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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sun, 28 Apr 96 13:13:34 -0700
Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Forwarded-by: Jason Thorpe <email@example.com>
[ Context: the recent Timber Salvage Rider has quite a few Oregonains
up in arms. Most of us are pretty proud of the beautiful, ancient
forests there, and like to spend leisure time there, even if we
don't currently reside in that wonderful state. I take a trip up
there every couple of months, and usually spend some time up in
the Mount Hood or Willamette National Forest while I'm there.
Unfortunately, the Timber Salvage Rider has effectively released
all of the federal timber sales that were blocked by court order
because of environmental concerns. Parts of the popular Opal Creek
recreation area, and other ancient forest areas, are now closed to
the public so they can be clear-cut.
Now, some folks have been writing a lot of the concern off as whining
from tree-hugging liberal envirofanatics. It's worth noting that
a lot of my friends who are _anything_ but tree-hugging envirofanatics
are becoming pro-forest activists as a result of this fiasco.
Anyway, since I don't live in the Portland-area anymore, it's kind
of hard for me to attend protests, etc., which has left me feeling
sort of helpless; I can only write so many letters to the
Bureau of Land Management and Congress. However, I'd feel a little
better knowing that I helped get information about this out to as many
people as possible. So, if it's not too much trouble, could you
possibly forward this on? Hikers and campers everywhere will thank
you for it. -- Jason R. Thorpe <firstname.lastname@example.org> ]
From: "Charles Gattman" <Charles_Gattman_at_STRM__Beaverton2@stream.com>
This is the most succinct article I've found yet if you're still not sure
what the whole salvage rider thing is about. This thing pisses me off
more than the indecency act. Or, to put it precisely, the US politicians
have their head wedged so far up their collective ass that the only way
they'll ever see the forest is when somebody shoves the biggest, oldest
tree alive up the ol' sewer hole and right between their fucking eyes.
I predict that within the next decade, acts of violence against the
government will increase almost as widely as public distrust of
Anyway, this comes from Earth First's page. As you know, they're pretty
radical, but this is an excellent overview of the situation...PLEASE read
it. (The formatting sucks...the web site is
Salvage Rider of the Apocalypse
-- by James A. Barnes
July 27, 1995. Remember this as the day when President Bill Clinton
signed into law a bill that wiped out virtually all environmental laws
on national forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. This law,
the Emergency Salvage Timber Program, mandates that public forests be
cut "to the maximum extent feasible"... "notwithstanding any other
provision of law," including judicial orders. That means total logging,
in total absence of law. The provision extends to December 31, 1996, at
which time the two land management agencies can offer as many sales as
they can dream up. The cutting can take as long as they like.
The vehicle was a "rescissions" bill, a budget-cutting measure that
rescinded money already allocated for federal programs. It was a big
bill, with a lot of bipartisan support; everyone in Congress wants to
look like they're for reducing bloated government, especially on the
backs of the poor and disenfranchised. The president wanted this bill,
too. So it was a good opportunity for timber sluts Rep. Charles Taylor
(R-NC), chair of the House Resources Committee, Rep. Don Young (R- AK),
and Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA) to add on an unrelated amendment--a
"rider"--to the bill, HR 1944. If the legislation had been introduced on
its own, it might have died in committee or actually
gotten vetoed. In addition to rescissions, the bill provides for flood
relief for California, bomb relief for Oklahoma City (what politician
would vote against these?), and Clinton's own police-state "anti-
terrorism" initiative. Hell, it was a shoo-in.
In May, Clinton announced that he would veto the bill, stating
specifically that among the reasons was the salvage rider, which would
"...essentially throw out all environmental laws." We all breathed a
great sigh of relief. But just like in the horror movies--when you
think the psycho killer mutant creature is dead, it leaps back up when
the hero's back is turned--the bill came back to life. Senator Mark
Hatfield (R- OR), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, saw
to it that the rider made it back onto a resurrected
rescissions bill, introduced June 30. The pathologically spineless
Clinton flip-flopped and agreed to sign it. Addressing the salvage
amendment, the president declared, "My administration will carry out
this program with its full resources and a strong commitment." That
program is now law.
