SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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PUBLIC AND PRIVATE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION ISSUES IN THE NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEMS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON FOREST AND FOREST HEALTH
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
MAY 18, 1999, WASHINGTON, DC
Serial No. 10629
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Printed for the use of the Committee on Resources
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/house
Committee address: http://www.house.gov/resources
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
W.J. (BILLY) TAUZIN, Louisiana
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JOHN T. DOOLITTLE, California
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
KEN CALVERT, California
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
BARBARA CUBIN, Wyoming
HELEN CHENOWETH, Idaho
GEORGE P. RADANOVICH, California
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWILLIAM M. (MAC) THORNBERRY, Texas
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
RICK HILL, Montana
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
MARK E. SOUDER, Indiana
GREG WALDEN, Oregon
DON SHERWOOD, Pennsylvania
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
MIKE SIMPSON, Idaho
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
GEORGE MILLER, California
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
BRUCE F. VENTO, Minnesota
DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
OWEN B. PICKETT, Virginia
FRANK PALLONE, Jr., New Jersey
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCARLOS A. ROMERO-BARCELÓ, Puerto Rico
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
ADAM SMITH, Washington
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
CHRIS JOHN, Louisiana
DONNA CHRISTIAN-CHRISTENSEN, Virgin Islands
RON KIND, Wisconsin
JAY INSLEE, Washington
GRACE F. NAPOLITANO, California
TOM UDALL, New Mexico
MARK UDALL, Colorado
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
RUSH D. HOLT, New Jersey
LLOYD A. JONES, Chief of Staff
ELIZABETH MEGGINSON, Chief Counsel
CHRISTINE KENNEDY, Chief Clerk/Administrator
JOHN LAWRENCE, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on Forest and Forest Health
HELEN CHENOWETH, Idaho, Chairman
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
JOHN T. DOOLITTLE, California
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
RICK HILL, Montana
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
DON SHERWOOD, Pennsylvania
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Washington
DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan
OWEN B. PICKETT, Virginia
RON KIND, Wisconsin
GRACE F. NAPOLITANO, California
TOM UDALL, New Mexico
MARK UDALL, Colorado
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
DOUG CRANDALL, Staff Director
ANNE HEISSENBUTTEL, Legislative Staff
JEFF PETRICH, Minority Chief Counsel
C O N T E N T S
Hearing held May 18, 1999
Statements of Members:
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCChenoweth, Hon. Helen, a Representative in Congress from the State of Idaho
Prepared statement of
Statements of witnesses:
Anderson, Dale E., President, Pennsylvania Forest Industry Association, Ridgway, Pennsylvania
Prepared statement of
Hairston, Andy, Highland Enterprises, Incorporated, Grangeville, Idaho
Prepared statement of
Johnson, Brett C., Forks, Washington
Prepared statement of
Keller, Sheila, Treasurer, Montana Women in Timber, Kalispell, Montana
Prepared statement of
Platt, Teresa, Executive Director, Fur Commission USA, Coronado, California
Prepared statement of
Wasley, William F., Director, Law Enforcement and Investigations, United States Forest Service
Prepared statement of
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION ISSUES IN THE NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEMS
TUESDAY, MAY 18, 1999
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health,
Committee on Resources,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:01 p.m., in Room 1334, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Helen Chenoweth [chairwoman of the Subcommittee] presiding.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF HON. HELEN CHENOWETH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF IDAHO
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health will come to order.
The Subcommittee is meeting today to hear testimony on public and private resource management and protection issues in the National Forest System.
Under rule 4(g) of the Committee rules, any oral opening statements of hearings are limited to the chairman and the Ranking Minority Member. That will be afforded to the Ranking Minority Member when he arrives at the Committee. This will allow us to hear from our witnesses sooner and help members keep to their schedules as well as facilitate your keeping to your schedules. Therefore, if other members have statements, they will be included in the hearing record.
Today's oversight hearing will focus on the public and private resource management issues in the National Forest System. This broad title allows us to hear from normal, hard-working citizens from outside the Washington, DC beltway about a wide range of issues dealing with our national forests where those citizens live and work.
Our first panel will focus on law enforcement challenges within the National Forest System, and partially services as a follow-up to a hearing this Subcommittee held on June 23 of last year in the Forest Service's law enforcement activities. That hearing, which included only Forest Service and GAO witnesses, included extensive testimony from the Forest Service's Director of Law Enforcement and Investigations, William Wasley, and I welcome Director Wasley here today as a witness.
At last year's hearing, members were concerned about the Forest Service's concentration of law enforcement activities in the Washington office and the need to devolve more power to local law enforcement agencies through block grants. As chairman, I was very concerned about the agency's apparent failure to document citizens' complaints against law enforcement personnel. Now, in general, this Subcommittee was alarmed that very poor written records appeared to be kept on law enforcement.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That hearing, nearly one year ago, I requested that Director Wasley submit to the Subcommittee a report on eco-terrorism on the national forests and what the Forest Service has done to combat those terrorists, including the use of conspiracy or RICO statutes. The response to this request, dated November 10, 1998 is a one-page long document and begins with the sentence, ''Although the term 'anti-timber terrorist group activities' is unclear, we assume you are referring to unlawful acts committed by persons who oppose the harvesting of timber from public lands.'' This response, frankly, is an insult to this Subcommittee, and it illustrates how seriously the Forest Service is combating eco-terrorism.
By having two private citizens as witnesses on our first panel, we will be able to put a human face on eco-terrorism within the National Forest System and how law enforcement officials are dealing with it. I am particularly interested in hearing from my constituent, Andy Hairston, about his long-running feud with terrorists who have made every effort to prevent him from making a livelihood in northern Idaho. In talking with Mr. Hairston before the hearing, I am disturbed about the Forest Service's unwillingness to aggressively bring these terrorists to justice.
Our final panel is composed entirely of citizens whose communities and livelihoods depend on their local national forests. Among them are constituents of Subcommittee members John Peterson and Rick Hill, and I look forward to their candid testimony about what the changes the Forest Service needs to make to improve their local community.
