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Scientists “Comfortable” With Doubled Logging

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Forest Service scientists analyzing a plan to double logging in the Sierra Nevada as a way to reduce fire threats have found nothing so far to indicate it would harm wildlife.

The Forest Service is expected to soon make public a preliminary environmental review of a proposal which is supported by regional forester Jack Blackwell. In March, Blackwell embraced recommendations to more than double the logging allowed under a Sierra Nevada protection plan adopted under President Clinton in 2001. Environmentalists who supported the Clinton version have accused the Bush administration of trying to roll back the protections as a way to provide bigger trees to the timber industry under the guise of reducing wildfire threats.

The Forest Service has refused talk about the pending environmental impact statement in detail. But, a spokesman in Vallejo says agency officials remain “comfortable” with the prospects of using the increased logging as a way to meet the dual objective of easing fire threats and protecting wildlife.