QLG Web Page Editor's Note: Links to relevant Quincy Library Group documents are provide for further information and clarification.

Link: Headwaters-- DC Updates (September 1997)

Quincy Library Group Bill: Danger for the Sierras and a Bad National Precedent

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) have now introduced a Senate version of the Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery and Economic Stability Act (S. 1028). This bill would institute a massive logging program of "fuel breaks" (ridgetop cuts 1/4 mile wide) on 2.5 million acres of National Forests in the northern Sierras (Plumas, Lassen, and Tahoe NFs). The mark-up of the bill is scheduled for late September, with a vote on the Senate Floor coming soon after. The House approved a similar bill (H.R. 858) in June.

Three existing Forest Plans would be overturned, substituting an untested fire hazard reduction program, beginning the day the bill is signed. Each year the Forest Service would be required to cut at least 40,000 acres of "fuel breaks" each year (that's 62 square miles per year!) and 10,000 acres of "group selection" cuts (small clearcuts). Financing for the long-term maintenance of the "fuel breaks" is not addressed. The Forest cutting levels will double, at least temporarily. It's a prescription for boom-and-bust, at the mills and the employment offices.

Unfortunately, a small "consensus group" called the Quincy Library Group (QLG) that claims to represent "the community" has vigorously lobbied in favor of the bill, and lawmakers have been lured into thinking timber town problems can get solved with "togetherness." Critics say that the Quincy Library Group is a pawn in the hands of right-wing Republicans Don Young (R-AK) and Helen Chenoweth (R-ID), both staunch supporters.

The largest timberland owner in the region, Sierra Pacific Industries, is a key member of the QLG. Their mills will have a near monopoly on bidding for the timber sale contracts.

In spite of massive opposition from the conservation community, Quincy Library Group "environmental" members Michael Jackson (a local attorney) and Linda Blum (a long-time forest watch organizer, now on salary for the QLG) have not responded to many pleas from forest advocates they previously worked with. Jackson refused to attend a June meeting with concerned activists from Northern California after the Group suddenly terminated negotiations over an administrative alternative. The bill is now being vigorously opposed by all twenty grassroots and regional groups in the Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign, a project of the California Ancient Forest Alliance.

The effect of the QLG Bill has been to further discredit the movement to establish "collaborative" or "consensus" groups (with all the players at the table), because it is more obvious than ever that these can be dominated and co-opted. To the best of our knowledge, the other established consensus groups, including the Applegate Partnership, the Shasta-Tehema Bioregional Group, the Siskiyou Forest Management Roundtable and the Trinity Bioregional Group, have taken no official position on the proposed QLG Bill.

The Western Ancient Forest Campaign sent a letter to the White House (signed by over 150 forest groups) urging them to take a stand against the bill, but the Administration gave general support at an August Senate hearing. One source said, "It's hard to oppose 'togetherness.'...The Quincy Library Group may have good intentions, but they are clearly being used."

What you can do: Call Senators Ron Wyden and Barbara Boxer asking them to oppose S. 1028, the Quincy Library Group Bill, and avoid a dangerous precedent of allowing local interests to replace existing Forest Plans without public and scientific scrutiny. (Call the D.C. Capitol Switchboard at 202/224-3121 or toll-free 888/723-5246.)