[The prepared statement of Mrs. Chenoweth follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. HELEN CHENOWETH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF IDAHO
Today's oversight hearing will focus on Public and Private Resource Management Issues in the National Forest System. This broad title allows us to hear from normal hard-working citizens from outside the Washington, DC beltway about a wide range of issues dealing with the national forests where they live and work.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our first panel will focus on law enforcement challenges within the National Forest System and partially serves as a follow-up to a hearing this Subcommittee held on June 23 of last year on the Forest Service's law enforcement activities.
That hearing, which included only Forest Service and GAO witnesses, included extensive testimony from the Forest Service's Director of Law Enforcement and Investigations William Wasley. I welcome Director Wasley here today as a witness.
At last year's hearing, members were concerned about the Forest Service's concentration of law enforcement activities in the Washington Office and the need to devolve more power to local law enforcement agencies through block grants. As Chairman, I was very concerned about the agency's apparent failure to document citizen's complaints against law enforcement personnel. In general, the Subcommittee was alarmed that very poor written records appeared to be kept on law enforcement.
At that hearing nearly one year ago, I requested that Director Wasley submit to the Subcommittee a report on eco-terrorism on the national forests and what the Forest Service has done to combat these terrorists, including the use of conspiracy or R.I.C.O. statutes. The response to this request, dated November 10, 1998, is one page long and begins with the sentence, ''although the term 'anti-timber terrorist group activities' is unclear, we assume you are referring to unlawful acts committed by persons who oppose the harvesting of timber from public lands.'' This response is an insult to this Subcommittee and it illustrates how seriously the Forest Service is combating eco-terrorism.
By having two private citizens as witnesses on our first panel, we will be able to put a human face on ecoterrorism within the National Forest System and how law enforcement officials are dealing with it. I am particularly interested in hearing from my constituent Andy Hairston, about his long- running feud with terrorists, who have made every effort to prevent him from making a livelihood in northern Idaho. In talking with Mr. Hairston before the hearing, I am disturbed about the Forest Service's unwillingness to aggressively bring these terrorists to justice.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our final panel is composed entirely of citizens whose communities and livelihoods depend on their local national forests. Among them are constituents of Subcommittee members John Peterson and Rick Hill. I look forward to their candid testimony about what changes the Forest Service needs to make to improve their local communities.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I will now introduce our first panel. Mr. William Wasley, Director of Law Enforcement and Investigations with the U.S. Forest Service; welcome, sir. Mr. Andy Hairston, Highland Enterprises, Incorporated, Grangeville, Idaho; welcome, sir. And Ms. Teresa Platt, executive director, Fur Commission USA, Coronado, California; welcome, ma'am.
As explained in our first hearing, it is the intention of the chairman of the Committee to place all outside witnesses under the oath. Now, this is a formality of the Committee that is meant to assure open and honest discussion and should not afford the testimony given by witnesses and shouldn't affect the testimony at all, and I believe that all of the witnesses were informed of that before this hearing today, and each of you have been provided with a copy of the Committee rules.
Now, if you will please stand and raise your right hand, I will administer the oath.
The Chair now recognizes Mr. Wasley for his testimony.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM F. WASLEY, DIRECTOR, LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INVESTIGATIONS, UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE
Mr. WASLEY. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Madam Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, my name is Bill Wasley, and I am the Director of the Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations Program. I am pleased to appear before you today to discuss Forest Service law enforcement.
The key elements of the Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations Program are protecting and serving the public and our employees, protecting natural resources and other property under the jurisdiction of the Forest Service, and cooperating with other law enforcement agencies. We accomplish these key goals by applying the common sense crime prevention elements of education, engineering, and enforcement.
I appeared before this Subcommittee on June 23, 1998 to discuss the Forest Service LE&ILaw Enforcement Investigationsprogram and structure, authorities, cooperation with State, local, and other Federal agencies, and the unique and special challenges facing our program. As follow-up to the hearing, we also provided information and documents to the House Resources Committee on various law enforcement matters and the reorganization of LE&I within the Forest Service. I will briefly discuss each of the key elements of the LE&I Program.
Protection of visitors and users of the national forests and Forest Service employees in the performance of their duties is the primary mission of law enforcement and investigation. Crime is increasing, at least on some national forests, and LE&I has responded to the increasing workload in apprehending criminals and acting on criminal activity within the confines of current staffing and cooperative support.
Security is important to the public. Criminal activity, such as personal assault, gang activity, and the theft of property negatively impact visitor experiences. Vandalism and theft at recreation facilities decrease public enjoyment and divert limited recreation dollars. Law enforcement personnel also operate as full partners with the Forest Service in carrying out the Forest Service mission.
LE&I provides protection for natural resources, including timber, water, soils, special forest products and archeological sites. Resource damage from arson and human-caused fires can be substantial. Unauthorized use of the national forest can damage natural resources and property and cause irreversible impacts.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Timber theft remains a top priority of the Forest Service LE&I staff. In 1998, there were over 35 cases dealing with timber theft. The LE&I staff coordinates closely with the Forest Management staff on all timber theft cases involving timber sale contracts.
Illicit drug labs and marijuana cultivation on national forest lands continue to be a major concern. With adverse effects on natural resources and on public and employee safety. Toxic chemicals used on illicit labs and marijuana gardens leach into soil and waterways causing negative impacts to vegetation, wildlife, and drinking water. Working cooperatively with our State and local law enforcement partners, the Forest Service eradicated over 330,000 marijuana plants last year and found 105 meth-amphetamine labs and lab dumps on National Forest System lands, an increase from 1997 totals. Officers made over 2,800 arrests and seized over $4.8 million in assets.
Each year, increases in public use of National Forest System lands cause increases in crimes against people and resources. Other Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies are similarly faced with increasing crime trends that tax their abilities to accomplish their work with limited resources.
The Cooperative Law Enforcement Act authorized the Forest Service to reimburse local law enforcement agencies for expenses associated with law enforcement services on National Forest System lands. In 1998, the Forest Service maintained some 530 cooperative agreements with State and local agencies for performance of routine law enforcement patrol activities and 163 drug enforcement cooperative agreements. Over $6 million were provided through these agreements to local law enforcement agencies. We are currently developing a standardized cooperative agreement to be used nationwide. Upon implementation, we will assess the level of funding provided to each cooperative to cover their extraordinary expenses incurred while working on National Forest System lands.
