By STEVE BROWN
May 21, 2012
LONGVIEW, Wash. — Farmers and foresters were ready to voice their concerns in the hours before the congressional field hearing by the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands was convened May 21.
The Endangered Species Act has had a direct impact on farmers near forestlands, Jim Murphy, a small forestland owner in Chehalis, Wash., told the Capital Press before the hearing began.
The inability to harvest timber on private land and on federal land has driven elk herds to lower elevations in search of food, he said. The federal focus on old growth forests is leading more elk herds to farmland to graze.
Subcommittee chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., convened the hearing to examine how federal administering of the Northwest Forest Plan and Endangered Species Act has affected local economies, forest health and the Northern spotted owl.
In 1990, the Northern spotted owl was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and the Northwest federal forest management regime was established. The Northwest Forest Plan has proven to be been a failure, Hastings said in an earlier news release.
Now the White House has released a new critical habitat proposal for the owl. It would prohibit economic development in huge portions of Washington, Oregon and California.
“The Obama administration’s proposed Northwest recovery plan would increase burdensome regulations, cost thousands of jobs and place more public land off-limits, all while failing to address the spotted owl’s top predator — the barred owl,” Hastings said. “I look forward to hearing from expert witnesses on how we can replace this flawed plan with one that will not only protect the spotted owl, but will also protect private property and help restore active forest management so that local communities can prosper and forest health can be restored.”
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, whose district covers southwestern Washington, said, “I’m grateful to Chairman Hastings and the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee for hosting this hearing in a region that believes responsible forest management and sustainable, family-wage jobs can go together. I look forward to hearing from experts and local community stakeholders about the need for a better, more science-based approach to managing our forests.”
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please visit today.