Department of Environmental Studies
The purpose of this project is to inform the reader of the actions, and the intent of those actions, which took place both before and after President Clinton signed the salvage logging rider into law on July 27, 1995. the salvage law is an unprecedented piece of legislation which effectively relieves salvage timber sales from compliance with environmental regulations, forest plan guidelines, and established timber sale procedures as they directly relate to salvage timber sales through December 31, 1996. The purpose behind such a proposal was initially indicated as necessary to combat degraded forest health conditions which were purported to be prevalent throughout our national forests. As you will see this is no longer the case. Chapter 1 looks into the Congressional hearings which set the stage for the passage of the salvage logging rider. This chapter intends to shed light upon the impetus behind the formulation of the proposed legislation. Chapter 2 reviews the salvage law itself; Section 2001, of Public Law 104-19. This chapter highlights the effect the law has had upon salvage sale regulations and procedures as well as pinpoints the more controversial subsections within the law. Reaction from personal interviews with individuals within government land management agencies and environmental organizations supplement the information. Chapter 3 looks at what government agencies call compliance with the law and what environmentalists are calling abuse of the law as well as abuse upon our national forest lands. Highlighted are cases where violations of environmental regulations and forest plans appear to have taken place. Chapter 4 investigates past agency management of salvage timber sales before the passage of the salvage law. With a less than ideal past track record, environmentalists fear that agency management of national forest lands under the salvage law may mean the demise of several endangered species as well as the causation of irreparable damage to intact native ecosystems and threatened road less areas. Chapter 5 summarizes the array of political and government agency reaction to the passage of the salvage logging rider as well as the evolving methods both environmental organizations and private citizens are employing in fighting the lawless logging rider. It is intended that the reader become aware of the past and present situations that led to the passage of Section 2001 of Public Law 104-19 and where we currently now stand. This is not a comprehensive study of the entire environment surrounding this controversial piece of legislation but a summary and review of what it has done, what it is currently doing, and what the future may hold.