The Senate Appropriations Committee report for the Fiscal Year 1999 Department of Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act directed the Forest Service to evaluate the comparative costs of Forest Service uniformed law enforcement officers to those of county enforcement officials and other uniformed Federal natural resource oriented law enforcement officers. As part of this evaluation, an analysis will be conducted regarding the ability of local enforcement officials to enforce Federal statutes, give priority to such statutes within the constraints of local priorities, attain Federal training standards, prevent increased liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act, and retain independence from external influence. Initial findings should be completed near the end of May, 1999. In addition, we will be conducting a random survey of country sheriffs to assess their ability to undertake this activity. We expect those results back this summer.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In summary, with the expectation that we will have one billion visitor days on our national forests this year, the Law Enforcement and Investigations Program is critical to protecting and serving the public and our employees, protecting natural resources and other property under the jurisdiction of the Forest Service, and cooperating with other law enforcement agencies. The job is immense, and we are working hard at providing these services with the resources we have available to the do the job.
Thank you, Madam Chairman and members of the Subcommittee for allowing me the opportunity to speak before you today. I am ready to answer any questions you may have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Wasley follows:]
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM F. WASLEY, DIRECTOR, LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INVESTIGATIONS, FOREST SERVICE, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Madam Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, my name is Bill Wasley, and I am the Director of the Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations program. I am pleased to appear before you today to discuss Forest Service law enforcement.
Key elements of the Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations (LE&I) program are:
1. protecting and serving the public and our employees;
2. protecting natural resources and other property under the jurisdiction of the Forest Service; and
3. cooperating with other law enforcement agencies.
We accomplish these key goals by applying the common sense crime prevention elements of education, engineering, and enforcement.
I appeared before this Subcommittee on June 23, 1998, to discuss the Forest Service LE&I program and structure, authorities, cooperation with State, local, and other Federal agencies, and the unique and special challenges facing our program. As follow-up to the hearing we also provided information and documents to the House Resources Committee on various law enforcement matters, and the reorganization of LE&I within the Forest Service.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will briefly discuss each of the key elements of the LE&I program.
PROTECTING AND SERVING THE PUBLIC AND OUR EMPLOYEES
Protection of visitors and users of the National Forests and Forest Service employees in the performance of their duties is the primary mission of law enforcement and investigation.
Crime is increasing, at least on some national forests, and LE&I has responded to the increasing work load in apprehending criminals and acting on criminal activity within the confines of current staffing and cooperative support. Security is important to the public. Criminal activities such as personal assault, gang activity and theft of property negatively impact visitor experiences. Vandalism and theft at recreation facilities decrease public enjoyment and divert limited recreation dollars.
PROTECTING NATURAL RESOURCES
Law enforcement personnel also operate as full partners within the Forest Service in carrying out the Forest Service mission. LE&I provides protection for natural resources, including timber, water, soils, special forest products, and archaeological sites. Resource damage from arson and human-caused fires can be substantial. Unauthorized use of the national forests can damage natural resources and property and cause irreversible impacts.
Timber theft remains a top priority of the Forest Service LE&I staff. In 1998, there were over 35 cases dealing with timber theft. The LE&I staff coordinates closely with the Forest Management staff on all timber theft cases involving timber sale contracts.
Illicit drug labs and marijuana cultivation on national forest lands continue to be a major concern, with adverse effects on natural resources and on public and employee safety. Toxic chemicals used in illicit labs and marijuana gardens leach into soil and waterways causing negative impacts to vegetation, wildlife, and drinking water. Working cooperatively with our state and local law enforcement partners, the Forest Service eradicated over 330,000 marijuana plants last year and found 105 meth-amphetamine labs and lab dumps on National Forest System lands, an increase from 1997 totals. Officers made over 2,800 arrests and seized over $4.8 million dollars in assets.
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COOPERATION WITH OUR PARTNERS
Each year increases in public use of National Forest System lands cause increases in crimes against people and resources. Other Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies are similarly faced with increasing crime trends that tax their abilities to accomplish their work with limited resources.
The Cooperative Law Enforcement Act authorizes the Forest Service to reimburse local law enforcement agencies for expenses associated with law enforcement services on National Forest System lands. In 1998, the Forest Service maintained 530 cooperative agreements with State and local agencies for performance of routine law enforcement patrol activities, and 163 drug enforcement cooperative agreements. Over $6 million dollars were provided through these agreements to local law enforcement agencies. We are currently developing a standardized cooperative agreement to be used nationwide. Upon implementation, we will assess the level of funding provided to each cooperator to cover their extraordinary expenses incurred while working on National Forest System lands.
The Senate Appropriations Committee report for the fiscal year 1999 Department of Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act directed the Forest Service to evaluate the comparative costs of Forest Service uniformed law enforcement officers to those of county enforcement officials and other uniformed Federal natural resource oriented law enforcement officers. As part of this evaluation, an analysis will be conducted regarding the ability of local enforcement officials to enforce Federal statutes, give priority to such statutes within the constraints of local priorities, attain Federal training standards, prevent increased liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act, and retain independence from external influence. Initial findings should be completed by the end of May, 1999. In addition, we will be conducting a random survey of county sheriffs to assess their ability to undertake this activity. We expect those results back this summer.
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In summary, with the expectation that we will have one billion visitor-days on our national forests this year, the law enforcement and investigations program is critical to protecting and serving the public and our employees, protecting natural resources and other property under the jurisdiction of the Forest Service, and cooperating with other law enforcement agencies. The job is immense, and we are working hard at providing these services with the resources we have available to do the job.
Thank you Madam Chairman and members of the Subcommittee for allowing me the opportunity to speak before you today. I am ready to answer any questions you may have.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Wasley.
Mr. Hairston, the Chair recognizes you for testimony. Before you begin, I want to explain our light system. It is just like traffic lightsgreen means go, and yellow means step on it
[continuing] and red means stop. So, we welcome your testimony. Mr. Hairston.
STATEMENT OF ANDY HAIRSTON, HIGHLAND ENTERPRISES, INCORPORATED, GRANGEVILLE, IDAHO
Mr. HAIRSTON. Madam Chairman and respected members of the Subcommittee, I thank you for the opportunity to speak before you today.