What The Bill Does
During the "emergency" period (till the end of 1996), the US Forest
Service (USFS) and the BLM are enjoined to prepare and award as many
salvage timber sales as they possibly can above and beyond the normally
programmed level. Salvage is defined as the removal of trees that are
diseased or insect- infested, dead, damaged, down, burned or "imminently
susceptible" to being burned or eaten by bugs. It also includes
"associated" trees or, get this, "trees lacking the characteristics of a
healthy and viable ecosystem." Basically, all trees on all national
forests and BLM lands are on the block. The only lands exempted
from the saws are designated wilderness areas, wilderness study areas in
Montana and Colorado, roadless areas recommended for wilderness in
agency planning documents, or any area protected by federal statute. In
addition to new sales, the law specifies that salvage sales in
preparation fall under its provisions.
Another chilling provision of this law directs the agencies to employ
"private contractors" in its salvage operations. There aren't anywhere
near enough federal employees to expedite the law's mandates, so the
management of the public's forests is being turned over directly
to the timber companies who will prepare and advertise the sales, then
buy and cut the trees.
While the salvage rider states that the cutting is to take place
"notwithstanding any other provision of law," it singles out for
particular contempt and exemption the Competition in Contracting Act,
Federal Procurement Policy Act, Forest and Rangeland Renewable
Resources Planning Act, Federal Land Policy and Management Act, National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), National
Forest Management Act, Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act, and anything
else not specified, including international agreements.
Just in case you were wondering where the money is going to come from
for all this bureaucratic and extractive activity, the taxpayers are
expected to shell out--cost is no object. "Salvage timber sales... shall
not be precluded because the costs... are likely to exceed the
revenues," reads the law. Direct costs could be as much as $300 million.
Indirect costs in the form of environmental damage could easily reach
the billions. It's ironic that in a budget-cutting measure such as this
rescissions bill, Congress should hand a blank check to federal agencies
to spend on the timber industry. So much for fiscal conservatism.
A lesser known but equally important part of the rider does not involve
salvage at all. Instead it focuses on that area of the Northwest
containing the habitat of the northern spotted owl. The law overrides
any and all outstanding court challenges to the president's
Option 9 plan, reverses court decisions, lifts injunctions and removes
any restraining orders against it. It then directs the agencies to cut
all lands specified under the plan and
exempts them from all environmental law to boot, particularly the ESA
No More Public Input
For those out there who thought the public had something to do with
public lands, think again. First of all, any current court rulings that
have held off the salvage sacking of forests around the country are
declared null and void. Cutting may begin immediately. BLM and USFS
lands now are managed solely for the benefit of timber extractive
interests, not the public good.
The new law removes the opportunity for citizens to administratively
appeal the decisions of agency officials. Since the scope of planning
and documentation is left entirely up to the whim of land managers,
there is no requirement for public input either. While the law
states that "[C]itizens' rights to court action are not prohibited,"
it's impossible for such actions to succeed. A lawsuit must be filed in
the local federal district court within 15 days of the initial
advertisement of a sale, but a lawyer will tell you that such an amount
of time is ludicrously short and is a de facto prohibition in itself.
Should a case be filed, the sale is put on hold for 45 days, after which
no injunction or restraining order against the cutting can be granted
between court proceedings, rulings, etc. So even if citizens could
win on the merits of a case, sales may be cut during litigation.
Ultimately, the only way citizens may prevail is if a judge rules that
an agency has acted in an "arbitrary and capricious" manner. But since
there are no longer any environmental laws for them to break, and they
plan and implement these sales at their whim, agency officials are
practically required to be arbitrary and capricious. Ain't no lawsuits
gonna be won by citizens under this law, period.
