2004 Scorecard Vote
The U.S. national forest system encompasses 191 million acres of public lands, which harbor much of our nation's biodiversity, provide habitat for more than 25 percent of the nation's at-risk species and shelter more intact populations of rare wildlife than any other federal land system.
Unfortunately, more than half of America's national forests have been destroyed or damaged by logging, oil and gas development, mining and other industrial uses. In 1976, Congress enacted the historic National Forest Management Act (NFMA) to bring accountability and sustainability to forest management, grounding it in sound science, public participation, and rational planning. The "population viability rule," drafted by the Reagan Administration to carry out NFMA's mandate to protect the diversity of national forest lands, requires that planners determine whether forest management practices are protecting individual species.
In 2002, the Bush Administration proposed sweeping new regulatory changes that would eliminate virtually all the standards to which the Forest Service could be held accountable. The proposed regulations, undertaken without scientific input and with the full cooperation of the timber industry, would weaken safeguards for wildlife and wildlife habitats. They would also exempt forest plans from NEPA environmental review, and place strict new limits on the ability of citizens to participate in the development of forest plans, make ecological sustainability of national forests a lower priority, and reduce the roles of science and monitoring in forest planning. During consideration of H.R. 4568, the Interior appropriations bill, Representative Tom Udall (D-NM) offered House Amendment 556 to prevent the Administration from finalizing or implementing these new regulations. On June 16, 2004, the House rejected the Udall amendment by a 195-230 vote (House roll call vote 254). YES is the pro-environment vote.