The reality is that time and again the Forest Service has failed to protect the public lands and as a direct response to these failures Congress, at the request of the American people enacted environmental laws to curb the industries' unmitigated greed and the destruction of our public lands.
Environmental laws were enacted as a result of hard fought battles involving concerned citizens, grass roots activists, and the so-called special interest groups who were tired of the environmental destruction wrought by the timber industry. It took over 20 years to implement environmental safeguards such as the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
Environmental laws were never intended to halt all logging on the public lands, they never have and they never will. Their intent was to ensure that other values such as clean air, water, soil productivity and wildlife populations were adequately protected. The administrative appeals process, too, was an important way for the public to influence land management decisions, to watchdog the Forest Service and ensure that public lands were not abused.
20 years of environmental laws and a meaningful public participation process were destroyed last July in a single pen stroke when President Clinton signed the recissions bill and approved the salvage rider.
The salvage rider allows the US Forest Service and the BLM to proceed with sales without adherence to environmental laws and without a requirement that the sales make money. Bob Wolf, former Senior budget analyst for the Congressional Research Service, estimates it will cost taxpayers somewhere between 430 million and 1.6 billion dollars.
The salvage rider is neither ecologically defensible nor fiscally responsible.
The results of the rider are already becoming clear.....on to Lawless Logging in the Northern Rockies
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