Agenda For America on Sat, 18 Sep 2004 03:04:07 +0200 (CEST)

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September 16, 2004


Senator's bravery in the face of public opinion earns him award; new
Forest Service mascot unveiled 

The Bush campaign is awarding its first annual "Healthy Forestry"
award to Senator Gordon Smith, R-OR, for finding a way to convert
19,000 acres of prized wilderness into a highly valuable tree farm.

Converting the partially burnt Siskiyou "roadless areas" to tree
farming, despite 70% public opposition to "old growth" logging, will
mean not only the creation of several dozen temporary jobs, but also
will guarantee that the area will never again be subject to "old
growth" and "roadless" restrictions, and will remain forever open to
logging regardless of public opinion.

Sen. Smith has announced that to make this happen, he will attach a
"rider" to a disaster relief or other "must pass" Senate bill,
requiring that the Siskiyou area be logged immediately and replanted
with thousands of timber trees, bypassing Nature's slow, 
inefficient, and unprofitable process of recovery. The rider will
also stipulate that it "shall not be subject to judicial review by
any court of the United States"--preventing ecoterrorists from using
the courts to interfere with the health of the forestry industry.

Even some ecoterrorists acknowledge that burnt old-growth trees can
be hazardous to wildlife, as their rotting limbs can easily fall on
innocent elk or deer. But the agreement ends there. By stubbornly
refusing to let burnt old-growth forests build jobs, ecoterrorists
have made it increasingly difficult for the forestry industry to turn
a profit from America's last few bits of nonproductive landscape.

Sen. Smith was inspired in devising his rider by the earlier, 1995 
"salvage rider," which for one year allowed virtually unregulated 
logging to occur on wilderness lands throughout the Pacific Northwest.

By again moving the issue from the recalcitrant local level to the
Republican-controlled Senate, Sen. Smith's rider suggests a way to
bypass such opposition in a more permanent way. Following his
example, we must devise a "rider" that will open not just one region,
but the entire federally-controlled National Parks System, for
selective logging use.

The amount of useful acreage in Yellowstone and Yosemite alone, for
example, would more than equal the contested areas of the Siskiyou.
Such forests aren't quite as valuable to either the timber industry
or to ecologists as those in the Siskiyou, but logging our National
Parks would mean replacing many smaller, time-consuming local battles
with one bigger one more likely to be won.

To popularize this idea, the Bush campaign has unveiled a new mascot
for the USDA Forest Service: Smokey the Log. Smokey the Log is a
replacement for Smokey the Bear, as bears have no use and are
therefore not appropriate in the modern forest-use context. On a
recent canvassing tour, Smokey the Log collected numerous signatures
in favor of logging our National Parks
(, and received
endorsements from Congressional Candidate Jim Feldkamp
( and former Oregon
governor Victor G. Atiyeh (

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