SF Bay Guardian


Boxer on logging

I was stunned to see the ad that ran in the Bay Guardian [11/19/97] attacking the executive director of the Sierra Club and me. I have been working to protect the environment all my adult life. The subject of the ad is opposition to the Quincy Library Group bill. Amazingly, the ad proclaims that I am the author of the bill; I am not. After the bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 429 to 1, it was clear the bill was headed on a fast track to passage, and I wanted to try to improve it.

At that point I decided the best way to effect necessary improvements in the bill was to become a co-sponsor of it. My staff and I have spent countless hours working with environmentalists and members of Congress on a series of amendments.

Some of these improvements were added to the bill, such as:

1. Limits on the project's duration.

2. Requirement for independent reviews of the project on an annual basis and in a final report.

3. Language in the report that clarifies that the QLG timber management plan will be in lieu of, not in addition to, the current plan.

4. Language in the report that clarifies that this is a unique project that will require congressional oversight and review.

However, these improvements were not enough for me to finally vote for the bill, and I was prepared to vote "no" on the bill's passage in the Senate. I am particularly disturbed that the bill does not include specific language to protect the most sensitive old-growth areas identified by the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Report.

The bill never did come to the full Senate by the end of the session. In the next session, I plan to remove my name as a co-sponsor. Independent environmental organizations such as the League of Conservation Voters continue to give me among the highest environmental ratings in the Congress. I am committed to continuing my work to preserve our God-given environment.




Boxer's logging bill

Sen. Barbara Boxer claims she was "stunned" by the recent advertisement in the Bay Guardian criticizing her and Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club. Why should someone as accomplished and sophisticated as a United States senator be stunned by the truth?

I worked with the Senator's Office on the previous "salvage logging bill," and she claimed to understand its implications. She acknowledged it was a bad bill and assured me she would help to stop it. Instead, she signed on as a cosponsor to Salvage Logging II, the Quincy Library Group bill.

The Quincy Library Group bill is another slick, lawyer-lobbyist version of the salvage logging bill that devastated our national forests. It is based on the completely scientifically unfounded premise that logging and road-building improve forest health.

President Clinton originally vetoed the salvage logging bill, calling it unacceptable. After signing it, he promised to rescind it. Al Gore later apologized for the bill, calling it "the worse mistake of President Clinton's first term in office." At the end of the last session of Congress, the president finally did rescind the bill.

So why do we see salvage logging rearing its ugly head again, disguised as the feel-good "win-win" consensus of the locals in Quincy? Because the timber industry can't get off the dole of the taxpayers to the tune of at least a billion dollars a year! Because the lawyers want a new BMW, the lobbyists a pad in the country -- and the politicians can't get elected without huge contributions from the corporations!

It is beyond my belief that anyone could fail to see the complicity of Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and Carl Pope and how they have been corrupted by the system. Senator Boxer knew this bill was a wolf in sheep's clothing. She states in her rebuttal to the ad [Letters, 12/3/97] that she thought it was "heading on a fast track to passage, and I wanted to try to improve it. I decided the best way to effect necessary improvements in the bill was to become a cosponsor." Isn't that like trying to save the forest by clearcutting it? Why didn't she simply put a hold on the bill, as a senator from Vermont finally was moved to do?

LEWIS D. SEILER President, V.O.T.E. Action Committee

Obsequious greenwash

Senator Boxer's sudden opposition to S. 1028, the deceptive Quincy Library Group bill, is pure smoke designed to appease her environmental supporters. Are we to believe that she became a cosponsor of the bill out of "opposition" to it when she said on the floor of the Senate, "I hope we are able to pass this legislation quickly so that we will soon be able to see the proposal implemented on the ground"?

She claims to have worked to protect the environment all her adult life. That is total crap. She did nothing to save the Headwaters Forest, she supported NAFTA and GATT, and it took direct prodding in the pages of this newspaper for her to rescind her sponsorship of the bill that many consider the worst forest legislation of the century. Until she actively fights to stop S. 1028, opposes disastrous "free trade" agreements that export jobs and despoil the environment, and sponsors Rep. Cynthia McKinney's bill to end logging in national forests, I consider her a servile, obsequious greenwasher.

KEN MCMURRAY San Francisco


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