President Clinton says he's distressed because the salvage rider he signed in July opened up the wrong ancient forests to logging. Faced with growing civil disobedience in the Northwest, the president said last month that he wants Congress to change the law.


As interpreted by a federal judge, part of the salvage law mandated the sale of some 230 million board-feet of healthy old-growth in Oregon and Washington (HCN,10/16/95). Clinton said this "extreme expansion" of logging was never authorized by the rescissions bill, and he warned that the new sales - sought by the timber industry - would cause grave environmental injury. His administration filed an emergency appeal of the judge's ruling, but on Oct. 26 it was denied and soon the trees will start to fall.


Critics say the Republican Congress has no interest in reforming the law and that Clinton is naive in suggesting it. "I don't know how (the administration) can say it got snookered," Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, a Democrat, told AP. Andy Kerr of the Oregon Natural Resources Council was blunter: "We told them this would bite them on the ass."


Meanwhile, protests against old-growth cuts are increasing. At the Sugarloaf sale in Oregon's Siskiyou National Forest, where Boise Cascade has logged nearly all 9.5 million board-feet, high-profile environmentalists joined 90 others in acts of civil disobedience.


Audubon Society vice president Brock Evans, who was among those charged with trespassing Oct. 30, said he hoped his protest would "encourage my thousands of colleagues who wear coats and ties to be counted, too." - Chip Giller