Underbrush With the Law
President Clinton on Saturday endorsed a report by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman calling for a big increase in the number of national forest acres to be swept clean of the thick, flammable underbrush that led to many of the wildfires in the West this summer. Clinton’s comments came during his weekly radio address, in which he outlined a $1.6 billion package that he hopes Congress will approve to aid communities affected by this year’s fires and to prevent future fires. Republicans in the West have called for more commercial logging as part of a forest recovery program, but the White House made clear that it rejected such an approach. Babbitt and Glickman will speak to Western governors later this week and present details of their plan, which calls for more controlled burns and other efforts to remove forest underbrush on some 40 million acres of public land.