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AMERICAN FOREST COUNCIL RESPONDS TO THREATENED LAWSUITS AGAINST PRIVATE LANDOWNERS

 AMERICAN FOREST COUNCIL RESPONDS TO THREATENED LAWSUITS
 AGAINST PRIVATE LANDOWNERS
 PORTLAND, Ore., March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement was issued today by American Forest Council (AFC) President Larry Wiseman in response to threatened lawsuits against private forestland owners in Oregon:
 "The controversy surrounding the future of forestry is entering a new and much more dangerous phase, as special interest litigators are beginning to expand their focus to include not only public lands, but private property as well.
 "Threatened lawsuits by the so-called Forest Conservation Council and another group calling itself the 'Headwaters' are taking direct aim at constitutionally protected private property rights.
 "Certainly, there are reasonable limitations to the 5th Amendment protections, but reforestation, forest management and right-of-way agreements are not injurious to either society or to the environment.
 "And yet, hundreds of private foresters in Oregon are being treated like common criminals just because they have committed the egregious crime of practicing sound forestry on their own land.
 "This blatant abuse of the Endangered Species Act -- using it as a club to deter timber harvesting -- should be seen as a direct threat against private forest landowners nationwide.
 "If these pressure groups and their well-paid attorneys are successful in Oregon, then a troubling precedent will have been established.
 "This is nothing less than a carefully calculated attempt to stop an economic activity that has been deemed by some environmental special interest groups to be politically incorrect. And the green smokescreen is just that -- a thinly veiled agenda -- calling for the introduction of judicial or further governmental restrictions on private lands to the detriment of landowners nationwide."
 -0- 3/4/92
 NOTE TO EDITORS: The Forest Conservation Council announced its intent to sue 194 Oregon landowners last November for alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act on their own lands. The legally required 60-day notice expired Jan. 26, and the pressure group can sue at any time.
 The Headwaters group provided the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) last week with a 60-day Notice of Intent to sue for right-of-way agreements between the agency and adjacent private landowners. The special interest contends that these agreements are subject to consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service, while the BLM contends it is legally bound to provide access to private foresters.
 /CONTACT: Kevin Brett, 503-222-7456, or Barry Polsky, 202-463-2467, both of the American Forest Council/ CO: American Forest Council ST: Oregon IN: PAP SU:


JH-SC -- SE007 -- 5018 03/04/92 14:14 EST
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Date:Mar 4, 1992
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