Where the Personal becomes the Political at our whim...
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:: Thursday, October 17, 2002 ::
As I opened outlook last night, I noticed a clusterfuck of emails from every environmental organization I belong to....as your sole resident Green, I feel it is my moral obligation to update you on the wonderful world of environmental policy that you won't read in the New York Times or see on CNN. The majority of Americans stand united behind strong protections for our environment, but the Bush administration and some members of Congress are attempting to use this summer's forest fires for political advantage to undermine forest protections. This is not surprising considering the logging industry was one of the top contributors to the Bush campaign in 2000...and that this particular administration has done everything in it's power to roll back environmental regualtions from the Endangered Species Act to the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (don't even get me started on the ANWR).
The good news is that, because of public pressure, Senator Craig (ID) has been unsuccessful in adding an anti-environmental amendment (called a rider) to the Interior Appropriations budget bill. Senator Craig's rider would have been similar to the Lawless Logging rider of 1995, which allowed massive logging of big trees.
Unfortunately, now Representative McInnis (CO) and Walden (OR) have introduced a bill, H.R. 5319, that would weaken the National Environmental Policy Act - our cornerstone environmental law - in order to allow the Forest Service to conduct large-scale, environmentally damaging logging projects. The bill would also provide a hasty administrative appeal process and impose unprecedented limitations on judicial review.
Instead of supporting a bill that promotes logging without laws, Congress should direct the Forest Service to protect communities close to our national forests that are at unnecessary risk from fire. For example, the Forest Service should ensure that ninety percent of the expenditures on fuel reduction in national forests occur within 500 meters of a community's buildings, the area known as the Community Protection Zone. Forest Service research shows that the best way to protect homes and communities from fire is to treat areas near them.
Please take a moment to ask your representative to oppose H.R. 5319, the McInnis-Walden logging bill that would weaken environmental laws under the guise of fighting forest fires. Please take a moment to call your rep. 202-224-3121 (switchboard) or click here Legislative Agenda Legislative Scorecard