Something Smells Fishy
The Bush administration is proposing changes to its salmon-protection strategy that critics say would endanger salmon while boosting logging in the Pacific Northwest. As it now stands, federal rules prohibit timber sales and other activities on public lands unless officials can demonstrate that fish would not be harmed. Under revisions proposed this week, officials would merely have to show that proposed projects would not have long-term negative impacts on an overall watershed. The administration’s aim is to boost logging in the Northwest to 1.1 billion board feet of timber per year, the level set as a goal under former President Clinton’s 1994 Northwest Forest Plan but never attained. Enviros say the administration’s proposed changes would significantly boost landslides and other environmental degradation. “I think this would be a massive erosion of the single most important landscape protections for salmon and steelhead on [Northwest] public lands,” said Chris Wood of Trout Unlimited. The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management will accept public comments on the proposal through July 10.