So says the Forest Service, as of yesterday. And surprise! Environmental groups say they'll sue. These survey and manage provisions have been swatted around for over a decade now. They require the Forest Service to look for the presence of much-maligned little stuff -- lichens and snails, for example -- as well as other uncommon "sensitive species" of plants and animals prior to authorizing the kind of wholesale destruction of forest habitat that the northwest timber industry is so well known for.
Industry already tried to get rid of them once. Check out the stories from 2004 and you will see a strange resemblance -- right down to the metaphors employed in quotes from industry representatives -- to the articles circulating today.
This from today's fairly entertaining Seattle PI article:
GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Acting on an agreement with the timber industry, the Bush administration has decided to quit looking for little-known snails, lichens and other sensitive species before selling timber in Northwest national forests, setting up another round of litigation over a plan created to protect spotted owls and salmon.
The U.S. Forest Service announced Friday that so-called survey and manage provisions have been eliminated from the Northwest Forest Plan by way of a final decision on an environmental impact statement signed by Assistant Interior Secretary Steve Allred and Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey.
The decision makes it easier to log islands of old-growth timber on areas of national forests and U.S. Bureau of Land Management lands designated for timber production in Western Washington, Oregon and Northern California.
"This decision is long overdue," said Chris West, vice president of the American Forest Resource Council, a timber industry group. "We are wasting our time and money to have government employees crawl on their hands and knees and turn over rocks to look for snails and lichens and other critters."
West added that none of the species under the "survey and manage" provisions is protected by the Endangered Species Act, and the increase in logging will only fulfill the timber production promises of the Northwest Forest Plan.
That's the typical line from from industry: if it isn't endangered, what's the point of showing any mercy? Oh and by the way, let's also go ahead and get rid of the list, too.
Chris West is the same guy who has asked what gives the Forest Service the "right" to protect any non-listed species from his industry's maw.