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E-M:/ Fwd: Bush's New Industrial Model in OUR Forest Land
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- From: Doug Welker <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2004 16:36:10 -0500
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X-From_: firstname.lastname@example.org Fri Dec 24 14:05:21 2004
From: "Don Watson" <email@example.com>
Subject: Bush's New Industrial Model in OUR Forest Land
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2004 13:05:15 -0600
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2900.2180
Bush Administration Finalizes Rules for National Forest Management
December 23, 2004 ? By Matthew Daly, Associated Press
WASHINGTON ? Managers of the nation's 155 national forests will have more
discretion to approve logging and other commercial projects without
lengthy environmental reviews under a new Bush administration initiative.
The long-awaited rules, announced Wednesday, overhaul application of the
landmark 1976 National Forest Management Act, which sets guidelines for
managing 191 million acres of national forests and grasslands and
protecting wildlife there.
Forest Service Associate Chief Sally Collins said the new rules will allow
forest managers to respond more quickly to changing conditions, such as
wildfires, and emerging threats such as invasive species.
The complex forest management rules were last updated in the 1970s, and
officials long have complained that detailed analyses required under the
law take up to seven years to complete. Under the new rule, forest plan
revisions could be completed within two to three years, officials said.
Environmentalists reacted with skepticism, saying the administration was
catering to the timber and paper industries and weakening standards for
protecting endangered or threatened species.
"The president's forest regulations are an early Christmas gift to the
timber industry masquerading as a government streamlining measure," said
Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife.
The new plan gives regional forest managers more discretion to approve
logging, drilling and mining operations without having to conduct formal
scientific investigations known as environmental impact statements.
Forest Service officials say the idea is to make forest planning more
responsive to changing conditions by eliminating unnecessary paperwork and
relying on assessments by local and regional managers rather than
one-size-fits-all federal requirements.
"We really have a process that takes way too long, that really isn't as
responsive ... as it should be," Collins said.
But environmentalists say the plan eliminates analyses required under the
National Environment Policy Act, scraps wildlife protections established
under President Reagan and limits public input into forest management
"We can't imagine it's going to be satisfactory for replacement of the
wildlife safeguards and public involvement that the public has enjoyed for
the last 25 years," said Mike Anderson of The Wilderness Society.
The new approach could cut costs by as much as 30 percent, Collins said.
She also noted the new rules require independent audits of all forest plans.
The audits, to be conducted in some cases by private firms and in others
by federal employees, are based on standards frequently used by the timber
industry to address environmental issues and ensure compliance with the
law, Collins and others said.
Environmentalists said there is no evidence a corporate model will ensure
They also expressed concern that the plan relaxes a requirement to protect
fish and wildlife in national forests so species do not become threatened
or endangered. Instead, the rules assert an overarching goal to "maintain
healthy, diverse and resilient" ecosystems and species native to forest lands.
Tom Partin, president of the American Forest Resource Council, a timber
industry group, said the new rules are "a lot more responsive" than the
current rules, which he called cumbersome and counterproductive.
The rules take effect after they are published in the Federal Register,
which is expected next week.
Source: Associated Press
26344 Tauriainen Road
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