Jessica Matthews recently stated in the Washington Post, "Closing of a
public resource to judicial review is dangerous to a democracy and
unworthy of a nation of laws." It is this threat that provokes an
alliance of many otherwise disparate interests. For instance, a
coalition of groups including the American Indian Movement, National
People's Campaign, We the People and the Taxpayer Assets Project, in
addition to many grassroots environmental groups, expressed bitter
opposition to the salvage rider. They stated that if Clinton and the
government "cannot, or will not provide us with our inalienable rights
and responsible representation... it will be our duty to replace you
with a government whose intent is to represent that majority, not just
corporate interests." The salvage rider is a correctly perceived threat
to democracy and civil rights, clearly understood by groups who
represent the interests of the people, not industry.
What Happens Now
BLM and USFS managers laid the groundwork for the rider by packaging the
so-called salvage plan to snow an environmentally friendly but
ecologically ignorant public into approval. In a 1992 memo to her timber
planning staff, Bear Valley Presale manager Barbara Boaz of the Malheur
National Forest, in eastern Oregon, relayed orders from her superiors:
"... even if a sale is totally green, as long as one board comes off
that would qualify as salvage on the Salvage Sale Fund Plan, it should
be called Salvage. It's a political thing."
And the BLM, never so complicated in its workings as the USFS, simply
noted in another leaked memo that the salvage rider was "more or less a
license for unregulated timber harvest."
While the people's sovereignty over public lands was being signed over
to corporate entities whose goals are inimical to the needs and welfare
of the American people, bootlicking Bill Clinton told greedy House
Speaker Newt Gingrich that he "appreciate[s] the changes that the
Congress has made." The timber industry is back in business and the
multinationals are getting ever so rich.
Look, forget court politics. The upshot of the salvage rider's passage
is this: the two largest land management agencies in the country have to
offer as much salvage timber as they can to industry, there are no
environmental laws, and everyone gets to do exactly as they please. What
do you think is going to happen?
Right now, two areas of old-growth forest here in Oregon are expected to
be attacked by chainsaws. Activists are planning to defend the Sugarloaf
sale in the Siskiyou National Forest, which has been released by this
law. Earth First!ers are preparing to occupy the salvage sale of Warner
Creek in Willamette National Forest. It too is released from its
injunctions. All over the country, places like these that have been
fought over for years now lie legally defenseless.
It's gone, folks--it's all gone. Public lands law, for what little good
it did our nation's wild forests, has been stripped away. With it has
fallen the pretense that ours is a democratic nation of citizens,
protecting and enjoying the common wealth. With this salvage law, we
are facing nothing less than enclosure--the transfer of our common lands
into private hands. We have no choice but to revolt.
What You Can Do
Help organize the Salvage Rebellion: write Land of Disenchantment Earth
First!, PO Box 40445, Albuquerque, NM 97196.
Never stop writing and writing letters and op-ed pieces to newspapers.
If they can do ads, so can we; get it on the TV. Feed our journalist
friends; feed 'em good. They like conflict and controversy, with plenty
of catchy slogans and exciting images.
Demand that national environmental groups act.
Don't let the politicians so much as show up at a barbecue or luncheon
without being hounded on this issue.
Don't let scientists hide any longer behind "objectivity" as an excuse
for inaction and servility to power. It's time to loudly and publicly
repudiate biostitutes and "agency science."
The US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management must face
relentless pressure from us. Get agency employees to mutiny--with press
if possible--and testify to the damage. Anyone who continues to work for
the agencies as a "public servant" under this regime has no integrity,
and should be held accountable to the "taxpayers." The Forest
Service is already demoralized; let's collapse this dysfunctional
bureaucracy once and for all.
Defund the Forest Service and the BLM: the Forest Service just got an
increase in its timber program budget of $30 million for fiscal year
1996 in anticipation of the rider. With zero bucks, however, you get
zero cut. An opportunity is the upcoming Senate appropriations bill. For
more info on this campaign contact Save America's Forests at (202)
© 1996 Peter Langston