TO: Michael Jackson, Mike Yost, Linda Blum, Harry Reeves
FROM: David Edelson, Louis Blumberg and Franir Hoover Waid
RE: Quincy Library Group
DATE: May 27, 1994
Our letter to President Clinton regarding the Ouincy Library Group proposal provoked a far stronger reaction from you than we had anticipated. We are writing to explain the letter and to make an effort at reconciliation.
The substantive concerns we expressed in the letter have all been expressed previously to you, both in person and in writing. To that extent, the letter should not have come as a surprise. On the other hand, our letter unfortunately failed to reflect the Quincy Library Group's recent efforts to address some of our concerns, particularly those regarding compliance with the CASPO decision and with NEPA. With respect to those issues, we may have erred in the tone of our objections as expressed in the Clinton letter.
Before discussing the substance of the letter in more detail, we should emphasize that our letter was a direct response to erroneous statements by OLG members that our organizations endorse the OLG proposal. These statements were reported to us independently by Forest Service, Congressional, and White House staff, after we contacted QLG members about their apparent misrepresentation of our position. Because, as the group understants, we have not endorsed the proposal yet, we felt it was important to set the record straight -- especially in light of such a high-profile meeting.
With respect to the substance of the OLG Proposal, we have been consistently frustrated by the Group's inability or unwillingness to further clarify the details of the proposal in writing. We are concerned not only about potection for roadless areas and old growth forests, but also about how logging would be carried out in the
unprotected areas. "Group selection" can cause as much, if not more, environmental damage than clearcutting or even-aged logging, if it is not properly limited. Particularly compared to the CASPO prescriptions -- which, as you know, protect all large trees and limit logging to smaller trees -- group selection does not seem environmentally benign. Yet the Quincy Library Group has either not yet come to agreement about, or failed to commit to writing, the critical details regarding how group selection would be carried out.
On the other hand, our letter to President Clinton overlooked the Group letter to us of March 30, which attempted to resolve some of our concerns about the proposals compliance with NEPA and with the CASPO decision, at least in the short term. It is essential that the commitments in that letter be incorporated into the formal description of the Quincy Library Group proposal, if we are to continue to move forward in resolving our differences. In addition, we continue to be concerned about reports that the QLG may attempt to circumvent the NEPA process by having the proposal adopted through another process, such as congressional appropriations. However, had we focused sufficiently on the March 30 letter, we would have changed the tone of our letter, if not the content. That was a mistake on our part, and for that we apologize.
We are already hearing from some local activists that this is an issue of the grassroots" versus the "nationals. However, that tired rhetoric is simply inaccurate. There are plenty of grassroots" folks who have expressed significant concerns about the Quincy Library Group proposal (see "A Grassroots Look at the Quincy Library Group, dated April 1994). It may benefit someone's political agenda to paint the nationals as the "bad guys but that characterization is both unfair and destructive to our shared long-range goals.
We appreciate the efforts that the Quincy Library Group has made to discuss the proposal with us and to address our concerns. We sincerely regret that our letter may have exacerbated the differences between us. We hope that we can have further discussions about these issues, and that we can refine the proposal so that it merits all of our support. we all share the same goal of healthy and Sustainable Sierra Nevada forest, and we look forward to continuing to work with you toward that goal.
cc: Andrea Lawrence