My name is Andy Hairston. I am the corporate treasurer and general manager of Highland Enterprises, Incorporated, a road building and rock crushing company based in Grangeville, Idaho who has been in business since 1976. Over the last decade, Highland has specialized in timber sale access road construction on the national forest lands and private timber lands. We have strived to build ecologically sound roads to prevent erosion and to provide safe access for the harvesting of timber. These roads also provide access for fire fighting, recreation, hunting, fishing, and many other activities enjoyed by people visiting the national forests.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC During the summer of 1992, while working on a timber sale road construction project in the Cove Mallard area of the Nez Perce National Forest, we came into contact with members of the radical environmental group, Earth First, who were there to protest
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Hairston?
Mr. HAIRSTON. Yes?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I wonder if you could pull the mike closer to you?
Mr. HAIRSTON. Yes, ma'am. We came into contact with members of the radical environmental group, Earth First, who were there to protest the timber sale. The Cove Mallard has been open for logging by the Forest Service to help improve forest health by removing dead and dying timber. The protesters have since used this area as a focal point for their cause.
At the time, the Earth First protesters were not very organized and did not present a significant safety threat to the employees of Highland Enterprises. The next year, the protesters were very organized and presented a real safety threat. The activists progressed from being just protestors to being environmental terrorists. They severely vandalized road building equipment, locked themselves to gates and trees, pulled up and destroyed construction stakes, plugged culverts, set up tripods on roadways, and threw spikes, slash, and rocks into the roadway to prevent vehicles from using it. These events occurred on a daily basis and severely limited Highlands road building activity. As a result, we were forced to hire security personnel to watch the equipment when not in use. The additional cost along with the cost from lost production and vandalized equipment became a large financial burden.
During these protests, many arrests were made by both the Idaho County Sheriff Department and Forest Service law enforcement. The Sheriff's Department and Idaho County prosecuting attorney aggressively prosecuted these environmental terrorists resulting in jail time and a small amount of restitution for Highland, but Federal law enforcement prosecution was far less aggressive, usually resulting in a misdemeanor with little jail time for the activist and no restitution for Highland.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The next timber sale road construction in the Cove Mallard area began in 1995. The terrorists were very organized and prepared for battle. In addition to the types of vandalism used in years before, the environmental terrorists had developed more sophisticated ways to stop road construction. For example, they buried concrete blocks in the roadway and chained themselves to the blocks below the ground level forcing law enforcement to hand dig out the activists. The also began to adopt other names for their causesThe Ancient Forest Bus Brigade, the Native Forest Network, and Friends of the Cove Mallard. This was done in an attempt to allude prosecution and project to the media that many organizations were protesting this timber sale and road building when in fact only one organization was involvedEarth First. Again, the efforts of the environmental terrorists to stop the road construction resulted in the loss of considerable amounts of monies due to the lost production and the cost of hiring of extra manpower to provide security.
In 1995, the law enforcement participation also changed. Federal law enforcement became more involved, while the Sheriff's Department became less involved. This resulted in longer delays. Many times up to six hours waiting for Federal officers to remove the terrorists because of bureaucratic change of command which began with the law enforcement officers on site, then to the district ranger in Elk City, Idaho, then to the supervisor's office in Grangeville, Idaho, then to the region one office in Missoula, Montana, and, finally, to the chief of Forest Service law enforcement in Washington, DC. According to the Forest Service's own records, the agency spent over $250,000 trying to monitor and apprehend these radical environmentalists. It was at this time that Highland owner's decided to sue Earth First in a civil court. Individual activists, as well as the Earth First organization and their affiliated sub-components were named as defendants. Highland won this case and was awarded the judgment of over $1 million, of which Highland has collected less than $200, and, to date, our legal bills are over $200,000.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The confrontations have continued on our road construction projects in the Cove Mallard area. Protestors then moved their destructive activities to a timber sale road construction project well separated from the Cove Mallard area. The Otter-Wing timber sale is over 45 miles from the Cove Mallard protest area. The activists, again, used their same techniques along with tree sitting and vandalism to equipment to stop the road building. The Forest Service dispatched law enforcement officers in large numbers but with little effectiveness. The law enforcement officers provided one on one protection for the timber workers but were reluctant to make arrests of the activists who violated the area closure. Highland hired a professional security company to guard our equipment and materials at the job site. Highland then requested to be reimbursed for this additional security through a claim on the contract, but the Forest Service denied the claim. Through the Freedom of Information Act, I also requested records from the Forest Service law enforcement for denying the claim.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. We would like to give the witness another minute.
Mr. HAIRSTON. Thank youbut this Freedom of Information Act request was also denied. Both the claim for the reimbursement for the security cost and the Freedom of Information Act request are now being appealed through the appropriate channels.
I feel that a large portion of the problems we have encountered could have been solved if local law enforcement would have been in the lead position to take control of the situation. The Federal law enforcement efforts on the Forest Service were riddled with bureaucracy and delayed action that cost valuable production time. It is my opinion that local law enforcement provides a much faster response to the environmental terrorists and when prosecuted in local courts, it keeps them incarcerated so they do not return to the protest site.
I believe that the United States Forest Service has done a very poor job in providing protection for our employees and equipment while we working on these Federal timber sale road construction projects. Daily, the workers encountered environmental terrorists who threw sticks and rocks at our workers, yelled and screamed at workers, and tied themselves to equipment and trees. These actions put the lives of Highland employees and the lives of environmental terrorists in danger. Building logging roads is very dangerous to begin with, and when you introduce a group of people whose sole purpose is to intimidate, disrupt, and distract the workers, it is inevitable that someone is going to become injured or, even worse, killed.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I hope that by becoming aware of the situation that is occurring in the forests of north central Idaho, that you can help us fix these problems before someone is seriously injured or killed.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak before you today.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hairston follows:]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Hairston.
And the Chair now recognizes Ms. Platt.
STATEMENT OF TERESA PLATT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FUR COMMISSION USA, CORONADO, CALIFORNIA
Ms. PLATT. Thank you, and I will try to keep my comments to five minutes. I have submitted lengthier backup information and testimony, if you could put that in the record, please.
Chairwoman Chenoweth, Committee members, and concerned citizens, thank you for allowing me to address you today.
I am Teresa Platt with Fur Commission USA. I represent 600 fur farming families on 400 farms in 31 States. Our farmers take the leftovers from food production and turn them into clothing, and I would like to contribute to this discussion of what happened on Forest Service lands last year with Vail, Colorado and as Mr. Hairston is discussing what is happening to him on a daily basis, because the fur industry has been coping with this for many, many years.
