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28.5.04

"Healthy Forests" In Action

Neighborhood Wildfire Plans Spark Concerns

... For the last six months, Perrin has joined dozens of neighbors in drafting a wildfire protection plan for 14 neighborhoods along the upper Deschutes River, from Wickiup Reservoir to Sunriver.

The plan is a result of the Healthy Forest Initiative, passed by Congress last December, which empowers communities to help decide how public land should be managed.

... But there is some concern that as small communities create their own forest-management plans, a patchwork of localized plans could prove difficult to coordinate.


This sounds like some good coming out of Healthy Forests. Of course, the usefulness of this kind of community planning depends on whether HF gets fully funded, which might not happen.

It also seems that HF is having some "success" in the courtroom:

Tree Cutters Find Success Under New Forestry Law

Since December, when President Bush signed a new forestry law, the government has won 17 consecutive court cases favoring timber cutting over challenges by environmentalists.

Bush pushed for the law that sponsors named the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, saying it would reduce wildfires in national forests by thinning trees while also limiting appeals and environmental reviews of proposed timber sales.

... The court victories mark a turnabout from recent years, when environmentalists succeeded in delaying and halting logging projects the Bush administration and many Western lawmakers said could have removed the trees and underbrush fueling wildfires.


Unfortunately, the article isn't clear on the distinction between fuel reduction forestry projects and non-fuel reduction forestry. Presumably HF would only aid the former, and the government was winning most of those to begin with. So a streak of 17 victories alone doesn't tell us a whole lot. I'd want to see details of particular court cases that engaged the provisions of HF.

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