From the open publishing newswire: Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are now finalizing the Omnibus spending bill for all federal agencies for the 2003 fiscal year. In last minute, closed-door meetings the committee members are considering a number of bad forest riders. Calls are urgently needed tomorrow, Monday, because the Appropriations Conference Committee members will be finalizing the language in the bill Monday evening. The full Congress is expected to vote on the bill on Wednesday. If passed, the bill would: |
1) Permanently authorize stewardship contracting and goods for services authorities. This rider would authorize an unlimited amount of stewardship contracts over the next ten years and be expanded to include all BLM lands.
2) Exempt the Tongass from the landmark "roadless rule" intended to preserve millions of acres of unspoiled wildlands in America's national forests. Attempts to reverse it, yet the Bush Administration is planning more than 40 large industrial timber sales for Tongass roadless areas.
3) Allow the timber industry to log as many trees as it wants and wherever it wants in the Tongass National Forest, including even the largest and most ancient trees and in critical wildlife habitat areas. Not only would this devastate the Tongass ecosystem, it would greatly increase taxpayer subsidies to timber companies.
4) Prevent environmentalists from challenging in court Forest Service decisions limiting wilderness protection status for parts of the Tongass National Forest.
[ Details and phone numbers ]