The Bush administration thinks the Clinton-bred forestry plan that has governed - and limited - Northwest logging since 1994 is a failure and needs overhaul or replacement (HCN, 7/26/93: Clinton vs. Foley: House speaker is furious at plan to protect Northwest forests). The Northwest Forest Plan procedures that aim to protect habitat for endangered species have held logging far short of projected levels and rendered the Forest Service ineffective, says Dale Bosworth, Bush's chief of the U.S. Forest Service.
"I don't think the public in general sees us as an organization that can do what we said we're going to do - not because we have bad people, but because we have good people tied up in an impossible situation," says Bosworth.
Bosworth has instructed regional heads of the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and other agencies to recommend updates to the plan, pleasing the timber industry.
"It tells us the problems are recognized at the highest levels," says Chris West of the American Forest Resource Council. "The previous administration wouldn't admit their plan was broken."
Environmentalists pledge to oppose any effort to dilute the plan, says Doug Heiken of the Oregon Natural Resources Council. "It's dangerous to try and abandon the only structure we have in place to take care of these forests."