The Hororable Helen Chenoweth
Chairman, Subcommittee on Forests
and Forest Health
Washington, DC 20515 March 21, 1997

Dear Madame Chairman:

I am writing in response to your 3/19/97 request for clarifications regarding HR 858, the Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery and Economic Stability Act of 1997. Specifically, I wish to reply to the three questions you have asked me.

*Question #1 -- Which sections of the QLG Agreement will be implemented in HR 858?

As you have indicated, HR 858 would authorize certain parts of our 1993 agreement, but not the entire proposal. This bill would:

(1) codify our proposed landbase allocations (land available for group selection) for the term of the pilot project;

(2) authorize our proposed silvicultural systems thinning prescriptions within fuelbreaks consistent with CASPO, group selection elsewhere, as funds will allow); and

(3) require an analysis of our proposals within a formal Land Management Plan revision/amendment.

Other portions of our agreement are not included within HR 858, such as the Sustained Yield Unit analysis and review accelerated watershed restoration, and expanded efforts to monitor results. This bill would not institute a Sustained Yield Unit.

*Question #2 -- How does HR 858 comply with existing Forest Plans and the SNEP report?

As both Michael Jackson and I stated in our oral testimony at the 3/5/97 Subcommittee hearing on this bill, we believe that the activities authorized within HR 858 are in complete compliance with the existing Forest Plans. We base this on the fact that our proposed landbase and silvicultural prescriptions were both analyzed and found to be the environmentally-preferred alternative for these Forest Plans. This was reinforced by statements of both Forest Supervisors who also testified at this hearing.

As for the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project (SNEP), the recommendations made by this team of scientists for reducing fuels risks in the Sierra Nevada were modeled directly from our QLG agreement. These SNEP recommendations (reference Vol. I, Chap. 4; Vol. II, Chap. 12, 13, & 15; Vol. III, Chap. 19 & 23 of the SNEP report) were based on our proposals and are now incorporated within HR 858. As such, it is accurate to say that the SNEP scientists (whose original charter was authorized by the House Committee on Resources) have recommended methods to deal with the current fire/fuels risks that are entirely compatible with HR 858.

*Question #3 -- Does HR 858 override existing laws designed to achieve environmental protection and will this bill allow a "loophole" to allow logging in unroaded areas with old growth timber or critical wildlife areas?

The Quincy Library Group believes that Forest Service will obey all applicable laws and policies at all times. We intend to hold them accountable and expect other interests to do the same. We do not believe that HR 858 allows harvest on "ancient forests" or any other land made unavailable by our proposal, even in the case of catastrophic events. It does allow potential harvest within the lands available for group selection (which would be off limits otherwise because of spotted owl habitat) but only under stronger environmental requirements than existing law and only if the Secretary of Agriculture determines that such harvest will provide net environmental benefits.

I hope that this helps answer the questions from Congressman Herger. If I can be of further assistance, please contact me at your convenience.


Tom Nelson


03/09/97 09:54:19 PM