by Carolyn Chase
Anti-environment legislators have suspended environmental laws
in massive federal giveaway
ongress has opened National Forests across the country,
sacrificing them to timber industry greed. Even now, in the middle of the
winter, they are cutting giant trees and dragging them through the snow
to be trucked to the mills. Here's how it happened.
The "Salvage Rider" a subversion of democracy
The "Emergency Salvage" timber rider was stealthily
attached to the 1995 Rescissions Bill, legislation supposed to reduce federal
expenditures, and signed into law by President Clinton. The "salvage
rider" is probably the most far-reaching, anti-environment legislation
in the history of this country. We, the people, are paying dearly for it:
in actual dollars, loss of critical wildlife habitat and ancient forests
and in the precedent it sets for lawmaking and the separation of powers
in this country.
The "salvage rider" has put logging outside
the law. It suspends the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental
Policy Act, the National Forest Management Act, three other laws governing
public lands, and finally, as a catchall, "all other applicable Federal
environmental and natural resource laws," like the Clean Water Act.
The Rider requires an "emergency" timber salvage
program. The definition of "salvage" timber has loopholes big
enough to drive a log truck through. Trees only need to be "imminently
susceptible to fire or insect attack" or "associated trees"
to be included in a salvage sale. Already, conservationists have identified
14 healthy, green timber sales that could not satisfy previous environmental
protection laws that have been reclassified as "salvage" sales
by the Forest Service. These sales are in Colorado, Michigan, Montana, Virginia
and Idaho. Others are proceeding in Oregon and Washington.
Green tree sales
The "salvage rider" has opened up green, healthy,
old-growth forests for clear-cutting that were supposedly protected by the
President's Forest Plan. All over the Pacific Northwest, the "salvage
rider" mandates that such disastrous sales be awarded to the timber
industry at give-away 1990 prices. Over one billion board feet of the most
valuable old-growth forests, essential for the recovery of salmon, spotted
owls and marbled murrelets, will be logged under the "salvage rider."
Salvage Rider repeal bill
Representative Elizabeth Furse (D-OR) has courageously
stepped forward to challenge the timber industry's greedy grab at our ancient
forests. On December 7, 1995, she introduced bipartisan legislation that
will completely repeal the "logging without laws" rider. H.R.
2745, the "Restoration of Natural Resources Laws on the Public Lands
Act of 1995," now has 86 cosponsors. In her statement to the press,
Rep. Furse asserted that, "America is a nation of laws. Americans are
law-abiding citizens. But the Salvage Rider has put logging outside the
She cited six key reasons for the repeal of the Salvage
Please call or write your Representative and urge them
to cosponsor the Furse/Morella "Restoration of Natural Resources Laws
on the Public Lands Act of 1995." The address is Your Representative,
U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515 or call the Capitol
Switchboard at 202/224- 3121.
- The logging of healthy Ancient Forests
- Losses to the taxpayers and inappropriate corporate welfare during
a time of drastic budget cuts
- Damage to property rights of private timberlands by driving down prices
- Damage to wildlife, fisheries habitat and restoration efforts
- Undercutting the Northwest Forest Plan by requiring the logging of
previously protected Ancient Forests
- The extreme industry interpretation of the Section 318 sales requiring
the immediate logging of every timber sale ever offered in the region that
had been held up for environmental or other reasons.
Carolyn Chase is chairperson of the City of San Diego Waste Management
Advisory Board, a member of the Peñasquitos Canyon Citizens Advisory
Council and recipient of the mayor's 1994 Spirit of San Diego award for
Myths and truths about logging
Myth: Logging our watersheds is only done to improve water quality.
Truth: Logging increases erosion, run-off and silt in our reservoirs
which inevitably degrades water quality. Logging is done because the bureaucrats
in charge of it want to keep their jobs.
Myth: Logging reduces fire hazard.
Truth: Logging leaves cut-over areas with slash open to the direct
sun which dry out and increase fire hazard.
Myth: Old growth rainforests are full of sick, diseased and decadent
trees. A young forest is more healthy.
Truth: Old growth rainforests are healthy ecosystems which have evolved
over thousands of years to be more resistant to insects and disease. They
are naturally regenerating, with trees of all different ages. Decaying wood
retains water and supports new life. The needles of big, old trees filter
water and their roots hold soils in place. A young even-aged forest which
follows clear-cutting is much more prone to fire, insects, disease and erosion.
