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Please distribute widely...

Join the Demonstration to


May 19,2000
Forest Service Headquarters
Warren, PA

On May 19, we will demonstrate to the Forest Service what poll after poll has shown: Americans want commercial logging on our national forests to end.

Please join us May 19 at 11:00am outside the Forest Service headquarters at 222 Liberty Street in Warren, PA. Come dressed as your favorite forest critter (or as yourself) and bring music-making devices.

For more information, contact the Allegheny Defense Project at (814) 223-4996 or adp@envirolink.org

The Forest Service plans to:

Log 8,666 acres of our public lands

Clearcut over 3,000 acres of our trees

Spray almost 3,500 acres of the Forest with toxic herbicides

Reconstruct almost 125 miles of roads

In all, this timber sale will put 66 million board feet of publicly-owned trees on over 25,000 private log trucks

Date: Mon, 08 May 2000 09:49:15 -0400
Subject: U.S. Forest Service Plans the Largest Timber Sale in the Eastern U.S.!
From: "Jim Kleissler"

May 8, 2000

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jim Kleissler, (814) 223-4996

U.S. Forest Service Plans the Largest Timber Sale in the Eastern U.S.!

Citizen Groups Speak Out in Opposition to the East Side Timber Sale

Three years ago, a Federal Court in Pittsburgh threw out the Forest Service's 5,000-acre "Mortality II" logging plan calling it "arbitrary and capricious." The Forest Service recently re-released their plan which now calls for 8,666 acres of logging in the Allegheny National Forest.

The East Side Timber Sale (formerly known as "Mortality II") calls for 66 million board feet of logging and includes over 3,000 acres of clearcuts, 3,493 acres of herbicide use, and close to 125 miles of road construction work on Pennsylvania's only national forest - the Allegheny.

As with the Mortality II Timber Sale, citizen groups have rallied in opposition to the giant timber cutting plan. Among the group's concerns is proposed logging that could affect an area of old growth forest that makes up the Tionesta Research Natural Area, a National Natural Landmark described by the Forest Service as "one of the most valuable old-growth remnants in the eastern U.S." The groups also claim that logging will fragment the habitat of endangered species while hampering forest-based recreation opportunities.

"The Allegheny National Forest is a unique example of why National Forests are treasures that need to be protected for generations to come." explains Alison Cochran, Executive Director of Heartwood, an 18-state forest protection organization based in Bloomington, Indiana. "National Forests are at a critical juncture, as are all natural forests, worldwide. The East Side Timber Sale threatens to harm forests, wilderness trout streams, endangered species habitat, and key recreation spots. What more needs to be said? The Forest Service should abandon the East Side Timber Sale.""

The groups say that the Forest Service lacks an adequate Management Plan for protecting the habitat of threatened and endangered species. They claim that a Draft Plan recently released by the Forest Service for public review fails to incorporate important provisions mandated under the Endangered Species Act.

"The Forest Service wants to use our national forest as a commercial tree farm solely for the benefit of the timber industry," explains Jim Kleissler, an original founder of the Clarion, PA based citizen group Allegheny Defense Project. The Allegheny Defense Project, along with Heartwood, led the initial fight against the East Side logging plan. "The East Side Timber Sale disregards threatened and endangered wildlife by logging directly up to old growth forest and cutting areas previously planned for protection as old growth. The East Side logging plan fails to incorporate important provisions for protecting the habitat of the endangered Indiana bat and Clubshell and Northern riffleshell mussels."

Opponents of the large-scale timbering on the Allegheny National Forest argue that the Forest Service is intentionally manipulating the forest to promote commercially valuable trees such as the black cherry tree. Black cherry trees are used for high-quality veneer wood and furniture -selling for high amounts and often exported to Europe or Japan. Other uses of the forest, the groups say, are largely ignored in favor of timber. They note that more than 300 acres of proposed logging would occur at Crane Run, a wilderness trout stream specifically designated for remote fishing opportunities. Logging is also proposed along sections of the North Country Trail - a national scenic hiking trail.

"When they aren't exporting our wood to Europe the timber industry is chipping it up to make particleboard and paper," says Bill Belitskus, a member of the citizen-based Communities for Sustainable Forestry in Kane, PA. "Large outside corporations such as Willamette and Temple-Inland are demanding that unsustainable quantities of our forest be cut down to feed their mills."

The East Side Timber Sale, groups say, is a symptom of a larger problem on the Allegheny National Forest. The Forest Service, they say, manages the forest almost exclusively for clearcut logging at the tax-payers expense.