We call this eco-terrorism and animal rights terrorism. We have found that, like the incident at Vail, we have been subjected to this along with the beef, poultry, dairy, timber, mining, and recreation industries, wildlife managers, research scientists, zoos, aquariums, and many others have been victimized in the name of saving the Earth or saving animals.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As everyone is aware, Earth Liberation Front, or ELF, took credit for the Vail action. This is the sister group of Animal Liberation Front, or ALF. What many people don't know is that the next action after Vail was against a fur farming family in Powers, Michigan. Mr. and Mrs. Pipkorn, the Pipkorn Mink Farm, has been in business for over 60 years. ELF left Vail and released 5,000 animals from the Pipkorn Mink Farm the next week. If it weren't for the response of neighbors in that area, the Pipkorn Mink Farm would have been out of business by now. Sixty years of toil and sweat on a family farm would have been for nothing. The ELF statement after that release stated, ''As corporate destroyers burn in the West, wildlife nations will be liberated in the North.''
There was another statement in 1997 where ELF took credit for releasing foxes from a farm, and they stated, ''that ELF's resistance against the capitalist death machine will not stop.''
On October 21, 1998, fur farmers received a death threat from the ultimate enforcement arm of ALF and ELF, something called the Justice Department. The Justice Department threatened that any fur farmers or ''animal abusers'' who ''use violence against activists will suffer full retribution. The ALF have a clear policy of adherence to non-violence; we do not.''
The Justice Department has claimed credit for hundreds of actions in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States resulting in millions of dollars in damages. A London paper, the Independent, said that their campaign was the most sustained and sophisticated bombing campaign in mainland Britain since the IRA was at its height. They said that a more accurate role model of the Justice Department's relationship to ALF might be the extremely violent Irish National Liberation Army, which broke away from the IRA.
These people believe that by using a combination of economic sabotage and live liberations of domesticated animals, that they can achieve what others cannot through the political channels and non-violence. Anyone can search the Internet and find these statements. ''Animal abusers'' or ''Earth abusers'' to those using the terminologyto groups like ALF and ELF and Justice Departmentare anyone who depends directly or indirectly on the environment, which is all of society.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I don't want to give you a laundry list of all these terrorist actions, because the FBI has these. They are on the Internet; you can see pages and pages of these actions. Many people think they are a recent import, that they are an export from the United Kingdom, but I have found actions in the United States that go back at least 20 years.
One of the most public ones that we probably haven't thought about for a long time was when Squeaky Fromme tried to assassinate President Ford in order to save the Earth. Her roommate, Sandra Good, spent 10 years in prison for sending out death threats to corporations who she saw as killing the Earth, death threats that went to the San Diego Tuna Fleet. My family owned a tuna fleet, and I know about it, because the FBI came and gave us guidelines on how to open our mail. I have been very carefully opening my mail for 20 years now.
In 1997, the State of California granted non-profit status to a group called ATWA, Air, Trees, Water, and Animals. Sandra Good is an officer in that corporation. If you go on their web site, the logo incorporates a swastika, and the information on that site, which is from Charles Manson, promotes Hitler and the agenda of the Nazi regime.
I have no problem with free speech, but I do have a problem as a taxpayer with giving non-profit benefits to a corporation that puts forward this sort of information under educational and scientific 501(c)(3) status. Is the government not watching? You are creating an atmosphere that promotes these sort of actions.
In Salt Lake City, the Straight Edgers have engaged in a spree, a green and fuzzy crime spree that has resulted in over $800,000 worth of damage to our farmers' co-op; it has attacked leather stores, butcher shops, and anyone who deals with animals or the Earth. Several young men are now spending many years of their lives in jail over the promotion of this flawed philosophy.
There is a group called National Animal Interest Alliance that is spearheading a call for action asking for government to establish a joint agency task force. We need to stop looking at these things as isolated incidents and work across State lines and agency lines. We need to look at the 501(c)(3) tax code which is giving non-profit status to groups that are romanticizing these actions.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I don't have a problem with civil discourse and peaceful protest, but I do have a problem with eco-terrorism and animal rights terrorism, and I am happy to help you with a little more information on how we can work a little bit more effectively on this.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Platt follows:]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Ms. Platt.
And the Chair will now recognize the members as they arrived, and we will alternate between each side of the dais, and we will begin with Congressman Hill for questions.
Mr. HILL. Thank you, Madam Chairman, and I want to thank the panelists for being here and their testimony.
Mr. Wasley, what is the total budget for the U.S. Forest Service for law enforcement?
Mr. WASLEY. This year, it is approximately $66 million.
Mr. HILL. Sixty-six million?
Mr. WASLEY. Approximately.
Mr. HILL. And about $6 million of that goes to local law enforcement under cooperative agreements? Is that what your testimony says?
Mr. WASLEY. That is correct.
Mr. HILL. And that is 530 agreements?
Mr. WASLEY. Plus another 163 drug agreements. We have cooperative patrol agreements and drug agreements.
Mr. HILL. So, it is $10,000 or less per cooperative agreement that goes to local law enforcement?
Mr. WASLEY. On the average, but you should understand that the range is much greater than that. It could be a couple of hundred to
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HILL. What is the highest, the largest sum?
Mr. WASLEY. I don't really have that information. I think it is somewhere around $50,000 probably.
Mr. HILL. Fifty thousand? And where is that?
Mr. WASLEY. I couldn't tell you. I don't know.
Mr. HILL. How many people are employed in law enforcement within the U.S. Forest Service?
Mr. WASLEY. Approximately 600.
Mr. HILL. And why would the Forest Service want to directly employ people rather than contract with local law enforcement folks for the general law enforcement needs on the force?
Mr. WASLEY. The first reason would have to do with jurisdiction. Not all law enforcement would be empowered to enforce Federal laws on National Forest System lands; that is first.
Mr. HILL. But they could be.
Mr. WASLEY. They could be, of course, but at present, they are not.
Mr. HILL. There is nothing in Federal law that prohibits a local law enforcement official from being authorized to enforce Federal law, is there?
Mr. WASLEY. I am not sure if that is correct or not. It may take an act of Congress to empower them to enforce Federal laws.
