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The Planet

Follow Up.

Updates on Sierra Club Campaigns

The Planet, October 1995, Volume 2, number 7


  • Will Clayoquot Get Clearcut Relief?
  • NAFTA Gets Quicker--And Dirtier

Will Clayoquot Get Clearcut Relief?

The Sierra Club of Western Canada is cheering a ground-breaking forest management plan for British Columbia's Clayoquot Sound, an ancient temperate rainforest that has been ravaged by clearcutting in recent years. But now activists faced a new battle: fighting to ensure that the provincial government and timber companies comply with the plan.

Crafted by the government-commissioned Scientific Panel for Sustainable Forest Practices, the plan calls for an end to clearcutting. It advises only logging trees not deemed critical for maintaining air and water quality, cultural values, spiritual and scenic features and wildlife habitat.

The plan is "a movement toward a world where forests are valued in their own right and treated with respect," said Vicky Husband, conservation co-chair for the Sierra Club of British Columbia, ''The challenge now to our government and timber giants like MacMillan Bloedel [see May 1995 Planet alert about U.S. purchases of this company's old-growth products] is to fully implement these findings, which means a complete change in the way they do business."

NAFTA Gets Quicker--And Dirtier

The Clinton administration wants new "fast-track" authority to expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to Chile [see June [1995] Planet, page 6], and a proposal in Congress would remove environmental safeguards from the agreement entirely.

By requiring a quick vote and prohibiting amendments, fast-track is supposed to prevent special interests in Congress from picking apart trade agreements after they've been negotiated by the president. But Sierra Club trade specialist Dan Seligman said House Trade Subcommittee Chairman Phil Crane (R-Ill.) is attempting to exempt environmental provisions from fast-track treatment altogether.

"If Rep. Crane gets his way, environmental standards will be challenged as trade barriers and funds to prevent environmental damage will be cut," he said.

NAFTA's ability to weaken existing laws is evidenced by a bill introduced by Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.) at the behest of tuna-exporting nations that would gut U.S. dolphin protections. "This is exactly what we warned about when we fought NAFTA," said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), "and exactly what we were told would not happen."

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