A measure that forces the Forest Service to nearly double the timber harvest on national forests over the next two years is buzzing through Congress.
House of Representatives recently passed the controversial
amendment to the appropriations recision bill 275-150. Now it heads
to the Senate where environmentalists hope to extricate the
so-called Taylor-Dicks amendment, named after its authors, Rep.
Norm Dicks, D-Wash., and Rep. Charles Taylor, R-N.C.
The amendment mandates a salvage logging program
of 3.2 billion board-feet for each of the next two years, almost
double the total volume offered from the national forest in FY
1994. Salvage is defined as dead and dying timber. It also suspends
"all applicable laws' including the Endangered Species Act and the
National Environmental Protection Act.
timber industry says the bill would generate jobs for economically
depressed timber communities while lessening the potential for
catastrophic wildfire. Environmentalists charge it allows timber
companies unchallengeable access to roadless areas, and forces the
Forest Service to cut trees even if sales lose money or damage the
"It seems the more outrageous the
legislation is, the better chance it has to pass the House," says
Andy Stahl, executive director of the Association of Forest Service
Employees for Environmental Ethics.
Appropriations Committee approved a recision bill March 24 that
includes a logging amendment broader than the one included in the
House bill. In addition to exempting salvage logging from
environmental laws, the measure would exempt live tree sales in the
spotted owl forests of the Pacific Northwest.
Meanwhile, the Clinton administration, which
opposes the legislation but has not indicated whether it would veto
the entire recision bill, announced March 15 that it will adopt
procedural changes to speed up salvage sales by two to four months.