ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
COMMITTEE ON RULES AND ADMINISTRATION
United States Senate
WASHINGTON, DC 20840-0504
December 4, 1997
The Honorable Barbara Boxer
112 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
I regret that I have not responded before now to your letter letting me know that you have decided to remove your name from the Quincy Library Group bill.
I do want to set the record straight and respond to your concern that "the bill does not include specific language to protect the most sensitive old growth areas identified by the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Report." Let me give you the reasons for this.
The Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Report itself says the data in the report should not be used to make site specific applications without additional on the ground examination, Volume 11, page 650 of the report says "Databases and maps should not be utilized for local management purposes without additional ground-based measurements." Page 668 goes on to say "it would be dangerous to attempt detailed site-specific predictions of forest structure at the lot, patch, or even polygon levels directly from the LSOG maps."
The areas identified by the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Report are areas of late successional emphasis, and are not necessarily areas of old growth. The Quincy Library Group has looked at some of these areas on the ground and found that some not only have no old growth, but in one instance there are no trees at all the area is under Bullards Bar Reservoir.
Moreover, the Quincy Library Group bill approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee already protects environmentally sensitive lands, including roadless areas and all California spotted owl habitat areas and activity centers, as well as areas designated by the Quincy Library Group as off-base or deferred. However, in the event these areas do not include all sensitive old growth the Committee has provided report language directing the Forest Service to avoid conducting timber harvest and road construction in late-successional old-growth areas.
I also want to stress that the Quincy Library Group bill requires compliance with all environmental laws. Section 2(l) of the bill specifically states "Nothing in this section exempts the pilot project from any environmental law. " In addition, the bill requires the preparation of an environmental - impact statement prior to the commencement of the, project. As a result of this environmental analysis, it is possible that the acreage treated as part of the Quincy Library Group pilot project may fall short of the target levels called for in the bill. The Committee report reflects this reality.
Finally, contrary to the assertions of some, the bill does not double the volume of logging on the affected national forests. The Forest Service, in a letter of October 22, told me "based on the agency's current timber estimates, the potential timber outputs that would be generated by this bill, if fully funded with addition appropriations, would not double but would remain consistent with the outputs provided from these forests over the last five years." Please find enclosed a copy of the Forest Service's October 22 letter signed by Ronald Stewart, Deputy Chief of Programs and Legislation.
I sincerely believe that opposition from environmentalists on the national level is really philosophical in that people believe the Quincy Library Group bill is an exemption to federal law and they do not want it to succeed. As you know, the Quincy Library Group proposal is intended to reduce the risk of fire, restore forest health, and provide community stability with an adequate timber supply for local mills. My own view is that the law should allow the consensus achieved by the Quincy Library Group to have an opportunity to be tested. In five years, we will know whether this pilot project works, or not and whether local collaborative groups can in fact succeed in solving this kind of problem. That to me is the challenge.
With warmest personal regards and best wishes for the holiday season.
attachment-. Forest Service letter
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