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Proposed Forest Plan Gets Local Reaction

Opponents of the President´s proposed change in national forest policy are claiming the revision will open the door to “runaway logging.”

Central Sierra Environmental Resources Center Director John Buckley says it´s unfortunate that people are using the summer´s wildfires to make extreme comments at both ends of the spectrum.

Buckley says thinning isn´t the cure all solution to fire problems in the national forest.

“It is not true that thinning logging will solve all the problems of the forest or of risks to the wildland-urban interface,” he said Wednesday. “But thinning, combined with brush treatments, prescribed burning, combined with people pro-actively treating their private lands – all of that together can make a great difference.”

Some critics say the planned Bush administration announcement is only a political “feel good” move by the president in reaction to the devastating fires plaguing the western United States.

Buckley says Bush´s proposal will most likely take away the public appeals process on forest service thinning projects.

“We disagree that there´s a need to eliminate public appeals and the right for a citizen to sue when they think the forest service is not abiding by the law,” Buckley said.

Local Stanislaus National Forest Service officials were not available Wednesday afternoon for comment.

President Bush is expected to make the announcement in Oregon sometime Thursday.