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Lewis & Clark Students Voice Opposition to Bush Forest Plan

Banner dropped at Lewis and Clark Environmental Symposium.
Lewis & Clark Students Voice Opposition to Bush Forest Plan
Lewis & Clark Students Voice Opposition to Bush Forest Plan
At approximately 5:00 pm on Tuesday, October 15, students at Lewis and Clark College dropped a 25-foot banner reading "Don't Blame Forest Fires: Logging Destroys Forests" in protest of proposed U.S. Forest Service policies that would accelerate logging on public land. Four students climbed to the roof of the Templeton Student Center and unfurled the banner after Department of Agriculture Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Merlin E. Bartz finished his presentation as a panelist at the college's annual Environmental Studies Symposium.

"We're here to say that we don't support increased extraction of the remaining old growth in America under the guise of fire prevention" stated Rob Hopkinson, a student protester. Julie Engle, another student, said that "The Forest Service needs to listen to its own scientists, who have found that increasing logging actually increases fire danger. The proposed logging increases will heighten the danger of catastrophic fire for ecosystems and people." Paul Saunders, a junior, said he was "outraged at the blatant attempts of my government to use this fire season as an excuse to increase the logging of old-growth timber, while completely removing all environmental regulations and mechanisms for public regulation. Ludicrous."

Since President Bush took office, the Forest Service has sought to undermine environmental regulations. Using this summer's fires as justification for policy changes, the timber industry, the administration, and pro-timber legislators have been moving for increased extraction from public lands. As part of a two-prong assault on environmental regulations, Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey has said that the Forest Service will use categorical exclusion of fire thinning timber sales to expedite logging. Categorical exclusion removes the requirement that the Forest Service examine such sales' environmental impact, and prevents citizens from appealing Forest Service decisions. Forest supervisors will also be able to change Forest Management Plans without public comment or review.

The other assault on public lands comes from timber-sympathetic legilators, specifically Rep. Greg Walden (D-OR) and Rep. Scott McInnis (R-CO), who recently introduced H.R. 5319 into the House. This bill would undermine the National Environmental Policy Act, and limit timelines for appeals and judicial review. H.R. 5319 passed the House Resources Committee last week and could see a vote in front of the House as soon as this week.
Thats nice... 16.Oct.2002 20:30

Trilox

I think that these idealistic young people would be better off doing something useful like clearing the English Ivy off the trees at Tryon Creek State Park...

Personally, I believe that 8 years of Clinton is partly to blame for a lot of the USFS land burning up in recent years. I think we need to keep fire roads open so they can fufill their purpose. At the same time, I would like to see all logging on USFS, BLM and State land stop immediately. There is more than enough private forest to cut to fufill our needs.

In my opinion USFS, BLM and the State need to be stewards of the land and nor rape artists that destroy wildlife habitat. This means thinning in various artificial Douglas Fir clone tree plantations and replanting Spruce, Hemlock, Cedar, Big Leaf Maple and Alder trees along with leaving some areas as meadows for deer and elk. As far as the Old Growth goes it should be hands off. Its our public land and its our forest.

Re: Thats nice 16.Oct.2002 21:49

LC kid 2

Ivy pulls do go on a L+C. There was one this last week, though it was in the ravine, where the ivy is more concentrated than at Tryon (the Tryon folks have been pulling pretty actively around the Nature Center and along a lot of the trails). I didn't participate in that one because I was leaving in 1/2 hour to go work with my lab partner on studying the effects of English Ivy on native ecosystems in Tryon. Trees in particular have been taken care of at Tryon as far as ivy.

As far as this event, I would be interested in hearing what you would have had us do instead to protect our national forests.

The DoA Under Secretary's assistant was there telling us that we had to cut old growth to protect the forests. He was calling on forest activists to get involved in the selection process earlier for foresting, and when a forest activist said "we try to be involved from the beginning" he had no response. When someone asked about the process of creating the HFI bill and how public participation was involved, since the DoA according to the assistant is the "People's Department," he said "I don't really know," and then "well, we involved the CEQ and the Department of the Interior." Real democratic. He said, "Well, we're a big improvement from our previous administration. I've been on the road the last 9 months talking to people like you." He's been giving speeches to us, but where's the public input, and does it get listened to?

