THE WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, August 3, 1993
CLINTON ADMINISTRATION ACTS TO MOVE TIMBER SALES Aims To Release Sales Now Under Injunction WASHINGTON -- Timber sales from more than two billion board
feet of forest now under injunction could be released for harvest this fall under an agreement announced today (8/3) by the Clinton Administration.
The agreement would allow sales to proceed if they are consistent with the forest management plan announced by the President and with existing environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act.
"We are committed to working to enhance the long-term economic and environmental health of the region. That commitment means a responsible forest management plan and a responsible but determined effort to get timber moving back into the mills," President Clinton said. "We have offered an innovative, comprehensive and balanced plan to solve a difficult set of problems. Now, we are taking steps to implement that plan and get timber to the mills."
The Administration, through Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, have reached an agreement with environmentalists who filed lawsuits during the Bush Administration that led to the injunctions that stopped logging in Pacific Northwest and northern California forests.
Lawyers from the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund who represent the 12 plaintiffs in the case still pending before Judge William Dwyer indicated in a letter to Babbitt and Espy that they are "committed to a process" that would identify timber sales that could be released from the current injunction. In their letter, the attorneys said they would not go to court to oppose efforts to release the sales. The Administration agreed it would oppose any Congressional efforts to change existing law between now and the time the plan is fully implemented at the end of the year.
"This is a solid agreement that reflects a good faith effort on the part of the President and on the environmental community to end the gridlock and move forward with a stable, defensible timber program as quickly as possible," said Secretary Babbitt.
Secretary Espy said, "This is a significant step forward in the process to fulfill the President's commitment to make timber available this year. The quicker we break the legal logjam the faster we can provide some economic stimulus to the region."
An intense review of the timber sales currently under injunction will begin now. Once sales are identified that are consistent with the President's proposed plan, the Administration will ask Judge Dwyer to release those sales from the injunction which currently bars any new sales in the range of the northern spotted owl. The environmentalists who brought the lawsuits, while they made it clear that they do not support the President's proposed forest management plan, agree not to oppose Administration efforts to identify sales and lift the injunctions.