Heritage at risk from lawless logging bill

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Our public heritage is at risk from a lawless logging bill that effectively eliminates all reasonable checks on the timber industry. The threat comes from House Natural Resources Committee passed out of committee H.R. 2936 known euphemistically as the “Resilient Federal Forest Act” or as the Westerman bill for short after its chief sponsor.

The Westerman bill is a Trojan Horse with a nice sounding name, that is nothing more than a timber industry dream list of provisions designed to make it easier for timber corporations to raid our natural patrimony to boost their corporate profits.

The legislation if enacted would essentially eliminate any pretense of using science in forest management and basically open our national forests to massive logging operations with limited public oversight. It is the ultimate manifestation of the Industrial Forestry paradigm advocated by the timber industry.

Among the dangerous provisions in the bill is the expansion of “Categorical Exclusion” or CE. Under the bill’s terms, the Forest Service and/or the BLM could dispense with the National Environmental Policy Act or NEPA which requires the government to articulate the full consequences of its proposals.

Things like whether elk hiding cover is compromised, or whether roads may create excessive sedimentation into trout streams or if weeds may be spread by logging equipment and how the agency plans to minimize or reduce those impacts.

The legislation is a threat to our national patrimony.

GEORGE WUERTHNER

Bend, Ore.

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