Timber Industry Rewrites CA Forest Plan

A new California forest management plan that would triple the annual timber harvest from national forests in the Sierra Nevada was (surprise, surprise) written by industry, according to a press release from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. A California Forest Association lawsuit would install the timber industry's deforestation plan and insulate the plan from further legal challenges through a settlement. PEER has filed in court to intervene in the settlement. From the press release: “The Forest Service is now run by a former timber industry lobbyist, Mark Rey, whose mission, before he returns to the private sector, is to radically undercut sustainable forest policies,” stated California PEER Director Karen Schambach. “The years of work that went into developing the Sierra Framework of 2001, a model plan of which the Forest Service should have been proud, were chucked out the window with barely a wink and a nod.” In 2004, the Bush Administration scrapped the Sierra Framework of 2001, covering 11.5 million acres, in its entirety. According to the declaration filed by PEER, the Forest Service –
  • Had an “open door” policy for the timber industry in developing the 2004 rewrite. The Forest Service conducted no public hearings, in contrast to the 2001 plan which was produced after 60 public hearings;
  • Repeatedly overruled its own specialists and misused data in order to justify unsupportable timber harvest levels; and
  • Drove its scientists who disagreed with the increased logging targets out of the agency. In one instance, a specialist found himself blackballed from obtaining employment as a private consultant.
  • Read PEER’s motion to intervene: http://www.peer.org/docs/ca/2005_28_2_intervention.pdf See PEER’s declaration in support of the motion: http://www.peer.org/docs/ca/2005_28_2_schambach_filing.pdf
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