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GARDNER LAUDS MOVEMENT ON OLD-GROWTH FORESTS ISSUE

 GARDNER LAUDS MOVEMENT ON OLD-GROWTH FORESTS ISSUE
 OLYMPIA, Wash., June 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Gov. Booth Gardner today expressed support for a proposed Congressional compromise that would break the deadlock over managing the Pacific Northwest's remaining old-growth forests while protecting endangered species.
 Although Gardner said the bill, approved 27-15 by the House Agriculture Committee Thursday, is not perfect, it does represent a long-term solution to the timber versus jobs debate and the first forward movement since a court battle began three years ago.
 "The alternative to this bill -- no action -- is much worse," Gardner said. "It would leave resolution to this issue to the administration, which has bungled it at every turn and has virtually abdicated its authority to the courts."
 The bill allows timber harvesting to resume while protecting the most significant old-growth forests and the ecosystems and species they support, including the northern spotted owl and anadromous fish. The bill also would retrain dislocated forest workers, help hard-hit timber towns diversify into other industries and provide financial assistance to maintain community stability during a period of transition.
 Gardner said he favors the more comprehensive ecosystem approach proposed by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. But he said the compromise hammered out by the House Agriculture Committee still can be improved as the bill works its way through other Congressional committees.
 "The important thing here is the bill would save 5,000 timber jobs while ensuring recovery of the northern spotted owl and preservation of the last of our old-growth forests," Gardner said.
 Gardner said he put in a supportive call to Congressman Sid Morrison, who sits on the House Agriculture Committee and played a key role in passing the legislation out of the committee.
 Gardner also thanked House Speaker Tom Foley for his efforts to guide Congress toward a solution that takes this issue out of the courts. He said he hopes this movement by the House will encourage Senators Brock Adams and Slade Gorton to move to the middle and work together to pass similar legislation in the Senate.
 -0- 6/19/92
 /CONTACT: Mike Gowrylow of Washington State Governor's Office, 206-753-6790/ CO: Washington State Governor's Office ST: Washington IN: PAP SU: LEG


JH-SC -- SE007 -- 2132 06/19/92 18:52 EDT
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Date:Jun 19, 1992
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