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GOV. GARDNER URGES JUDGE DWYER NOT TO ENJOIN FEDERAL TIMBER SALES; SAYS SURVIVAL OF RURAL FOREST PRODUCTS INDUSTRY AT STAKE

GOV. GARDNER URGES JUDGE DWYER NOT TO ENJOIN FEDERAL TIMBER SALES;
 SAYS SURVIVAL OF RURAL FOREST PRODUCTS INDUSTRY AT STAKE
 OLYMPIA, Wash., May 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Gov. Booth Gardner today urged U.S. District Judge William Dwyer to allow federal sales of Pacific Northwest timber while the U.S. Forest Service revises its plan for protection of the northern spotted owl and associated ecological systems, the Governor's Office said.
 Dwyer ruled yesterday that a revised plan by the U.S. Forest Service still fails to protect the northern spotted owl and other old- growth species.
 Continuing the injunctions will devastate rural communities in the state, Gardner said. "After 15 months of injunctions, the domestic processing industry is at the point where it cannot survive without some federal timber sales."
 Dwyer halted sales of Northwest old-growth timber in May 1991 when he ruled that the U.S. Forest Service's first owl protection plan was inadequate. That injunction expired in March, but the Forest Service has continued to observe it pending Dwyer's ruling on its revised plan.
 Gardner urged Dwyer to allow timber sales to go forward under the Thomas plan while mandating that the Forest Service go through the public process of reviewing impacts on other species. The Thomas plan reduced timber sales by more than 60 percent from recent levels to protect the owl and associated ecological systems. If the plan were implemented, only 2,000 acres of the Forest Service's 1.74 million acres of old-growth timber in Washington state would be cut over the next 12 months, but it would save 7,620 direct and indirect jobs.
 "Environmentalists need to be sensitive to the needs of rural communities and forest products workers," Gardner said. "Asking for another year of injunctions will lead to the demise of the domestic processing industry. We want to preserve thousands of jobs in rural areas during a difficult period of transition."
 In a related area, Gardner criticized the Bush Administration for letting its "God Squad" allow old-growth timber sales to go forward on Bureau of Land Management lands in Oregon. Dwyer cited that decision as one of the factors that led him to declare the entire Thomas plan inadequate.
 "The decision by the God Squad appears to be politically motivated," Gardner said. "As a result, the welfare of rural communities in the entire Pacific Northwest is put at risk."
 Congress needs to act quickly to pass a long-term solution to the old-growth issue, Gardner said, ideally through negotiation of a comprehensive forest management plan like the one proposed by Congressman Peter DeFazio of Oregon.
 Gardner said the Dwyer decision provides more evidence that the Bush Administration needs to increase restrictions on exports of logs harvested from state lands to 100 percent to help offset the decline in federal timber sales, saving another 1,100 jobs that otherwise would be lost.
 -0- 5/29/92
 /CONTACT: Rich Nafziger of the Governor's Timber Team, 206-586-4046; or Mike Gowrylow of the Washington State Governor's Office, 206-753-6790/ CO: Washington State Governor's Office ST: Washington, Oregon IN: PAP SU: LEG


SC -- SE009 -- 5279 05/29/92 15:20 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 29, 1992
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