Congress debates measure that would speed up salvage logging

We interrupt our ongoing coverage of global-warming doom and gloom to update you on logging doom and gloom. A bill in the U.S. House would force the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and other agencies to issue decisions on timber sales on public lands that have been burned or hit by other disasters within as few as 30 days, speeding up a process that can now take months or years. The legislation would essentially void the comprehensive reviews of salvage timber sales that are now required under the National Environmental Policy Act. A similar measure has been introduced in the Senate. The House Resources Committee, which debated the bill yesterday, received a letter this week from 169 forest scientists warning that salvage logging damages delicate post-fire forest ecosystems by disturbing soils, removing wildlife habitat, and reducing the nutrients and shade needed to regenerate forests. We’re sure the committee will take that info to heart.