1992 Scorecard Vote
America once had over 140 million acres of Ancient Forests; now only three to five million acres of these ancient trees, some of which are 1,000 years old, remain. Significant segments of the remaining Ancient Forests exist in the Pacific Northwest on publicly-owned lands. Bowing to the wishes of the timber industry, the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have plans to allow the logging of much of the remaining few million acres before the year 2000. Much of this publicly-owned land has been clearcut at the expense of American taxpayers as the timber sale costs are subsidized.
The Ancient Forests are a national treasure: they provide unique habitat for hundreds of wildlife species, protect watersheds, and help to absorb large quantities of carbon dioxide, which helps to slow global warming. The Ancient Forests also contain resources for medicine, such as the recently discovered cancer-treatment drug, taxol. Scientists are only beginning to understand the wealth of resources and knowledge to be gained from the Ancient Forests.
Representative Jim Jontz (D, IN-5) introduced legislation to designate appropriate areas in California, Oregon, and Washington as a National Ancient Forest Reserve System, which would protect significant Ancient Forest stands on federal lands in those states. The Ancient Forest Protection Act (H.R. 842) creates a network of ""associated forests"" to connect patches of Ancient Forests. The bill also guarantees that agency procedures taken in conflict with the Act could be appealed by citizens through the proper channels of judicial review.
The League considers cosponsorship of HR 842 a pro-environment action. Currently, 140 Members of Congress have cosponsored the Ancient Forest Protection Act.