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Know the West

Just in time for the budget requests

  Forest Service mismanagement is one thing many environmentalists, ranchers and loggers agree is a problem. Now the Government Accounting Office has chimed in with a July 31 report to Congress that says the Forest Service's decision-making culture is one of "indifference toward accountability." The agency's inability to make timely decisions costs taxpayers millions of dollars each year and harms the environment, the GAO says. Meanwhile, "deteriorated aquatic or riparian ecosystems cannot be restored and the critical habitat of an endangered species cannot be protected until a decision is made." Forest Service spokesman Alan Polk declined to comment on the report until his agency has had time to study it. But, he said, "We have nothing to hide."

To get a copy of the report, The Results Act: Observations on the Forest Service's May 1997 Draft Plan, call the GAO at 202/512-6000. Fax orders to 301/258-4066, or e-mail the GAO at http://www.gao.gov