Mr. HILL. Okay. I am sorry, I interrupted you. You were
Mr. WASLEY. The other thingthere is a myriad of other reasons having to do with Federal law enforcement on National Forest System lands. Standardized training, for example, standardized equipment, funding, mobility between forests, jurisdictional disputes are almost non-existent. For example, if you had local law enforcement on one forest serving under certain county guidelines, they may not be empowered to go into the next county, much less the next State, to assist other Forest Service employees in another State on another forest.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HILL. You have heard testimony here about terrorist organizations, and you are aware of those organizations, I am sure.
Mr. WASLEY. Yes.
Mr. HILL. Does the Forest Service have a specific strategy for identifying members of these groups and investigating them and prosecuting them?
Mr. WASLEY. Our strategy is simple: we recognize the FBI as the lead investigative agency in this matter. We collect information through various means and furnish the FBI this information.
Mr. HILL. So, your work in dealing with these groups is strictly investigatory work?
Mr. WASLEY. I wouldn't say investigatory. I would say it is more of a collection at this point.
Mr. HILL. You mean that that is less than investigation or more than investigation?
Mr. WASLEY. I say that it is less than investigation on some areas. It is relatively simple to collect information. It may be as simple as noting a license plate numbers and then forwarding them on. Investigation might imply collecting the license plate numbers, running the Department of Motor Vehicle checks, doing criminal checks of the owners, and so on.
Mr. HILL. You hear Mr. Hairston's testimonyis it Hairston?
Mr. HAIRSTON. Yes, sir.
Mr. HILL. [continuing] with respect to the problem that he experienced in trying to pursue people who vandalized equipment. What do you say to that. I mean, would you say that you don't have adequate resources to do that to cooperate with local lawwhat created that circumstance, would you say?
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WASLEY. I would say, first of all, we have limited resources. As you well know, we are spread over 192 million acres with only 600 people. We have limited budget, limited staffing. That said, in Mr. Hairston's case, as I am informed, these issues were handled at a local level. I will tell this Committee that I made no decisions on the deployment of persons at Cove Mallard at all. It did not come to my level, because the local people felt there was no need to elevate it to my level.
Mr. HILL. That is a little bit in conflict, I think, Mr. Hairston, with your testimony, is it?
Mr. HAIRSTON. Yes, sir, in the fact that we were always told that the decisions were coming from much higher above, and the response time was just extremely slow.
Mr. HILL. That contrasted with local law enforcement where the circumstances were different?
Mr. HAIRSTON. Yes, sir. Local law enforcement were very quick to respond. They had officers within the area and would many times be there within the hour on a call. We have several cases where we waited over six hours with a full crew of people, road building employees, to go to work and couldn't get to work, because activists were chained to a gate or buried in a roadway.
Mr. HILL. Mr. Walsey, you said earlier that you were not aware of whether or not you could delegate the authority to local law enforcement to enforce the Federal law. If you don't have the ability to do that, would you support legislation that would allow you to do that?
Mr. WASLEY. I would have to think about that. You have caught me flat-footed.
Mr. HILL. What would your objections be? I mean, if it broadened your authority and made it easier to enforce the laws in the national forests, why would you opposecan you think of any reason, at this point, why you would oppose that?
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WASLEY. I am not saying I would oppose it; I am saying I would need more time to think about it.
Mr. HILL. Okay, thank you.
Thank all the panelists, and thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Hill.
The Chair would oppose that, though, because I think, Mr. Wasley, you know that the county sheriffs, under State law, have all the authority to provide law enforcement for gang activities, for thefts, and even drug activities so long as it is grown within the State boundaries. However, there is ongoing cooperative agreements regarding the growing of drugs and marijuana. But I would detect that is why you are hesitant to answer Mr. Hill, because the county sheriffs do have the authority to enforce the law within their counties. Isn't that true?
Mr. WASLEY. Certainly, they have the authority to enforce all State laws and no doubt city ordinances and county ordinances. I question whether or not they can enforce all Federal laws particularly the Federal regulations under which we operate as promulgated by the Secretary of Agriculture. I am not sure they can enforce those statutes as it currently exists.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Most activity regarding theft and gang related activities and abuse of property, contract law can be carried out. That kind of protection can be carried out by the local country sheriff. Isn't that correct?
Mr. WASLEY. That is correct, and most often is.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Good. The Chair now recognizes Mr. Mark Udall for questions.
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. Thank you, Madam Chair. I wanted to welcome the panel today.
I had a question for Director Wasley. As you know, I am from Colorado and have watched with great interest the arson in the Vail area. I would like to hear an update, at this point, as to where that investigation stands.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WASLEY. I am not begging the question when I say the FBI is the lead investigative agency on that. The Forest Service is playing a supporting role like we do in most investigations that we have with other Federal agencies. They rely on us for topographical, geographical, and local knowledge, but they are in fact the primary investigative agency. So, I don't have an update on that at this time.
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. So, I need to find out where the FBI is testifying, and I can maybe get some answers from them.
Mr. WASLEY. That is right.
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. Let me move to another topic. I have the impression in Colorado that one of the major law enforcement challenges facing the Forest Service is unauthorized use of off-road vehicles in sensitive areas. Would you agree, and would you elaborate a little bit on that if you have a position?
Mr. WASLEY. Yes, off-road vehicles represent a tremendous challenge to the law enforcement. As you know, they create tremendous resource damage. I was only recently on the Uwharrie National Forest in North Carolina that has but 16 miles of roads, and I saw first-hand the damage that off-road vehicles do. They compress the ground so nothing can grow; they create mud bogs; they create damage to streams; it is a tremendous problem for law enforcement. We tried to combat this type of problem, of course, by engineering roads and trails to keep the four-wheelers or the two-wheelers on those roads. We try to educate people on the roads that are available, and if all else fails, we write tickets.
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. I would certainly lend my emphasis to the effort to educate people. I think everybody on the Committee would agree that there are some good efforts going on in the off-road use community, but there are still some pretty bad actors out there that have a very negative impact on the resource.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me ask you another question. Again, in Colorado, we have got enormous cultural and archeological resources on public lands, and they are becoming more and more a part of our economy, frankly; people come to see those cultural and archeological treasures. I am concerned we are not providing you with enough resources to manage those treasures. Do you care to comment on that and whether you need additional help in that regard?
