September 1997, Volume 4, number 7
Subsidies for the construction of new logging roads in national forests cost taxpayers $245 million between 1992 and 1994. But a proposal to end them failed on July 10 when the House voted 211-209 against a bipartisan proposal by Reps. John Porter (R-Ill.) and Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.). The Porter/ Kennedy amendment to the fiscal year 1998 Interior Appropriations bill called for slashing the road building budget by $41.5 million and axing the
"purchaser road credit" subsidy program. Instead, the House narrowly passed a weak compromise sponsored by timber industry ally Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.).
"This amendment is a sellout to a timber industry that will continue to pollute our water supplies, create landslides and fragment precious wildlife habitat -- not to mention that American taxpayers will continue to pay millions of dollars every year for this corporate welfare,"said John Leary, Sierra Club forestry issues representative.
As The Planet went to press, Sen. Richard Bryan (D-Nev.) was expected to offer an amendment similar to the Porter/Kennedy amendment.
To take action: Don't let a defeat in the House stop the fight to end taxpayer subsidies for new logging roads in our national forests. Call your senators and urge them to support the Bryan amendment and vote to protect America's national forests and American taxpayers at the same time.
The proposed Quincy Library Group bill (H.R. 858) -- named after a group of local elected officials, timber industry representatives and "environmentalists" who met in a library to develop the plan -- has easily passed a House vote.
Sponsored by Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.) the bill was promoted as a positive community experiment. In reality, it threatens the Sierra Nevada region and sets a dangerous national precedent by undermining existing environmental laws and legislating local control of national forests. (See June 1997 Planet.)
A nearly identical bill (S. 1028) has been introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and appears to be heading through the Senate in rapid fashion.
To take action: There's still time to contact your senators to ask them to oppose S. 1028. Or write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper explaining the dangerous precedents set by this bill.
For more information: For sample letters to the editor, talking points or other information on the Bryan amendment or the Quincy bill, contact John Leary, (202) 675-2382; email@example.com.
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