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  • Bush Administration Fire Policies

    By ROBERT GEHRKE
    Associated Press Writer
    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration is about to drop a
    requirement to run environmental studies before logging or burning
    trees to prevent forest fires and wants to end consultations on
    whether such actions would affect endangered species.
    Under the new policy, the Forest Service and Interior Department
    would not need an environmental study before cutting or burning
    excess trees on as many as 190 million acres (76 million hectares)
    of federal land considered to be at-risk for a catastrophic
    wildfire.
    "These new tools will reduce the layers of unnecessary red tape
    and procedural delay that prevent agency experts from acting
    quickly to protect communities and our natural resources from
    devastating wildfires," Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said in
    a statement Friday.
    The projects would not be subject to administrative appeals. The
    Bush administration is also limiting who can appeal projects done
    under normal circumstances.
    Trees could be cut from as many as 1,000 acres (400 hectares)
    without environmental studies. Controlled burns could be used to
    burn out excess trees on as many as 4,500 acres (1,800 hectares).
    The exemptions could not be used in wilderness areas, areas being
    considered for wilderness designation or national parks.
    Agriculture Department Undersecretary Mark Rey, who is in charge
    of the Forest Service, said the range may seem large, but was
    necessary. "Its 1,000 acres of forest that is unlikely to be
    consumed by catastrophic fire once we get it done," he said.
    There is no limit on the size of trees that could be cut down,
    and the Forest Service would likely sell commercially valuable
    timber produced, Rey said.
    Environmentalists said the new rule was a carte blanche for
    loggers.
    "This clears the way for the timber industry and its friends in
    government to loot public forests and pocket the proceeds, free
    from public input or environmental review," said Amy Mall, a
    forest specialist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
    The regulations will take effect after they are published in the
    Federal Register next week.
    The changes are part of the "Healthy Forest Initiative" that
    President George W. Bush announced during a tour of a charred
    Oregon forest last year - one of several fires that burned 7
    million acres (2.8 million hectares) across the United States.
    The House approved legislation last week that would limit
    environmental analyses on 20 million acres (8 million hectares) and
    expedite the appeals process. Rey said the congressional fix goes
    hand-in-hand with the administration's policy changes and both are
    needed.
    Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete
    Domenici, a Republican, said the rules changes are timely.
    "These rules are critical to protecting small tracts of our
    national forests from wildfire," Domenici said.
    House Democrats said the policies will degrade the land.
    "Every so-called 'common sense' effort by the administration to
    'restore forest health' is really an effort to expedite logging on
    our public lands with little citizen oversight and no environmental
    analysis," said West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall, the ranking
    Democrat on the House Resources Committee.
    The administration also wants to end required endangered species
    consultations with the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National
    Marine Fisheries Service before conducting fire prevention
    treatments.
    Under existing regulations, the wildlife agencies must be
    consulted if the projects could affect endangered species or
    habitat critical to their survival. Those consultations would no
    longer be needed if the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management
    biologists determine endangered species will probably not be
    harmed.
    "They're trying to change the meaningful check and balance of
    the wildlife agency into a rubber stamp for the Forest Service,"
    said Marty Hayden, vice president of the environmental group
    Earthjustice.
    The proposed changes to the endangered species consultation will
    be subject to public comment before a final rule is issued.
    ---
    On the Net:
    President Bush's Healthy Forests plan:
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/healthyforests/
    Forest Service: http://www.fs.fed.us
    Natural Resources Defense Council: http://www.nrdc.org

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  • #2
    Re: Bush Administration Fire Policies

    Originally posted by NJFFSA16
    "These new tools will reduce the layers of unnecessary red tape
    and procedural delay that prevent agency experts from acting
    quickly to protect communities and our natural resources from
    devastating wildfires," Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said in
    a statement Friday.
    It all sounds well and good and I'm sure the current process can be streamlined significantly, but I think the old adage "Measure Twice, Cut Once" definitely applies here.

    The line between "Red Tape" and "Due Diligence" can be exceedingly thin.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

    Comment


    • #3
      ...the Forest Service and Interior Department
      would not need an environmental study before cutting or burning
      excess trees on as many as 190 million acres (76 million hectares)
      of federal land considered to be at-risk for a catastrophic
      wildfire.
      We can only hope they do it responsibly. I would also hope that some studies would be done to evaluate other risks (i.e. erosion, endangered plants/species) before any actions are taken.
      Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
      Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

      *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
      On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Trees could be cut from as many as 1,000 acres (400 hectares)
        I hope that they are not planning on clear-cutting this whole area. It has been proven that many times when you clear cut, it turns into desert. I'm not a hippy, a tree-hugger, or a liberal so don't even try to call me that.

        Controlled burns could be used to burn out excess trees on as many as 4,500 acres (1,800 hectares).
        Good. Maybe this well help keep wildfires in check.
        TO/EMT CVFD (1219)
        EMT GEMS
        CPT/EMT MVFD
        ---------------------------------------------------
        Proud Member of IACOJ
        ---------------------------------------------------
        9-11-01 Never Forget FDNY 343

        Comment


        • #5
          Bush administration adopts rules to reduce forest fire threats
          WASHINGTON (AP) - New government rules no longer require
          environmental studies before trees are logged or burned to prevent
          forest fires. The rules also limit appeals of such projects.
          The goal is to speed the removal of trees and brush from 190
          million acres (76 million hectares) -- an area nearly the size of
          Wyoming, Idaho and Montana combined -- of forests that have become
          overgrown and prone to major fires as result of a century of
          aggressive fire suppression.
          Environmental groups say the rules, which took effect Wednesday,
          will make it easier for logging companies to cut down trees in
          national forests and will limit the public's input in forest
          management decisions.
          The previous rules required environmental studies for nearly
          every logging project.
          Now, logging projects affecting 1,000 acres (400 hectares) at
          most will not need such studies if the sites is deemed at-risk for
          fire. Controlled burns, where fire is used to burn excess trees
          under certain circumstances, could be done without environmental
          studies for projects up to 4,500 acres (1,800 hectares).
          Neither of the "categorically excluded" projects would be
          subject to administrative appeals, but they could be challenged in
          court.
          ---
          On the Net:
          Forest Service: http://www.fs.fed.us

          (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
          Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
          Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

          *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
          On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

          Comment

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