In what USA Today called "the largest single land management program ever attempted," the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management released, in May, drafts of two environmental impact statements for an ambitious "ecosystem management" of the Columbia River Basin and northern Rockies.
Inspired by behind-the-scenes efforts of Vice-President Gore, the plan would place severe restrictions on grazing, mining and logging over 72 million acres of Federal land in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, and Utah.
|The Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project released two EIS documents that promise massive change for the Northwest. The first is the Upper Columbia River Basin EIS covering 42 million acres. The second is the Eastside EIS (covering Oregon and Washington, east of the Cascades) that includes 30 million acres. Grassroots leaders said the plan was likely to drive resource based industry out of business and severely damage hundreds of small communities in rural areas.|
On May 15th, Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) and other Western Republicans vowed to block appropriations for the Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project. Clinton/Gore officials said it would take $125 million a year to put the plan in place.
Whether you live in the Northwest or not, all resource users should get a copy of the plans to see an example of what will be coming to your area.
The agencies released the final drafts of the plans in May. Comments may be made on each plan until October 6th. Call (208) 334-1770 for a copy of both EIS documents plus a summary of each document. Dont let them just send you the summary.