Mr. WASLEY. I would like to explain that one of our four investigational priorities, certainly, is the Archeological Resource Protection Actwe call it ARPA. Along with cannabis eradication, timber theft, and wild land arson, those are the four major investigational areas we have, and of course we could use more assistance there. I would point out that last year, members of the Forest Service made the largest ARPA case, I believe, in United States history inI believe it was in Utah, and wherein we brought a series of charges against some individuals there for desecration of sites and actual theft from archeological sites. It remains a top investigational priority for us.
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. Were these so-called pot hunters that you were able to apprehend or do you know the particulars of that case?
Mr. WASLEY. I don't recall the particulars of that case, but, generally, a lot of folks tend to think that these are just minor thefts with people with shovels, but sometimes they have employed backhoes, dynamite, blasting. In this case in Utah, if memory serves, they actually desecrated a cave, which was a cultural site for some Native Americans.
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. Let me move to timber theft enforcement. I have run across some interesting documents that had talked about this being a significant problem. Chief Robertson back in the eighties had suggested that financial impacts to all of us, to the taxpayers, range, perhaps, between $10 million and $100 million. How significant a problem is this, and what kinds of methods do people and corporations, in some cases, use to literally steal trees?
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WASLEY. It is a large problem, the extent of which is almost impossible to determine. One of the reasons that it is difficult to determine the nature of the problem or the extent of the problem is the fact that Forest Service is shrinking in size. Several years ago, we had 40,000 employees; now we have in the low thirties. That gives us many, many fewer eyes and ears in the forest to look for these illegal cuts of timber. We have less people out there seeing people performing illegal activities, hence, less comes to us.
I would also point out that there is less timber being cut. Only a few years ago, we cut 11 billion board feet of timber; now, we cut 2 billion board feet of timber or a little over 2 billion board feet. The simple amountreduction in amount would thereby shrink the universe of criminality. Certain types of timber theft would be the shifting of boundary lines and stake-out lines; delineating the size of the timber cutmove it out 100 yards, suddenly you have a large timber theft with the simple moving of boundary lines; scaling problems; unauthorized cuts, the whole myriad of things, plus contract fraud.
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. Was this your number one priority, a top priority or in your top three? I hear you say you don't maybe have all the resources you need to handle this problem.
Mr. WASLEY. I would say it is in the top four.
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. Top four? Losses from timber theftdo you account for those in the receipts from timber sales? How does this show up on, if you will, the taxpayers' balance sheet?
Mr. WASLEY. There again, it is very difficult to determine actually the amount of loss for the reasons I have stated.
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. So, you can't even determine, really the losses so that you can then quantify
Mr. WASLEY. We are working onconstantly working on methods to improve our timber theft investigational capacities or capabilities. Right now, I cannot give you a definitive answer on the extent of the loss.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. One last question on another topic. I know there are concerns expressed here about so-called eco-terrorists, but I know that on the other side of the equation some Federal employeesForest Service people, BLM employeeshave been intimidated, been harassed, and in some cases violence has been directed towards them. What is the status of your investigations into those situations where public employees have been subject to that kind of treatment?
Mr. WASLEY. We have numerous attacks against our own. I believe the year was 1997the last year that I have figures forI believe there was 355 assaults against Forest Service employees. They run the entire gamut of verbal assaults, to physical assaults, to threats, intimidations, and on and on, to actually a kidnap and a rape.
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. Thank you very much. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Udall.
The Chair now recognizes Mr. Sherwood for questions.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mr. Wasley, I understand the educational mission and that the FBI is in charge of your investigative, even though I guess your title is law enforcement and investigations, but I would like to askand I think you said your budget was $600 million?
Mr. WASLEY. Sixty-six million.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Sixty-six million, thank you; that is quite an error on my part. Thank you for straightening me out.
Mr. WASLEY. I wish is it was $600 million.
Mr. SHERWOOD. I mean, that is a typical Washingtonese there.
Did you pay close attention to Mr. Hairston's testimony? Do you have anything that you would like to question in his testimony?
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WASLEY. I think Mr. Hairston has some valid points. I think that it is a matter of perspective and, perhaps, a matter of us communicating to him better the way that we work. I was struck with the fact that there was a six-hour delay in us arriving at a particular scene.
Mr. SHERWOOD. I was very struck by that; that is where I am going.
Mr. WASLEY. Right; I will head you off. We have 155 national forests that we patrol and police, and for us to collect personnel to focus on a particular area, like Cove Mallard, it takes us a while to get there. I am begging the question a little bit, but for us to mobilize our forces, sometimes we have to bring folks in from a substantial ways out.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Well, sir, I think you are begging that question quite a bit. After it happened the first time, I see no reasonable explanation that weren't ready for them the next time. I mean, this man had a legitimate job to do on a legitimate timber road building, and his peoplethe way it sounds to menot only were intimidated and harassed but put in danger, and the whole project was endangered, and if you are the head of that organization, you have a $66 million budget and all those employees, coming to this thing pretty new, it sounds to me like your agency didn't want to do much about that.
Mr. WASLEY. That is not my impression nor my direction to any of the folks who work for me.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Well, how do you explain, then, that after this happened the first day, you weren't there with the manpower and the firepower to keep it from happening again?
Mr. WASLEY. I would point out that we made 123 arrests there, and they had 262 charges filed in Federal court along with over 20 cases filed in State court for arrests and detention and tickets.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SHERWOOD. Over what period of time?
Mr. WASLEY. That would be over a four and a half-year periodfive-year period.
Mr. SHERWOOD. So, apparently, nobody got them put away very well.
Mr. WASLEY. The process, as you know, is multi-staged. It is easy to allege; it is more difficult to investigate; it is more prosecute; to convict is yet another area, and then to sentence is in the purview of the courts.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Yes, I understand that, but I would assume your officers are pretty good witnesses. If they were there and they saw what was going on, I would assume that they would be pretty good witnesses in court.
Mr. WASLEY. I am sure my officers were very good witnesses in court. That doesn't always carry the day in court, unfortunately.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Do you feel that this is going to be a continuing problem?
Mr. WASLEY. I think that timber protests will be a continuing problem, yes.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Well, do you feel that you will be able to handle them?
Mr. WASLEY. We have very limited resources.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Sixty-six million dollars?
Mr. WASLEY. One hundred and fifty-five national forests.
