26 Jan 1998 Relief Report #60: January 26, 1998
So-Called “Consensus” Forest Plan Lacks Consensus: Ranchers Oppose Quincy Library Group BillH.R. 858, the bill incorporating the “Quincy Library Group” (QLG) initiative that breezed through the House of Representatives last July, does not appear to be the consensus proposal its proponents claim. The proposal — an agreement negotiated between local environmentalists, industry representatives, the local government and others in Quincy, California concerning management of National Forests in the California Sierra Nevada — was supposed to be a consensus agreement that balances the demands of environmentalists with the needs of timber workers, ranchers and others. But the ranching community says that its concerns were ignored by QLC and its representatives shut out of the process. Not surprisingly, the end product included provisions that could devastate ranchers if a Senate companion bill, S. 1027, passes the Senate. Local ranchers are outraged. At the center of the controversy is a 500-page Scientific Assessment Team (SAT) report, written by a group of Forest Service scientists including Jack Ward Thomas, that was incorporated in H.R. 858. Among other things, the SAT report and accompanying guidelines appear to allow large-scale removal of cattle in National Forests covered by the bill. Loss of public land grazing could bankrupt many ranchers, including Dick O’Sullivan, a rancher in Lassen National Forest who depends on public lands for grazing most of his 600 cattle. “In addition to me, my wife, son and son-in-law work on the ranch,” O’Sullivan told Relief Report. “We pay my son and son-in-law only $1,200 per month each and my wife and I don’t even take a draw anymore. That’s how close to the margin this operation is.” S. 1027 appears to be on the fast-track for a vote in the U.S. Senate. However, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), revoked her support due to environmental concerns and has vowed to do everything in her power to defeat it. For more information, contact David Ridenour at The National Center for Public Policy
President’s American Heritage Rivers Initiative Violates Both Existing Statutes and Constitution, Study SaysA just-released Backgrounder issued by the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation finds that President Clinton’s American Heritage Rivers Initiative (AHRI) violates not only existing statutes, but the Constitution. The study, “Good Politics, Bad Policy: Clinton’s American Heritage River Initiative,” notes that Executive Order 13061, which established the initiative, would give the executive branch control over rivers and their associated resources in violation of Article IV of the Constitution. Article IV states, “Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States.” The paper, written by Heritage Policy Analyst Alex Annett, also notes that the AHRI violates the Federal Land Management and Policy Act. That statute, enacted in 1776, specifies that “it is the policy of the United States that Congress exercise its constitutional authority to withdraw or otherwise designate or dedicate federal lands for specified purposes.” For more information or a copy of the study, contact Alex Annett of The Heritage Foundation at 202/546-4400 or visit www.heritage.org.
President’s Road Ban Violates LawsThis week, the Clinton Administration placed a two-year moratorium on building new roads in the National Forest system for low road density areas of 1,000 acres or more. The moratorium would make these areas de facto wilderness areas in violation of the 1984 Wilderness Act which specifies that any federal lands not specifically designated wilderness areas must be managed for multiple uses. It would also bypass both the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Forest Management Act. For its part, the Clinton Administration argues that the moratorium is necessary to, among other things, upgrade existing roads, “aggressively decommission old, unneeded… and unauthorized ‘ghost roads,'” and to identify sustainable funding sources for maintaining the forest road system. Critics, however, believe the Administration’s real motivation is to bring federal policy one step closer to banning timber harvests and other activities in National Forests. As a result, a new coalition of some 70 multiple-use and property rights groups, Communities for Forest Access, has been formed to fight the designation. To join the coalition or further information call Chuck Cushman at 360/687-3087. Information on the moratorium can also be obtained from the Oregon Lands Coalition at 503/363-8582.
News from The National Center for Public Policy Research
Kyoto Earth Summit Information Center Daily Bulletins. A series of eight one-page reports from Kyoto, Japan during December’s global warming summit.
We’re Changing the Future. New, six-panel brochure about the programs and effectiveness of The National Center for Public Policy Research.
NoteworthyAt least 175 media interviews, citations and inquiries were generated by The National Center for Public Policy Research’s environmental programs during the fourth quarter of 1997. During the same period, at least 48 opinion/editorials were placed in such publications as the Denver Post, the Los Angeles Daily News, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Tallahassee Democrat and the Las Vegas Review-Journal, among many others.