Federal legislation to launch the Quincy Library Group's forest management plan soared through the House, 429-1, a landslide victory which supporters are boasting was bigger and faster than the vote following Pearl Harbor. The lone holdout was Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.
Opposition to the
controversial bill faded in last-minute negotiations between Rep.
Don Young, R-Alaska, a timber industry advocate, and Rep. George
Miller, D-Calif., a staunch environmentalist. Before the changes,
Miller called the bill "a hijacking" of the Quincy Library Group
plan which did not guarantee protection for riparian
Adding language to clarify that logging
and other forest activities must be in full compliance with all
environmental laws satisfied Miller, said Rick Healy, a Democratic
legislative staff member. "We raised the bar and they met it,"
The proposal for a five-year pilot
project on national forests in the northern Sierra Nevada now goes
to the Senate, where U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has
introduced legislation nearly identical to the House bill.
Feinstein said her bill further clarifies environmental protections
during logging of up to 60,000 acres a year on the Plumas, Lassen
and Tahoe national forests.
representing local, regional and national groups continue to oppose
the Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery and Economic Stability
Act. Although the changes are improving it, the untested logging
techniques authorized cover too large an area over too long a time,
said Louis Blumberg of the Wilderness Society.
addition, the legislation - which he considers unnecessary - favors
local solutions to the exclusion of some national interests,
It was the model of a rural
community struggling to solve problems that seemed to entrance
Congress. The bill demonstrates what working through differences
can accomplish, not only in Northern California but also in the
House, said Rep. Vic Fazio, D-Calif., who co-sponsored the bill
introduced by Rep. Wally Herger,
"Compromise is contagious," Fazio said.
Jane Braxton Little
freelances from Plumas County, Calif.