WASHINGTON - March 23 - Statement of Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director
"The Bush administration dealt a blow today to Pacific Northwest forests, wildlife, and Americans who value these ancient forests. Trashing the important Survey and Manage component of the Pacific Northwest Forest Plan removes a vital check from the process of balancing the uses of the forests and will increase old growth logging and damage vital wildlife habitat. The administration also weakened the Aquatic Conservation Strategy component of the plan which, along with Survey and Manage, represent the two key ecological pillars on which Northwest forest protections were based.
"The Northwest Forest Plan helped slow the strip-mining of our rare ancient forests, but the Bush administration is showing once again they care about the views of timber executives more than the views of the public. These changes will put salmon and other rare species at greater risk of extinction and opens thousands of acres of old-growth forests to logging.
"Over the past decade, Americans have realized that these ancient forests are worth more than board feet for the timber industry. There is a better way. We should be moving forward to protect communities from fire, and restore damaged fish and wildlife habitat. Todays announcement will leave Northwest communities that care about salmon, clean water and recreation behind.
"Part of the Bush administration's so-called 'Healthy Forests Initiative,' was to re-open Northwest ancient forests to unsustainable logging. Todays changes fill another chapter in the Bush administrations book of removing the public, shortening or removing environmental impacts studies, and burying the science on forests policies. Revoking critical parts of the Northwest Forest Plan is simply a sign of the times, with the Bush administration expected to announce more radical changes in the coming weeks to undo the popular Roadless Area Conservation Rule."