amendment on the Interior
Approps. Bill in the US. House provides a good overview of what happened.  

But one thing that needs to be emphasized is that this year, for the first
time in many votes on these same issues in Congress, both the House and Senate
versions of the Interior Approps. bill do away with the outrageous mechanism
that allowed timber companies to get paid taxpayer dollars to build roads to
access timber sales not otherwise accessible.  This significant leap
forward was followed by the disappointment that the Congressional Republican
leadership struck a closed door deal when it appeared they were convinced they
would lose on a straightup vote on continuing to subsidize money losing timber
sales, in part through what will now be direct payment of taxpayer dollars to
build the roads no longer funded through the sleight of hand of purchaser road
credits. Representative Elizabeth Furse (D-OR) deserves credit for knowing
when to toss in the hand when it is clear the dealer is cheating, but her
amendment STILL forced a vote on the floor of the House, something the
leadership did not want to happen.

But please, if you have a little ink in your pen and want to follow up on this
issue, ask your Congressional Rep. how he/she would have voted -- we know for
certain that some Michigan Congressional Reps. are among those that threw cold
water on the effort by Rep. Furse.  Even though there was no "voting chart
vote" on this issue, you should find out from your elected official if he or
she went along with the behind the scenes deal of the House leadership that
means another $80 million of taxpayer's dollars will be lost to subsidizing
environmentally damaging roads and timber sales in FY99.

Anne Woiwode

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