Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Forest Service slowly embraces Tester plan to log 10,000 acres a year for 10 years

One of the most contested parts of Sen. Jon Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act is the plan to log 10,000 acres a year for 10 years. When he testified on Tester's bill on Dec. 17, Agriculture Undersecretary Harris Sherman told a congressional subcommittee "the bill would create unrealistic expectations on the part of communities and forest products stakeholders that the agency would accomplish the quantity of mechanical treatments required." He also said the bill "in particular includes levels of mechanical treatment that are likely unachievable and perhaps unsustainable. The levels of mechanical treatment called for in the bill far exceed historic treatment levels on these forests." In a visit to Missoula Feb. 5, Tester acknowledged that demand was causing some "heartburn" in the U.S. Forest Service. But he insisted the agency needs to change how it manages timber. Now, the agency appears to be listening. On Feb. 24, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell told Congress he wanted "approximately 20 10-year stewardship contracts offered in targeted areas around the country that could provide a steady supply of forest products." He advocated "landscape-scale" projects developed "though multi-stakeholder collaborative planning" that sounded a lot like Tester's draft legislation. And on Saturday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack endorsed Tester's approach as a "pilot project."...read more

1 comment:

Tommy said...

Hmmmm . . . Let's see . . . jobs created through the use of a renewable natural resource . . . Who knew????