Bush Vows to Review Policy Curbs on Logging

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Republican Presidental Nominee Said he Would Involve All Parties in Land Management Decisions

George Bush promised to review all Clinton administration policies that limit logging and other uses of federal land. The Republican presidential nominee also criticized the Democratic administration for trying to preserve roadless areas of national forests through regulations and executive orders that Bush said do not take into account the desires of localities.

“I’m going to look at every single executive order,” Bush said in an interview with reporters following a campaign rally in Portland, Ore.

The Republican has criticized President Clinton for fast-tracking regulations aimed at preventing construction of logging roads on about 43 million acres of national forests. He also has denounced executive orders declaring national monuments on about 3.5 million acres of public land.

I would not have acted unilaterally, and I would have kept in mind good land-management policies,” said Bush. “I believe the environment and industry can be balanced in a proper way.”

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Bush would not say whether he thought that declining timber harvests on public lands had exacerbated Western wildfires. However, he said that he wanted to ensure that federal lands are “harvested properly and cleansed properly to prevent not only fire, but disease as well.”

Rep. Greg Welden, R-Ore., said he believed that Bush would change forest regulations to allow bigger timber harvests. The Republican would balance a range of interests, he said.

David Chai, a spokesman for the campaign of Vice Presidential Al Gore, the Democratic presidential nominee, said that Bush’s policies would result in a return of the “old guard of the 1980s” and over-cutting on national forests.

The timber industry has contributed more than $1.3 million in large donations to the Republican Party — so-called “soft money” — to aid the Bush campaign. Much of the money was raised when he met with timber executives in Portland last spring.