Northwest NEWS

March 15, 1999

Editorial

Hold legislators responsible for commitment to the environment

   Ten million acres of Washington forests are in grave danger. SB-5896/HB-2091 would allow the timber industry to determine how all of the forest land not owned by the federal government will be managed for the next 50 years.

   These bills would even give timber companies exceptions from the rule prohibiting the harming or killing of endangered species. Under this legislation, the timber companies, using their scientists, would be responsible for the studying of effects of their logging on the environment, including the disappearing salmon.

   The timber industry would then be responsible for making changes in policies to protect the environment. The timber companies would also be given a permanent 20 percent tax break under this legislation, saving the timber industry an estimated $14 million to $18 million per year.

   The most alarming aspect of this bill is that it overrides the Forest Practice Board's ability to make rules and consider public, environmental, and scientific information.

   Many state legislators were elected last November because of their strong commitment to protect the environment. To be true to their word, they need to fight this legislation. Hold your legislators responsible for their actions.

Jeffrey P. Lucas, Redmond