The U.S. Forest Service’s accounting practices are “totally unreliable,” the General Accounting Office reported Tuesday. The GAO report, which came in response to a request by Reps. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) and George Miller (D-Calif.) for an agency audit, was by far the most scathing condemnation of irregular accounting practices at the USFS to date. Watchdog groups say the Forest Service intentionally conceals financial details about its logging program, which critics allege costs more money than it earns. Forestry advocates, however, say logging is critical to forest health regardless of the price. Meanwhile, USFS reps say they have suspended use of the timber accounting system and are trying to improve financial accountability.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.