[see HR 1171, below]
In separate House and Senate press conferences recently, the Stop Corporate Welfare Coalition (SCW) targeted government programs for elimination including Forest Service roads. The coalition pledged a united fight to help eliminate funding for these programs during the 1997 budget and appropriations process. At the House press conference, Rep. John Kasich (R-OH) -- a key player in the formation of this coalition of various taxpayer, environmental, and consumer groups -- stated that their recommendations could save Americans about $11.5 billion over 5 years. Among the others that spoke were Rob Andrews (D-NJ), Ed Royce (R-CA), and Ralph Nader.
The Forest Service roads program was among the "dirty dozen" programs targeted at the House press conference-- though it is the smallest dollar item among them. The SCW report said: "Serious problems exist concerning every aspect of the Forest Service, including road construction."
Among those speaking at the Senate press conference were Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Fred Thompson (R-TN), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Edward Kennedy (D-MA). While the Senate members also endorsed the House list, no specific target list was presented.
These Senators and Congressmen clearly do not understand that while the FS builds the affected roads, they are really multiple-use roads . . . not just logging roads. Many ranchers use these roads to gain access to their grazing permit areas. Miners use the roads to explore for minerals. Hunters and fishermen would be locked out of millions of acres of FS lands were it not for roads that were originally built for logging. Tens of thousands of private property owners would not have access to their lands except for these roads. Hikers, snowmobile and off-highway vehicle advocates would lose access to many more millions of acres without the FS road budget.
When you spread the cost of FS roads over all the recreation, business and commodity users, the cost of these roads makes much more sense.
But consider another idea. Suppose we decided whether to build the Golden Gate Bridge based on the number of users in just one year. It would be below cost transportation and our friends in the green movement would probably oppose it. Yet, when allocated over the lifetime of the bridge and all the users that have benefited, the bridge was a bargain. So, too, are our FS roads.
Please write the above Senators and Congressmen as well as your own.
Senators: Honorable _______,
US Senate, Washington, DC 20510
Congressmen: Honorable _______,
US House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515
HR 1171 Omnibus Corporate Welfare Reduction Act - bill to provide for the elimination of 12 Federal subsidy programs and projects. This bill is to eliminate and reduce so-called "corporate welfare" and will promote corporate responsibility. This will, among other things, eliminate road credits to forest products companies logging in National Forests, effectively eliminating multiple-use and recreational roads. Introduced in March 1997.