Green Watch – June 2001

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Green Watch for June 2001 TimberLine

Environmentalists opposed to logging planned for a tract of Boise Cascade land on Grayback Mountain in Oregon sabotaged a road leading to the site. A group calling itself the Kangeroo Wilderness Defense said it removed a culvert five feet in diameter on the road, leaving a deep trench. They also fortified a gate to another road.

The group is committed to non-violence to stop clear-cutting on the mountain, said spokeswoman Lorraine Ashton.

• The Natural Resources Council of Maine launched a new campaign aimed at embarrassing larger timber companies. The group wants the companies to undergo audits of their forestry practices by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The Council, Maine’s largest environmental group, took out full-page newspaper ads that praised two companies for participating in the Forest Stewardship Council certification process and criticizing 10 companies that have not.

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Many timber companies in Maine say they harvest sustainably, but the public has no way of knowing whether this is true because the corporations will not submit to FSC reviews, said Cathy Johnson, a council spokeswoman.

She criticized the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, a certification program sponsored by the American Forest & Paper Association.

• Interior Secretary Gale Norton is planning to scuttle a Clinton administration initiative to reintroduce grizzly bears into remote areas of Idaho and Montana, according to a published report. Norton is ready to defer to state officials and frightened residents who have fought to keep the bears away from their rural communities.

The policy shift on a contentious issue in the West reflects Norton’s determination to cooperate with Governors like Idaho Republican Dirk Kempthorne.

Many Westerners have complained bitterly that Clinton’s environmental initiatives were at their expense. Western states voted overwhelmingly for Bush.

• Environmentalists filed a lawsuit contending the Gila National Forest allowed livestock grazing that harms the forest’s natural resources. The lawsuit, filed by the Forest Guardians in federal court in Santa Fe, N.M., claims that Forest Service biologists know the grazing degrades the environment.

Grazing on the 25,000-acre Cooper Creek area harms streams, watersheds and wildlife, according to the lawsuit.

• A dispute over old-growth trees in the Lake Tahoe Basin is pitting environmentalists against Nevada property owners who say the trees are theirs to do with as they please.

Forests around the lake are 100 to 120 years old; many pose fire dangers because stands are thick and littered with dead vegetation.

Officials have been trying to find a way to protect portions of the basin’s forest lands by keeping large trees from being felled and thinning some smaller trees. An interim ordinance prohibits the removal of trees 30 inches or more in diameter, with exceptions.