Can’t See the Forest for the Stumps
Bush administration changes to a management plan for Pacific Northwest
national forests would double timber production on federal lands
in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington, from about 500 million
board feet to 1.1 billion board feet per year. The changes would
also loosen requirements that the Forest Service conduct surveys
of "old-growth associated" species in areas proposed for
timber sales. Former undersecretary of agriculture Jim Lyons says
the new plan places timber profits above science. "They’re
going from ‘survey and manage’ of old-growth species
to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’" The plan
comes on the heels of similar changes to the management plan for
California’s Sierra Nevada.
Drilling Rigs Invade Padre Island
In April, BNP Petroleum of Corpus Christi, Texas, began
hauling equipment onto Padre Island National Seashore on heavy trucks.
The company plans to drill for natural gas on Padre Island, shown
at left, through mid-June, coinciding precisely with the nesting
season of the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle—the world’s
most seriously endangered sea turtle. Padre Island has received
worldwide attention for its unique work restoring turtle populations
which nest there. The National Park Service has established a protected
season from April 16 until June 30, but could not prevent BNP from
Mercury Comment Period Extended
In response to the nearly half million comments submitted to the EPA
urging the Bush administration to start cleaning up toxic mercury
pollution as soon as possible, the agency will extend the public comment
period for 60 days, until June 29. The Bush plan would delay cleaning
up the pollutant for decades instead of requiring power plants to
use modern technology to start reducing mercury pollution immediately.
The administration’s proposal generated a record number of public
comments to the EPA; Sierra Club members submitted 13,000 of these.
For more information, go to sierraclub.org/cleanair/mercury.
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