Loggers: Legal battles cut us out
By PAULA TRACY
New Hampshire Union Leader Staff
Prices and demand for wood are near record levels, but loggers say legal appeals have virtually shut them out of some of the finest stands of timber in the 800,000-acre White Mountain National Forest.
"Pulp mills are screaming for supply ... you have mills and loggers trying to get stumpage to market, and they can't take advantage of it," said Jasen Stock, executive director of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association.
As soon as this week, the U.S. Forest Service expects to hear whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First District in Boston will issue a temporary restraining order to halt logging in the forest, as requested by The Sierra Club, Wilderness Society and The Center for Biological Diversity (formerly Forest Watch).
The legal action has had a chilling effect on timber sales, forest officials said. Federal budget cuts and redirection of funds to fight wildfires in the West are also sapping the industry.
White Mountain National Forest Supervisor Tom Wagner said his employees must analyze each proposed timber sale to determine impacts on water, wildlife and aesthetics. He said he expects funding to allow for only 15 instead of the projected 24 million measured board feet of lumber to be cut in 2009. Read More
As we suffer through high energy prices due in part to our dependence on foreign sources, our abilities to use our own natural resources for energy continue to be shut down by environmentalists. Food and energy that is produced here at home is vital to our national security.