For comparative purposes (with DeFazio’s PNW Forest Legacy Act linked to in the previous post), as well as a general lesson in the gobbledy gook of environmental law, we present the text of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 [here].

January 28, 2008 | Leave a Comment | Topic:  Pacific Northwest Forest Legacy Act

SOS Forests has obtained a copy of the Pacific Northwest Forest Legacy Act: Discussion Draft.

Download the full text [here] (pdf format, 794 KB)

Note: you will need to reorient the pages in Adobe Reader with the tool bar menu command View>Rotate View>Counterclockwise.

I discussed the incipient PNW Forest Legacy Act [here], and that Congressman Peter DeFazio (D, OR) was preparing it. The discussion draft is slated to appear on a new website DeFazio has established [here]. The draft is not there yet, but SOS Forests has it and we link to it above.

My first impression is that there are many poorly worded sections, a few good ones, and a great deal missing. Overall, I am disappointed.

However, it is very early in the process. Peter DeFazio and the rest of Congress could use some assistance in modifying the PNWFLA so that it accomplishes the right goals while minimizing unintended consequences. Some clauses need to be dropped, some altered, and entirely new ones added. That’s the purpose of a discussion draft.

This is an opportunity to discuss and debate the mission of the US Forest Service and how the right mission might best be achieved, in the Pacific Northwest at any rate.

In future posts I will parse the discussion draft and offer constructive criticism, in the hopes that suggested modifications are adopted. I invite your participation in that effort. (Much of that group-thinking may occur in the Members Forum rather than here at SOS Forests. The Forum is the best place for multiple folks to jigger with legal language.)

As it stands right now, I would not support the legislation, but if it were modified in the right ways, I possibly could. More importantly, the debate/discussion could be the most productive aspect of the whole process, whether or not the bill gets passed.

We have been and shall be engaging in the debate/discussion. The PNW Forest Legacy Act is the next venue, and we are looking forward to the show.

January 26, 2008 | 6 Comments | Topic:  Pacific Northwest Forest Legacy Act

Congressman Peter DeFazio (D, OR) is preparing legislation he calls the Pacific Northwest Forest Legacy Act. A “draft discussion document” is slated to appear on a new website DeFazio has established [here].

Already on Defazio’s site there are “Frequently Asked Questions,” an outline of the Bill, and “volume estimates,” but the actual proposed draft Bill is not up yet.

The descriptive verbiage indicates that the Pacific Northwest Forest Legacy Act is, in part, an outgrowth of the Dec. 13, 2007 testimonies to the US Senate Energy & Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests [here]. SOS Forests has also posted previously on the political run-up to this legislation [here, and here].

Without the actual language, it is impossible to judge the current merits and demerits of the Pacific Northwest Legacy Act. Some of the descriptive verbiage that has been posted is encouraging; other is not. In some parts the verbiage appears to be self-contradictory. But in any case, it is the actual legal language of the legislation that must be debated, adjusted, refined, and finalized.

There is no substantial reason to be in favor or opposed to the Pacific Northwest Forest Legacy Act at this time. Even if the draft doc was available, no doubt there’s a lot more sausage-making yet to go. But it does seem to have some potential value, if only to bring forest issues to the forefront.

SOS Forests will be tracking the PNWFLA very closely. We have even created a special category. Expect updates and analyses right here as this process unfurls.

January 23, 2008 | Leave a Comment | Topic:  Pacific Northwest Forest Legacy Act

Congressman Peter DeFazio (D, OR) of the 4th Congressional District (where I live) has sent me personally (along with a few hundred thousand other people at taxpayers expense) a mailer with a statement about federal forests. I post it here in full:

I opposed former President Clinton’s Northwest Forest Plan in 1994. I was convinced it would not provide certainty in timber supply, and would not protect the small amount of remaining old growth. At that time, I proposed a compromise solution to provide a predictable supply of timber for local mills and protect the remaining old growth. However, my compromise was opposed by the timber industry and the environmental community.

Read more

January 2, 2008 | Leave a Comment | Topic:  Pacific Northwest Forest Legacy Act, Federal forest policy