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STATEMENT OF MICHAEL FISCHER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SIERRA CLUB REGARDING GOD SQUAD DECISION, SPOTTED OWL PLAN, LUJAN TASK FORCE

 STATEMENT OF MICHAEL FISCHER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SIERRA CLUB
 REGARDING GOD SQUAD DECISION, SPOTTED OWL PLAN, LUJAN TASK FORCE
 SAN FRANCISCO, May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Following is a statement released today by Sierra Club Executive Director, Michael Fischer:
 Today's decision by the God Squad is an embarrassing setback for the Bush Administration. Clearly, the committee didn't have the votes to exempt all 44 timber sales as the Bush Administration wanted. This decision is not a victory for environmentalists, the owl or the timer communities dependent upon the forests; when you are talking about the destruction of an ecosystem and the subsequent extinction of a species, there are no winners.
 The convening of the God Squad has been an attempt by the Bush Administration and Senator Bob Packwood to polarize the issue further, giving false expectations to timber communities in the region. Exempting these timber sales from the Endangered Species Act is not in the national interest; in fact, it was opposed by the nation's top environmental regulator, William Reilly, and the member on the committee who was specifically appointed to represent the state of Oregon. Stopping just a few timber export boats from leaving American docks would have a bigger impact on preserving American jobs than this transparent election-year ploy.
 The Bush Administration's spotted owl proposal is telling the ancient forests to drop dead. Destroying an animal's habitat is the surest way to drive it to extinction, no matter how many gimmicks you invent. Hoping the spotted owls will just live somewhere else is like asking the people living in the ghetto to just move to the suburbs to solve our nation's urban problems.
 It's a sad occasion when, just days before he attends the Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro, the president flagrantly promotes the wholesale destruction of America's last ancient forest ecosystem. The Bush administration's message is loud and clear: we don't give a damn about environmental protection in this country or abroad.
 Much as the Bush Administration would like us to believe otherwise, this is not a battle between an owl and timber workers; it is a battle between wise forest management and forest abuse. The Bush Administration's proposal is a rash, short-sighted plan that would sacrifice the health of an ecosystem and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it sustains for a few more years of profits for the timber industry.
 Working people will lose their jobs if we destroy the ancient forests. When the forests go, so will the timber jobs, whether it's today or a few years down the pike. When the forest go, so will the jobs of the fishermen who depend on cold, clear streams to nurture the salmon runs.
 This is election-year forest alchemy of the worst kind. In the Pacific Northwest, the Endangered Species Act has operated effectively as a warning signal that our forests are in trouble. Dismantling the Endangered Species Act is like taking the batteries out of the smoke alarm because you don't like the sound it is making.
 -0- 5/14/92
 /CONTACT: Roni Lieberman, 202-675-7903; or Paul Larmer, 415-923-5526, both of Sierra Club/ CO: Sierra Club ST: California IN: PAP SU:


RM -- SF010 -- 0366 05/14/92 15:38 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 14, 1992
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