GAO blames Bush administration for high cost of Biscuit timber salvage

The Bush administration, not environmental lawsuits, is to blame for the nearly $11 million cost of a logging project that will salvage only $8.8 million worth of timber, says a new study from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. After the 2002 Biscuit fire burned almost 500,000 acres in Oregon and California, the U.S. Forest Service overestimated the amount of timber available and the number of jobs that would be created by logging it, says the GAO. “Taxpayers are going to have to spend millions more just cleaning up the damage from the logging than the government made from the timber sales,” said Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.). “At the same time, promises of community fire protection, habitat restoration, and scientific analyses remain unscheduled and unfulfilled.” Republicans responded by doubling down, promoting legislation by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) that would speed up logging after storms and wildfires. ‘Cause that seems to be working out pretty well.