The Quincy Library Group
The Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act of 1998 (QLG Act) was labeled as an effort to establish local control of over 1.5 million acres of public national forest lands in the northern Sierra Nevada (the Plumas National Forest, Lassen National Forest and the Sierraville District of the Tahoe National Forest), when in fact it was organized and primarily benefited the logging company Sierra Pacific Industries. While the QLG Act passed 429-1 in 1998( with its most fervent support from notorious anti-environmental members as Don Young R-AK, Helen Chenoweth R-ID, Richard Pombo R-CA, and its sponsor Wally Herger R-CA), it only did so based on language inserted by Congressman George Miller (R-CA) requiring that the QLG Act comply with all applicable Federal laws.
The QLG Act logging program was established in the latter years of the Clinton Administration and re-authorized by Senator Dianne Feinstein in 2003, for 5 years, to sunset in 2009. Presented as an attempt to resolve forest management conflicts on Federal land, it has instead led to increased conflicts, appeals and litigation due to the reasons cited below:
- Quincy Library Group and local Forest Service officials who back them, refuse to collaborate or consider ideas, alternatives, or scientific information presented by anyone outside of their small, insular group of local advocates.
- While we all want the national forest lands in question to have adequate fuels treatments and community protection, we cannot support the continued rigid adherence to aggressive logging in the guise of restoration. None of the current fire behavior science suggests that the removal of large fire resistant trees is needed to alter fire behavior or protect communities.
- The science on fire and fire behavior is clear; the fuel problem in our forests is related to surface fuels, brush and other “ladder fuels” and small diameter trees that allow flames to climb in the over-story trees. Solve the surface fuel problems and the forest will generally survive wild fire. QLG’s aggressive logging program is largely driven by unwritten agreements to deliver high levels of large trees to the local sawmills at the expense of the environment.
- The Bush Administration’s 2004 Sierra Framework revisions (which have allowed the QLG Plan to operate unconstrained) have created increased risks to old growth forests, wildlife, water quality, and forest soils.
- No allowance for adaptive management (change) is written into the Act. When new scientific information (Blakesley 2003; Seamens 2005; Chatfield 2005; Zielinski 2005; H-F QLG Reports to Congress) suggests management practices need to change, the QLG stakeholders circle wagons in defense of their plan rather than examining and adapting with the new information.
- Forest Service/QLG refuses to consider an adequate range of alternatives, recommendations from scientists, or suggestions from the conservation community who have an equal stake in the management of these public lands. The QLG forest managers have gone so far as to cut the public out of the NEPA public comment process altogether forcing us to go to court to preserve the public’s right to participate in the management decisions on our national forests.
- Irretrievable Soil Quality impacts are increasing across the QLG forests (Lassen and Plumas NF) from logging equipment, roads, log landings and the failure of the QLG forest managers to adequately mitigate and restore compacted areas. The increasing soil damage is being documented in the Annual HF QLG Reports to Congress (2003-2005). The soil impacts are being ignored because forest managers favor cheap logging contracts over public resource protection.
- Other Sierra Nevada national forests, particularly near central Sierra Nevada communities, where the bulk of the population resides, need increased fuels dollars. QLG forests receive an allocation for FY 2007 of $20 million. Quincy has the infrastructure - sawmills and biomass plants - that other areas to the south do not have…suggesting they need less of a logging subsidy.
- In spite a consistent $26-31 million QLG line item since 2001, the Plumas and Lassen National Forests continue to propose timber sales that are seriously in the RED then attempt to make up cost by logging large ecologically important trees, significantly impacting at-risk wildlife and remnant old forest stands. Having over-reached and over-spent, the Forest Service is applying group selection prescriptions (small clear cuts) throughout the two forests, in important habitat, to make up the volume under extreme pressure from Sierra Pacific Industries.