The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Bush proposals endanger trees

Several million acres of federal forest could be left unprotected if regulations introduced by former President Clinton are lifted by the Bush administration.

The forest protection plan, which bans road building in areas of federal forest that do not currently have roads, and also bans extraction of oil and lumber in 58.5 million acres of trees, was introduced on Jan 4, shortly before Bush’s inauguration.

Clinton strongly supports the plan, which he said will protect trees. “From the Appalachian to the Sierra Nevada forest, land in 38 states will be preserved in all its splendor, off limits to road building and logging that would destroy its timeless beauty.”

Many Republican lawmakers, specifically those from Western states, along with timber, energy and mining industries, disapprove of the plan. Many of the complaints stem from the fact that the plan prevents the development of larger reserves of natural gas and other resources.

U.S. Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, referred to the plan as, “one of the most egregious abuses by the Clinton administration.”

Republican Sen. Frank Murkowski of Alaska said the plan was “fatally flawed” and would probably be overturned by the courts.
As a result, the Bush administration took efforts to put the plan on hold. It is now undergoing a 60-day review by administration officials, which effectively delayed the implementation of the plan from March 13 to May 12.

There is also a possibility that the forest plan could be voted on by Congress, using the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. The act, which has never been used, permits a regulation to be voted on by Congress if it is deemed that its impact on the economy exceeds $100 million per year.
President Bush could then kill the plan, if both the House and the Senate vote against it.

Guilford senior Alissa Fogg, environmental studies major and co-president of Forevergreen noted, “It is a difficult debate. The logging industry employs a large number of people, but cutting down trees in our nation’s forests endangers the biodiversity of the environment. What the Bush administrations needs to do is develop alternative sustainable industries to reduce unemployment.”

Fogg is not alone in her support of the plan. It received 1.7 million letters of support from the public, a record-breaking amount, suggesting that removal of the plan could prove to be a very risky political move for Bush.

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