15
Okt
2004

Bad Forest Riders Still Loom

Congress Adjourns, Bad Forest Riders Still Loom

Congress has headed home to campaign and will return after the election for a lame-duck session that will likely begin on November 16th. Many must-pass spending bills were not completed before Congress left, including the Interior Appropriations bill, which funds the Forest Service. Since Congress did not finish much of their work on appropriations it looks likely that they will combine many of the unfinished spending bills together into one big bill called an omnibus bill. The Interior Appropriations bill could be thrown into this omnibus bill and could contain some bad forest riders, which need to be stopped. Although we will likely have to mobilize in November to stop many riders in the lame-duck session we also need to act now.

Right now congressional staff have stared working on the unfinished appropriations bills, including the Interior Appropriations bill. For the next couple of weeks they will be putting a draft omnibus bill together. Since congressional staff are drafting portions of the omnibus bill now, we have to make calls in order to keep the pressure up as so bad forest riders stay off the omnibus bill.

TAKE ACTION: Please call your Senators and Representative's DC offices at 1-202-224-3121 (capitol switchboard). Ask for the staff that works on National Forest/Environmental issues. Tell them that you:

1. Oppose efforts by Senator Gordon Smith to attach his Lawless Logging Rider on the omnibus spending bill. The rider will override existing environmental laws and prohibit judicial review to promote the largest public lands logging project in modern history - the Biscuit post-fire logging project on the Siskiyou National Forest. This rider is intended to override the current judicial process that is underway by stripping away all forest and river protection laws for the Siskiyou Wild Rivers Area in Southern Oregon and slamming shut the courtroom doors to citizens, leaving roadless areas, ancient forest reserves, wild and scenic rivers and salmon runs at risk of being destroyed by logging and roadbuilding.

2. Oppose Senator Stevens' Tongass Judicial Review Rider. The rider interferes with judicial review of logging projects in the Tongass National Forest by telling judges they only have 180 days from the filing date to decide lawsuits challenging logging projects in the Tongass. The rider also attempts to completely cut off the public's ability to challenge projects if they cannot file lawsuits on Tongass logging projects within 30 days of the Forest Service's decision to go ahead with them.

3. Oppose Efforts to waive environmental review of grazing permits on public lands. The Senate Interior bill attempts to categorically exclude the renewal of grazing permits for many grazing allotments in National Forests from environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The rider seeks to exclude the public from participating in important decisions about how public lands are managed, even though current grazing practices can degrade lands, cause water pollution and imperil plant and animal species.


Lisa Dix
National Forest Program Director
American Lands Alliance
ldix@americanlands.org
Ph: 202-547-9105; Fax: 202-547-9213
American Lands Alliance http://americanlands.org


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