Sierra Club leaders were outraged and deeply disappointed
this summer when President Clinton suddenly reversed his
opposition to a timber salvage rider attached to the budget
"rescissions" bill, which slashes $16 billion in funding for
existing federal programs.
After publicly decrying the "logging without laws" measure
and vetoing the original rescissions bill, Clinton stunned
the environmental community when he agreed to sign a
"compromise" bill that retained the rider. At press time,
the bill had been passed by the Senate and was awaiting
The "logging without laws" provision allows the timber
industry to sidestep environmental laws and clearcut
America's public forests. It waives the Clean Water Act and
all other environmental laws; bars citizens from exercising
their right to challenge illegal logging plans in court;
defines salvage logging so broadly that massive clearcutting
of healthy trees will be allowed; and directs the federal
government to dramatically increase timber harvests.
"President Clinton's flip-flop was a betrayal of the
American people who are counting on him to protect our
national forests from special interests like the timber
industry," said Sierra Club President J. Robert Cox.
What's more, say Club leaders, the president's reversal
casts doubt over his other veto promises. Clinton has said
he will veto H.R. 961, the "Dirty Water Bill" that guts the
landmark 1972 Clean Water Act. He also announced he would
veto Sen. Bob Dole's (R-Kan.) "Risk Your Life" risk
assessment bill, S. 343, which would hamstring America's
environmental protections by imposing expensive and lengthy
cost-benefit analyses on the federal agencies that
"Unless the White House hears a loud and clear message from
the American public that the president must follow through
on these promises, he may capitulate to the extremists in
Congress again and sign away our right to a safe and healthy
environment," said Carl Pope, the Club's executive director.
The fact that a salvage-logging rider was attached to a
budget-slashing bill at all is another cause for serious
concern, say environmentalists. The tactic is just one of
many obscure, back-door routes that congressional leaders
are taking to destroy or sidestep the nation's environmental
"Anti-environmental leaders in Congress and their allies in
polluting industries are working to exploit our natural
resources and degrade our air, water and lands without the
knowledge or permission of the American people," said Cox.
"This undermines the very foundation of our democratic
process of government."
Express your outrage to President Clinton about his broken
promise to veto the rescissions bill. Urge him to follow
through on his promises to veto H.R. 961, the "Dirty Water
Bill," and S. 343, the "Risk Your Life" risk assessment
bill, and other anti-environmental legislation. Call the
White House comment line at (202) 456-1111.
Write Clinton at:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
Or e-mail him at:
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