Myth: Salvage logging is needed after forest fires to aid ecosystem
Truth: No, it is not. In fact, salvage, and the road building, cat
skidding, and log removal it involves increase erosion, reduce habitat for
wildlife, and fragment what wild lands we have left. In fact, fire suppression
(bulldozed fire lanes and backburns) in combination with salvage are the
greatest threat to North Americas remaining wilderness. Forest fires are
a natural part of our ecosystem and contribute to the health of our forests.
Fires should be suppressed only in tourist and rural interface areas.
Myth: Logging is needed to create jobs and save the economy.
Truth: Sustainable logging is required to truly create the economy
that provides jobs long-term. Studies in the Pacific Northwest have shown
that, acre-for-acre, ancient forest systems provide more economic benefit
and jobs left standing than cut down.
Myth: Timber is needed to build homes
Truth: More timber is most emphatically not needed to build homes.
Homes can be built from many renewable materials which are available at
a lower cost, with desirable building attributes and with less fire hazard.
Call to Action - what you can do
HELP REPEAL THE SALVAGE RIDER! Ask your Representatives to cosponsor
HR 2745. Please consider going to visit your Legislators' offices when they
are home. Letters and calls are great, but seeing your Rep. in person has
the greatest impact.
Dear Congressman or President,
I am writing to urge you to restore the rule of law
in our Nation's forests. Please join with the growing number
of bipartisan members of Congress who are
supporting HR 2745, the "Restoration of Natural Resources
Laws on the Public Lands Act of 1995." HR 2745 is a total
repeal of the rider. Only a repeal of the Salvage Rider
will protect forests all across the country that are now
being attacked without legal protection or recourse.
Right now, Ancient Forests that were set aside in the
Northwest Forest Plan to help endangered fish stocks and other
forest species recover, are being BRUTALLY CLEAR-CUT. Forests
are also being laid to waste in Montana, Idaho, Vermont and
Alabama. I am appalled that our children's heritage is being
undemocratically seized from them and bestowed on giant
timber corporations for short-term profit. Please stop
<printed name and address>
A view from the ground
Provided by Umpqua
he Honeytree timber sale contained 7.2 million board-feet
(MBF) on 167 acres of towering old giants in the Canton creek drainage in
Oregon. It was sold and awarded in the late 1980s. The Forest Service revealed
that the "area is currently at very high risk of undergoing further
landslides into [Hipower] creek." The fisheries experts recommended
that all uncut units be bought back until the watershed had recovered.
Because of its extreme detrimental effect on the entire ecosystem, an injunction
stopped the completion of its harvest. Before the salvage rider mandated
that its destruction continue, there remained 91 acres left uncut with 3.8
MBF of ancient trees left. But not for long. Read about its present legacy
To: The President of the United States, Et. al
With the greatest of sadness I would like to share with
you my heart. What I saw yesterday saddened me deeply.
Roseburg Lumber Company cut trees that are bigger than I
ever imagined existed still on earth. Hiking through the
forest, a group of 5 of us came upon hundreds of fallen
giants lying vagrant in the muddy stream that is the
beginning of the confluence that I fished as a boy with
my father. As an ex-logger I could see that this logging
site (Honeytree) was logged with no regard to any
environmental concern. It was dirty and quick, and there
was not a logger or machine to be seen, only a valley of
scared trees lying recklessly on top of the devastated
My request is that you repeal, in entirety, the Salvage
Logging Rider and please Mr. President, please take a
moment to see for yourself the last of our natural world.
Your signature is the cause of the destruction of my heritage.
S. Shivia, Eugene Oregon
Watersheds, Inc. a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is one of many
local volunteer citizen's groups working for sustainable forestry and conservation
of ancient and old growth ecosystems. Their purpose is:
If you would like to help stop the destruction, there
are several things you can do:
- To monitor the activities of the federal, state and local agencies
charged with the responsibility of managing forest and other lands within
the designated area;
- To advocate sound stewardship of public lands and resources with emphasis
on sustainability of biodiversity and restoration;
- To improve communication with public agencies, private landowners
- To educate the public in the interest of informed consent and public
participation in decision making.
- Contribute to a local or national environmental group
- Use tree free paper, made from hemp or kenaf.
- Send them a tax-deductible donation. Their address is:
Umpqua Watersheds, Inc.
PO Box 101
Roseburg, OR 97470
Their World Wide Web address is
or by email: francismail.teleport.com