Shasta Alliance for Resources and Environment
1357A Hartnell Ave.
Redding, CA 96002


June 17, 1997

House considers Vote on Locally-Developed Plan To Reduce Forest Fire Hazard, Supply Area Mills

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote June 23 on legislation implementing the forest management program developed by the Quincy Library Group [QLG], perhaps the first significant beneficial change in forest policy in nearly 10 years.

Under the provisions of HR 858 by Congressman Wally Herger, a program developed locally by staunch environmentalists, concerned labor unions, local government officials and professional private foresters would greatly reduce fire risk, avoid activity in environmentally sensitive areas and roadless areas and provide a flow of timber to wood products mills critical to the economy of that area. The program deals with the Lassen and Plumas national Forests and the Sierraville District of the Tahoe National Forest.

Using natural boundaries such as ridges, streams, or existing roads a pattern of "green firebreaks" would be created through selective logging, thinning, and brush removal. (Green firebreaks are corridors in which the standing timber is thinned to reduce fuel and provide a place for firemen to stop a moving forest fire, but enough timber is left standing to maintain the basic forest appearance.) It would be implemented as a fire-year pilot program.

The program meets the criteria established by President Clinton at the Forest Summit in 1993 of meeting both environmental needs and economic needs, developed through discussions among diverse interests.

The bill's fuel break program is drawn from the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project sponsored by liberal Congressman George Miller; the riparian protection guidelines were composed by Dr. Jack Ward Thomas, former Chief of the Forest Service in the Clinton Administration.

"The only opposition to the bill that we have heard deals with allowing responsible local citizens to influence forest management instead of keeping all decision making in Washington," SHARE Chairman Dave Rutledge said, "As fare as SHARE is concerned, that alone is enough to justify passing HR 858." Opposition to the plan comes primarily from Bay Area Congressman George Miller and The Wilderness Society.

Congressman Herger's staff told SHARE the bill passed the House Committee on Resources on a voice vote and could receive a floor vote as early as June 23. They have asked for letters of support to be sent to:

[various Reps. and Sens.]