From E&E News..
Here is a link and below is an excerpt.
For example, Washington state’s Department of Natural Resources over the past decade harvested an average of 566 million board feet per year on roughly 2.2 million acres of state forests, generating about $168.6 million annually, or more than $300 for every thousand board feet, according to Tom Partin, president of the American Forest Resource Council.
But on the 9.3 million acres of federal forests in Washington, 129.2 million board feet was harvested in 2010, earning $651,000, or $5 per thousand board-feet, Partin said.
The discrepancy is due in part to the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act, which lengthen project reviews on federal lands and subject many of them to lawsuits, Partin said. In addition, higher slash disposal and road maintenance costs on Forest Service lands bring less money back to government, he said.
“There are opportunities to do a better job of managing our national forests,” he said.
Some have proposed increasing harvests by lifting NEPA, the 1969 law that requires full disclosure by agencies of the environmental impacts of federally authorized or funded projects.
For example, Oregon lawmakers last year proposed placing roughly 1.5 million acres of the state’s federal forests in a timber trust where NEPA would be replaced by state law. Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) last Congress proposed phasing out Secure Rural Schools by requiring the Forest Service to meet revenue targets through timber harvests that would be exempt from NEPA.
But while Bishop’s subcommittee has pledged to shine a spotlight on NEPA this Congress, environmentalists have argued the law is critical to ensuring that the public has a say in how its lands are managed (E&E Daily, Jan. 16).
Most environmental groups support thinning projects that avoid old growth, reduce the severity of wildfires and gird forests against pests. But few groups have endorsed clearcuts, which are common on state forests and help account for the greater harvest levels.
There is a hearing tomorrow at 10.
Here’s the link. Can’t tell if it’s televised..
So here’s my take. When the Forest Service had the Gridlock Reduction effort, I worked in NEPA in DC. My boss, Fred Norbury, used to say “how can we say it takes too long and costs too much, when we don’t know how long it takes or how much it costs?”. The FS has been tracking how long it takes, since, I believe, but not how much it costs, neither NEPA work nor appeals. And for some reason, despite the Administration’s desire for transparency in government, we seem unable to find out how much litigation is costing. I’m just pointing out that we could have a more meaningful conversation about costs, if the Forest Service, OGC and DOJ would keep track of them and tell the citizens and their elected officials. In my opinion.