DATE: September 4, 2002
BACKGROUND: The U.S. House Resources Committee
will hold a hearing Thursday, September 5, 2002 to consider several
bills that would permit thinning of forests nationwide without
interruption from environmental lawsuits. One bill, The National
Forest Fire Prevention Act (H.R. 5214), introduced by Rep. Dennis
Rehberg (R-MT) uses much of the same wording as the amendment
Sen. Daschle (D-SD) used to exempt South Dakota forests from environmental
regulations and the lawsuits that delay fire prevention efforts.
As President Bush said in a recent speech while visiting Oregon
and seeing the wildfire devastation there, "If it's good
enough for that part of South Dakota, it's good enough for Oregon."
TEN SECOND RESPONSE: Why shouldn't all the nation's forests
get the same treatment as those in the Senate Majority Leader's
home state of South Dakota?
THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: About 50% of all thinning projects
planned to reduce fuel in our forests were delayed by environmental
lawsuits last year. This bill would prohibit delays that have
stopped efforts to reduce the massive fuel buildup that is feeding
monster forest fires. If the exemptions from burdensome regulations
are okay for South Dakota, why not for all of America's forests?
DISCUSSION: The National Forest Fire Prevention
Act would allow the National Forest Service to conduct sound forest
management that includes environmentally sound logging to reduce
dangerous fuel loads now threatening America's wildlands. The
bill gives the Secretary of Agriculture the power to reduce infest
infestation or timber stands that are a fire hazard -- regardless
of environmental laws. The Secretary's actions will not be subject
to any judicial review by any court of the U.S. The bill can be
accessed at http://thomas.loc.gov
More than 20 congressmen are
co-sponsors of H.R. 5214. Below are some of their comments about
Rep. Rehberg: "I introduced
legislation to extend Daschle's South Dakota specific forest plant
to the rest of America-- freeing all national forest land at risk
of catastrophic fire from the shackles of burdensome regulations
Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-WY): "Not
one more family should see their home burn before Senator Daschle
acknowledges that what is good for the people of South Dakota
is good for the citizens of the American West."
Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA): "Mr.
Daschle, wildfires are everyone's problem. They harm communities.
They harm species. And they harm our forests."
FOR MORE INFORMATION: More facts on our nation's forests
are available from The National Center's Forest Policy Information
Center at http://www.nationalcenter.org/Forest.html.
by Gretchen Randall, Director
John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs
The National Center for Public Policy Research
Contact the author at: (773)
857-5086 or [email protected]
The National Center for Public Policy Research, Chicago office
3712 North Broadway - PMB 279
Chicago, IL 60613