11/01/2005

Daily Kos: the White House, USFS throw a temper tantrum

the White House, USFS throw a temper tantrum
by Gallatin [Subscribe]
Sat Oct 22, 2005 at 02:09:19 AM CDT

http://www.wilderness-sportsman.com/

Recently, a California judge overturned a key part of Bush's "healthy forest act". The provision that was overturned cut out public and scientific involvement for many national forest operations, including industrial logging and mining. What Bush basically did was take the public land away from the public. This means that activies like logging, mining and roadbuilding of the last wild areas on public lands (which is about the only place these areas exist) were exempt form both public comment/review and environmental research. This is a key issue, simply because 60 million Americans get their drinking water from national forest lands. If you have ever been to some place incredibly scenic in America, chances are you were on or near national forest land. It's simply the best we have in terms of lack of pollution, wildness, species diversity , and outdoor recreation.

* Gallatin's diary :: ::
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The judge ruled that the Bush administration had bypassed the law, specifically the 1992 Appeals Reform Act which congress passed specifically so that the public was not shut out of management decisions on public land. The judge let it be known that his decision applied on the national level, not just for California. The ruling applied to logging and mining operations, and nothing more.

Outraged, the Bush admin, and the Forest Service immediately began to throw a temper tantrum , and began suspending all activities, not matter how small. We are talking about wedding permits, campground cleanup, disabled hunters access, Christmas tree cutting and bathroom cleanup. This of course sparked outrage in national forest communities. And the blame game began. Top USFS ( U.S. Forest Service) officials(under the stress from the Bush admin) began blaming "environmental lawsuits" for "shutting down the forests". Nevermind that the judge's order was for larger logging and mining operations. The spin was already happening.

Several conservation groups that had filed the lawsuit to stop the exclusion of the public in Bush's "healthy forests act" immediately asked for the judges clarification. He obliged, and in a new ruling informed the USFS they had simply gone too far:

GrantsPASS -- The U.S. Forest Service went overboard when it suspended mushroom picking, the cutting of Christmas trees and other activities to comply with a court order declaring it had to give the public a greater say in forest management decisions, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Clarifying an earlier ruling, U.S. District Judge James K. Singleton Jr., wrote that the Forest Service needs to take public comments and consider appeals on major projects, such as timber sales and new off-highway vehicle trails -- not on minor things such as permits for hunting guides or gathering mushrooms.

Thankfully, the judge cleared things up and the Bush administration could no longer play " you took my candy and now I'm going to pout".

However, the damage had been done. Many commercial hunting outfits , ecotourism outfits and those who use forest products such as mushrooms had already been hit hard with financial setbacks due to the Bush administrations playing politics with their lives.

Here is a disturbing example of what happened to a disabled hunter when the Bush decided to play "propaganda" with peoples lives:

(see: forest service accused of misuing - October 18,2005)

When Richard and Willa Clark of Anaconda arrived at the Philipsburg Ranger Station Thursday morning, they'd planned to be there just long enough to fill out some paperwork and pick up the keys to a gate.

Willa is disabled and planned on taking advantage of a U.S. Forest Service program that allows disabled hunters to access areas otherwise closed during hunting season.

To their surprise, the pair was told that the program was on hold while the agency sorted out whether it needed to offer the public a chance to comment or appeal.

"We were kind of shocked," Willa said. "It all seemed kind of silly."

Daily Kos: the White House, USFS throw a temper tantrum

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