"There is no economic justification for logging our national forests. No economic analysis has been done, let alone an honest and fully-costed analysis of who benefits from logging, who pays the costs and how much," argues Robin Smith, A Regional Representative for the Native Forest Council. The Council, based in Eugene, Oregon, is one of the original organizations leading the charge for a zero-cut policy on our national forests. "This logging is just another corrupt and horrible government giveaway of already depleted national forest assets; publicly owned assets that produce our soil, air and water - life itself."

The East Side Timber sale is predominantly a "salvage" logging sale. This means that more than half (4,826 acres) of the cutting will consist of salvage logging.

"The Forest Service claims that salvage logging is going to protect the forest by cutting down the trees," says Steffany Yamada, an Allegheny College student and organizer with the Student Environmental Action Coalition - a national coalition of student organizations and individuals based in Philadelphia, PA. "This idea ignores the ecological significance of dead and dying trees which are important for forest health and wildlife habitat."

The Indiana bat, an endangered species which has been a source of controversy since its discovery on the forest in 1998, makes extensive use of large dead and dying trees. The Indiana bat targets these trees for roosting during the summer months, when they roost under the peeling bark or in cavities left in the trunk of the tree.

"Bat researchers discovered an important population of the endangered Indiana bat in the southeastern part of the forest," says Dr. Samuel P. Hays, Public Lands Chair for the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter. "The East Side Timber Sale threatens this important Indiana bat population by calling for over 500 acres of clearcut logging within the Mill Creek watershed."

The Forest Service argues in their summary for the East Side Timber Sale that "In order to foster sustainable forest management ä it is necessary to initiate regeneration harvests and reforestation treatments in mature stands now. The majority of these stands is in the initial stage of decline and is at risk to decline further."

Opposition groups, however, contend that the Forest Service argument conflicts with previous claims.

"Three years ago in Federal Court the Forest Service argued that if they did not cut these trees within the next two months they were all going to die and the opportunity to log them would disappear," says Rachel Martin, Outreach Coordinator for the Allegheny Defense Project. "Now they argue that they are in the initial stages of decline. The Forest Service is taking the public for fools."

The citizen groups claim that the Forest Service uses false and misleading information to further their goals.

In a May 1, 2000, statement in the Oil City Derrick, a Pennsylvania newspaper, Forest Service spokesperson Kathe Frank says that "When some people think of logging, they think we're going to leave the hillsides bare. That's not the way we do it. We do it piecemeal - a few acres here, a few acres there."

The East Side Timber Sale, however, calls for clear cut areas as large as 152 acres. In fact, the East Side Timber Sale calls for 23 clearcut areas larger than the 40 acre limit normally allowed by the National Forest Management Act of 1976.

The groups point to legislation currently before the U.S House of Representatives as their solution. The National Forest Protection and Restoration Act, they say, would end logging on the national forests while providing jobs in forest restoration work and saving taxpayer money.

"The logging program on our national forests costs taxpayers $1.2 billion each year," explains Kristen Sykes, Eastern Forests Advocate for the American Lands Alliance based in Washington, D.C. "We can do more to protect our national forests from devastating logging projects such as East Side."

"The East Side Timber Sale is the largest timber sale in the east. The Forest Service plans to cut enough trees to fill more than 20,000 log truck loads of publicly owned trees," says Susan Curry, the Eastern Field Organizer for the National Forest Protection Alliance. The Alliance has been working to end logging in all 155 of America's national forests. "We can protect the Allegheny National Forest by supporting the National Forest Protection and Restoration Act - a bill in the United State House. If we act today, we can enjoy the Alleghenies tomorrow."

Public comments on the East Side Timber Sale are being accepted by the Forest Service. Citizens can send their comments to: John Palmer, Forest Supervisor, Allegheny National Forest, P.O. Box 847, Warren, PA 16365. (814) 723-5150. jpalmer@fs.fed.us .

The Allegheny Defense Project has information on the East Side Timber Sale posted on their website at www.alleghenydefense.org.

The organizations joining in the statement are: o Allegheny Defense Project (Clarion, PA), o Heartwood, Inc. (Bloomington, IN) o Communities for Sustainable Forestry (Kane, PA); o Pennsylvania Environmental Network - Forestry Leadership Team (Clarion, PA); o Sierra Club - Pennsylvania Chapter (Harrisburg, PA) and Allegheny Group (Pittsburgh, PA); o Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC National Office: Philadelphia, PA); SEAC Mid-Atlantic Region (Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania) o National Forest Protection Alliance (Charlottesville, VA); and o American Lands Alliance (Washington, D.C.); o Native Forest Council (Eugene, OR).

Fact Sheets and additional quotes are available from the Allegheny Defense Project.

Jim Kleissler, Forest Watch Director
Allegheny Defense Project
P.O. Box 245
Clarion, PA 16214
(814) 223-4996
(814) 223-4997 (fax)


Last updated May 15, 2000