We participate in public comment processes when they offer it to us. Activists work on convincing policymakers to not give away our land for logging. They have letter writings, promote calling policymakers, stage demonstrations, etc. Yet our land continues to be given away for paltry sums for logging. We don't feel there is a good reason for this (those claiming economics should have heard the economist's presentation, concluding that logging was bad for Oregon's economy in terms of average income and for our overall economy due to the far greater economic value we derive from recreation in forests compared to logging of forests). Yet logging continues. What else can people do? Trilox, should we give up and say "we still believe that we are right, but people aren't ready to believe us yet, so we should stop making noise?"

Trim Bush, not clearcut trees 17.Oct.2002 01:26

Gentle Greenie

The most environmentally friendly forestry policy: Trim the Bushes, Save the Trees!

re: that's nice 17.Oct.2002 08:45

kurtkabang

trilox, recently you've had some very good comments about water quality and evironmental sustainability. i think that's great! you can add some important value to what indymedia has to offer.

indymedia is set up to present news that isn't covered in mainstream media. it also provides a forum for an exchange of ideas. while i disagree with your opinions on abortion etc., i respect your right to have those opinions. it is not a place to make personal attacks or to tell people that you think they are wasting their time for engaging in things like banner drops.

i would LOVE to see more articles from you about the environment and water quality, news that isn't covered in depth in mainstream media. i also am a fisherman, and i've seen firsthand how our water quality has changed in the last several years. not many people write about those things here; it's a niche that needs to be filled at indymedia.

what indymedia doesn't need is reposts of mainstream press, or intentional flaming or trolling or mocking of others for their actions. we can disagree. if you want to write an article about, say, a sit-in at an abortion clinic, i'd love to see it and i would hope that the editors would put it on the front page. i'm simply asking you to work with indymedia rather than against it. you obviously think deeply about issues and have much to say about them. thank you for that.

oh one more thing 17.Oct.2002 09:24

kurtkabang

you're right, the clinton administration did have a devastating effect on our forests. he signed a bill containing the infamous salvage rider, tacked onto (by republicans) a relief package for oklahoma city bombing victims. the salvage rider allowed timber companies to rape our land in the name of "thinning" and "fire prevention". how awful that these politicians should use a relief package to force through a completely unrelated bill to line the pockets of the timber industry. from what i recently read, the clinton administration stated that that action (signing the bill) was the biggest mistake they made.

I know... 17.Oct.2002 11:42

Trilox

"the salvage rider allowed timber companies to rape our land in the name of "thinning" and "fire prevention"."

Yeah, if they would have thinned the forest and removed the slash like they were supposed to instead of clearcutting units there wouldn't have been so many fires...

Rock On, Student Activists! 17.Oct.2002 15:43

thistlewood

I was at that banner drop at LC and it was awesome! The whole audience clapped, in sign of support for the forest activist movement. I hope more students continue to do such great direct action, instead of just sitting around studying or pulling weeds. Keep it up, forest lovers!

some ideas 17.Oct.2002 19:21

heck

Was someone speaking at the event that does advocate current forest policy? What benefit tacticly motavated you to drop your banner at an event where everyone no doubt is aware of the dasterdly policies you speak of? This question isn't bieng asked in a spirit of hostility rather, from a firm desire to see our acts effect change.

Your banner looks nice. Would you like to be able to do cleaner letters and pictures as well?
What you'll need is a big wall, newspaper or a tarp, a large permanant marker or paint, your average shool projector, a projector copy with your black and white picture on it. Projector copies (clear plastic paper) are carried at all kinkos. Take a printout of your banner design. Ask a clerk to help you load the projector paper, and copy. Take the newspaper or tarp, and duct-tape it to your wall. Do the same with your banner material. Set your projector up at a far enough distance that the light encompaces your entire banner. Now trace, paint, and enjoy!

Hope that helps!
Heck

Good Action 18.Oct.2002 14:52

seedy

The panel was a discussion of whether or not we should log oldgrowth. The undersecretary of agriculture (the much hated Mark Rey) was supposed to be there. He sent his direct underling. Columbia Helicopters was also on the panel. The banner was to send a message to the panel speakers - not the audience. I think it was a very effective action. We need to send a continued message to the bush administration that we oppose their policies. The panel members got that message not only from the well-coordinated banner drop, but from the applause of the audience - the opposition of the majority of the audience (instead of just key members) to the Bush administration's policies would not have been clear to Rey's underling had not the banner drop/applause.

If a l.c. student had a choice between sending a message to a fairly high up guy in the bush administration or pulling ivy - I think they had far greater effect with their action than with that day of ivy pulling.

One note: The man speaking in the picture is not the Forest Service rep. He is actually a biologist who was speaking for the protection of old growth. So if you see him on the street, he is not the guy to boo and hiss at.