The Quincy Library Group claimed a hard-fought victory last month after the U.S. Forest Service doubled logging on three California forests while protecting habitat for the northern spotted owl.
After years of bitter battles
against environmentalists, attorney and group co-founder and
Michael Jackson can't help gloating. "This is absolute complete
vindication," he says.
The Forest Service
decision, which came out of an environmental impact statement Aug.
20, covers 2.4 million acres of the Plumas, Lassen and Tahoe
national forests. It walks a tightrope between environmental laws
and a 1998 law passed by Congress that requires the agency to
follow a five-year forest-management experiment developed by the
Quincy coalition (HCN, 11/9/98). To reduce the threat of forest
fires, the plan allows logging of up to 286 million board-feet a
year, slightly less than the 319 million board-feet sought by the
Quincy Library Group.
At the same time, the
Forest Service prohibited timber harvests in over 420,000 acres of
spotted owl habitat until the agency adopts a long-term strategy
for protecting spotted owls and other wildlife across the Sierra
Nevada. Without that modification, the Quincy plan risked violating
the National Forest Management Act, says Mark Madrid, Plumas Forest
For opponents of the controversial
Quincy strategy, the Forest Service decision to go ahead is a deep
disappointment that "ignores scientists and the American public,"
says Louis Blumberg, a senior policy analyst with The Wilderness
Society. His group is considering a
"Bring it on," replies Jackson, who adds
that the Quincy Library Group will intervene in any legal action
against the Forest Service.
* Jane Braxton