THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE NINTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION TO FORCE ADDITIONAL SALES OF OLD GROWTH TIMBER
I am deeply disappointed in the court's decision to force the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to release these sales of healthy ancient timber.
My Administration's agreement with the Congress on this issue was significantly different from the interpretation upheld this week by the courts. We agreed that the Administration would not have to violate our standards and guidelines for our Forest Plan and for forest management in general, but only speed up sales that met those standards. We do not believe that this extreme expansion of ancient timber sales was authorized by the 1995 Rescission Act.
My Administration will actively pursue a legislative remedy to correct this extreme result.
At this time, however, there is no choice but to comply with the court's decision. The decision forces the release of timber that may lead to grave environmental injury to chinook salmon and other wildlife, and damage our rivers and streams. This could jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of people who depend on the Pacific Northwest's vibrant commercial and sport fisheries.
I have directed the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to work with the companies awarded contracts to seek changes to mitigate any harm to salmon and other species and water quality.
In signing the rescission legislation and in subsequent directives to my cabinet, I pledged to uphold existing environmental laws and standards. I will continue to fight for those laws and standards.