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Stop The Forest Service From Closing Out the Public!

In a precedent-setting move, reminiscent of the Salvage Rider, Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth is
working behind the scenes with the Bush Administration to eliminate the public appeals process on the largest timber sale pending in the country...Please tell Chief Bosworth to follow the law and retain the appeals process for the Bitterroot and all other national forest projects. (Sample letter included)
STOP THE FOREST SERVICE FROM LIMITING PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
WRITE THEM BY DECEMBER 9TH!

The Chief of the Forest Service, Dale Bosworth, is
working behind the scenes with the Bush Administration to eliminate the public appeals process on the
largest timber sale pending in the country -- a
proposed 181 million board feet post-fire logging timber sale on the Bitterroot National Forest
in southwestern Montana. Please contact Chief Dale
Bosworth and tell him to follow the law and retain the appeals process for the Bitterroot and all other national
forest projects.

BACKGROUND
During the summer of 2000, large wildfires swept
across the Bitterroot
National Forest. Bitterroot forest officials now
propose logging about
46,000 acres to clear out many trees that burned last
year, as well as live,
green trees. Up to 181 million board feet would be
harvested -- more timber
than was taken off the Bitterroot in the last 15 years
combined (which would
result in enough logging trucks to spread fro 300
miles). This aggressive
post-fire logging project will include up to 17,000
acres of uninventoried
wild roadless areas. It also calls for salvage logging
in sensitive
watersheds for the endangered Bull Trout and
petitioned for listing
Westslope Cutthroat Trout.

A project of this massive scale will cause severe
environmental damage to
watersheds, old growth, wildlife and fisheries habitat
and spread noxious
weeds.

LOCKING OUT PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
On Nov. 27, 2001, Chief Dale Bosworth announced that
it is seeking Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Mark Rey's ratification of the Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor Rodd Richardson's decision to approve
the "Burned Area Recovery Project". If Rey signs the
decision, it would eliminate the opportunity for the 4,000 people and organizations who commented on the timber sale to file any appeals. This is an overt attempt to short-circuit public involvement in the decision-making process for this
highly controversial project.

**If this new fast track approach is successful, the
Forest Service will very likely extend the practice to other controversial projects on National Forests. As a timber industry lobbyist, Mark Rey is widely believed to the
be author of the 1995 "salvage rider" which suspended
for a year all environmental laws regarding salvage timber sales on National Forests.

The 1993 Appeals Reform Act guarantees citizens who
commented on a proposal the right to appeal the final decision. This action proposed by Chief
Bosworth would, for the first time, eliminate the
public's long-standing rights to appeal Forest Service decisions. Bosworth justified the action by
saying that the Bitterroot post-fire sale would have
gone to court anyway and this accelerates the process. Such rationalization pushes to the sidelines groups and individuals who use the appeal process but not the
courts, and fails to allow for the opportunity to
improve a Forest Service decision before deciding whether to go to court.



-------------------------------------------
TAKE ACTION NOW!
Please write Chief Bosworth by December 9 and ask him
to:

- Withdraw his request that Department of Agriculture
Under-Secretary Mark Rey sign the Record of Decision on the Bitterroot Burn Area Recovery Plan.

- Not circumvent the Forest Service appeals process
since it forces groups to utilize the courts if they are not pleased with all or part of the decision on the Bitterroot Burned Area Recovery Project. In the appeals process the public would have the opportunity to
improve the Forest Service decision before deciding whether to go to court.

- Remind him that is clearly violates the Appeals Reform Act.

- Finally, the logging sale itself should not proceed,
because of its massive scale and the scientifically documented risks of severe environmental damage caused by post-fire salvage logging.

OR PASTE IN THE FOLLOWING COMMENT:
I ask that you withdraw your request that Department
of Agriculture Under-Secretary Mark Rey sign the Record of Decision
on the Bitterroot Burn Area Recovery Plan. I also ask that you not circumvent
the Forest Service appeals process on this project or any others.

Eliminating the public's long-standing rights to
appeal Forest Service decision pushes to the sidelines groups and individuals who use the appeal process but not the courts, and fails to allow for the
opportunity to improve a Forest Service decision before deciding whether to go to court.

Finally, the logging sale itself should not proceed,
because of its massive scale and the scientifically documented risks of
severe environmental damage caused by post-fire salvage logging.

Send your comments to:
Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth
c/o Forest Service Northern Region
Public and Governmental Relations
P.O. Box 7669, Missoula, MT 59807
EMAIL:  emc@fs.fed.us
FAX: 202-205-8517

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Larry Campbell- Friends of the Bitterroot,
 lcampbell@montana.com
Deb Kmon Davidson- American Wildlands,
 dkmon@wildlands.org
Or www.wildfireinfo.org


Deborah Kmon Davidson
American Wildlands
40 E. Main, Suite 2
Bozeman, MT 59715
(406)586-8175

homepage: homepage: http://www.wildfireinfo.org
phone: phone: (406)586-8175
address: address: 40 E. Main, Suite 2, Bozeman, MT 59715

My comment--cut and paste as you will! 05.Dec.2001 16:27

me

Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth
c/o Forest Service Northern Region
Public and Governmental Relations
P.O. Box 7669, Missoula, MT 59807
EMAIL:  emc@fs.fed.us
FAX: 202-205-8517
Dec 5, 2001
Dear Mr. Bosworth,



I ask that you withdraw your request that Department of Agriculture Under-Secretary Mark Rey sign the Record of Decision
on the Bitterroot Burn Area Recovery Plan. I also ask that you not circumvent the Forest Service appeals process on this project or any others.

I have not filed a comment on this plan, because I had faith that the process of decision-making would go on as it always has and I trusted that some of the 4000 people and groups that have sent in their comments will draft appeals, that they have done their homework, and that justice will prevail regarding this plan. This plan is especially of significance to me, as it will threaten the integrity of 17,000 acres of un-inventoried wild roadless areas, log in watersheds for endangered Bull Trout and Westslope Cutthroat, log 181 million board feet in around 46,000 acres. This is more than has been logged in the Bitterroot in the last 15 years. I can only assume that your agency is taking advantage of the current political climate to once-and-for-all, "get the cut out", in a bold unabashed move to circumvent public appeals now and forever, allowing your agency carte blanche with public lands.

To circumvent public appeals in the middle of a process that is well-established, can only be construed as a plot by your agency to avoid justice, possibly because there are good points being made in the comments to date, and the changes that must be made in order to avoid winning appeals are against your agency's best interests. I urge you to consider the best interests of the users of the public lands that your agency stewards, and to remember that these lands are held in public trust. This means the public must retain the right to comment and appeal timber sales that might threaten the integrity of the ecosystems they affect. This right is inherent, and should not be prohibited by lack of funds to file lawsuits against your agency when better decision-making on your part may be in order.

This request, and Mark Rey's compliance with it, would clearly violate the Appeals Reform Act.

The sale in question is already of a massive scale, one which should not proceed due to the scientifially documented risks to much smaller areas of sever environmental damage caused by post-fire logging. (Please consider this last to be my comment on the sale itself and respond to this comment in writing in a timely manner.)

Please withdraw your request for Mark Rey to sign the ROD for this Bitterroot "recovery" plan, and comply with the law.

I enjoy the remaining forests of Montana, and would like to see them remain intact for future generations to enjoy as well. This "recovery" project and the destruction of the public appeals process can only mean future generations will never see the wildlands of Montana.

I expect your timely reply.

Sincerely,