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The Planet
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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.


 

Sanjay Narayan

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 drilling.



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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