Mr. SHERWOOD. But it doesn't seem to happen too many places.
Mr. WASLEY. We had over 700 arrests in Oregon.
Mr. SHERWOOD. What do you suggest, sir?
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WASLEY. I suggest that we continue to cooperate with our local cooperators and vigorously enforce the law.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Do you think that will be more successful in the future than it has been in the past?
Mr. WASLEY. I don't know.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Because if I read this testimony and listen carefully, it was Mr. Hairston's thought that we were doing better when we had local enforcement and slower when we got Federal enforcement. I wasn't there; I am just listening to the testimony.
Mr. WASLEY. I think that is Mr. Hairston's perception. I don't think it is correct.
Mr. SHERWOOD. So, you don't think that it took six hours to respond?
Mr. WASLEY. Oh, it may well have taken six hours to respond.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Well, then
Mr. WASLEY. In one instance.
Mr. SHERWOOD. In one instance but not as a matter of course?
Mr. WASLEY. I wouldn't know. Perhaps, not; perhapswe were all on the scene for days on end.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Well, why wouldn't you know? You are the Director of that organization.
Mr. WASLEY. Some things I don't have at my fingertips. I will have to research it, and get back to you, if you wish.
Mr. SHERWOOD. But you did know what this was to be about today?
Mr. WASLEY. Oh, yes, I did.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SHERWOOD. Thank you very much.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Wasley, I just wanted a point of clarification following up on the previous line of questioning.
There were 700 arrests in Oregon over what period of time?
Mr. WASLEY. Excuse me. I believe it was 1996.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. In one year, there were 700 arrests by
Mr. WASLEY. Approximately.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. [continuing] Federal?
Mr. WASLEY. By Forest Service working in conjunction with local cooperators.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Okay. Could you provide the Committee with the documentation, please?
Mr. WASLEY. I am sorry. I was just informed it was since 1992since 1992, we have made 700 arrests in Oregon, and I will be happy to provide you with that documentation.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Okay. I appreciate that. But last year, you were appropriated $66 million.
Mr. WASLEY. Approximately.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Yes, okay. Thank you.
The Chair now recognizes Grace Napolitano for questions.
Ms. NAPOLITANO. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Listening here toand I came in a little late, so I didn't hear all the testimonybut one of the things that I am hearing is that there is an issue with vandalism and theft of timber, et cetera, et cetera. Is this problem getting worse?
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WASLEY. Oh, I think so. If you look at the simple number of visitors to the national forests, which has gone from, several years ago, maybe 150 million to over 1 billion visitors, there is going to be a certain amount of criminality that follows that visitor usage.
Ms. NAPOLITANO. Okay. Then, I guess it leads into my next question which is, number one, what would be the solution? Certainly, you have gone from over 40,000 employees to the low thirties, you stated, and what is the reason for this? Is it the budgeting? Is it people not wanting to go into forestry service? What is that reason?
Mr. WASLEY. I believe, in my estimation, it is budget cuts. We have had to shrink the size to stay within budget.
Ms. NAPOLITANO. At the time you had 40,000 employeesand I understand there is not that much of a relevancebut what was your budget when you had 40,000 employees?
Mr. WASLEY. I really don't know, because my organization only took its current form in 1994, and, at that time, I think we had less than 40,000. So, my budget is pretty much flat for the last several years.
Ms. NAPOLITANO. Do you have a lot of openings right now for forestry? Is there a need for additional personnel?
Mr. WASLEY. I am going to speak only of law enforcement investigations, and we have many vacancies.
Ms. NAPOLITANO. You have many vacancies, okay.
Mr. WASLEY. That is correct.
Ms. NAPOLITANO. I was reading in some of the information that we were given that you have a lot of citizen complaints that are being filed against the Forest Service, and I am assuming it refers to all of Forestry, not necessarily the investigative area alone. Can you explain what the nature of those complaints might be, in general?
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WASLEY. There again, the complaints range anywhere from not being treated with the due respect in a campground, for example, to allegations of theft, of mismanagement, of contract fraud, an entire range; everywhere from discourtesy to criminal violation.
Ms. NAPOLITANO. And in these criminal violations, has there been a follow-up to make sure that due process is followed and those people are punished?
Mr. WASLEY. Absolutely correct. We work in conjunction with the Office of the Inspector General in the Agriculture Department who has primary oversight responsibility for these investigations. Generally speaking, the Inspector General will refer those back to the Forest Service law enforcement investigations for follow-up.
Ms. NAPOLITANO. Is restitution required?
Mr. WASLEY. It depends on the court; that is the prerogative of the court.
Ms. NAPOLITANO. I see. Then, part of what I am gathering is that you have various problemssome being budget, some being staffing, and some, of course, the increase in your visitors to the national forests. What would you suggest might be an approach that might address being able to handle the multitude of visitors as well as having a trained and effective workforce?
Mr. WASLEY. I think that clearly budgetary increases would help an awful lot.
Ms. NAPOLITANO. It isn't always the budget.
Mr. WASLEY. No, that is true. With budgetary increases, however, I could give more money to local cooperators.
Ms. NAPOLITANO. But are you making any more money from these visitors in the certain areas where you have charges to access?
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WASLEY. There is a program now called the Fee Demonstration Project, which I am not familiar how much it is making. It is clearly out of my area of expertise. I really don't know if
Ms. NAPOLITANO. Could you get us that information, because we need to be able to understand the correlation between being able to provide the service and the cost to the taxpayer? Certainly, the rest of the taxpayers don't want to bear the burden for somebody else's recreation, and if some of those people that are abusing the landthose four-by-four vehicle users or two-wheelersthen, certainly, there may be something that we may be able to follow through, and that is if education doesn't work; if providing them with upfront information about them abusing the land and being able to have them pay for some of the repair of the some of the damage that the organizations may cause, because some of those organizations are doing their work for recreation, although I don't want to see that, but maybe that might help them respect the land and not cause the degradation of the forests.
Mr. WASLEY. Okay.
Ms. NAPOLITANO. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Ms. Napolitano.
The Chair now recognizes Mr. Peterson for questions.
Mr. PETERSON. I thank the Chair. Welcome to the panelists. I missed some of the testimony, but I have been trying to catch up.
Mr. Walsey, you stated you recognized the FBI as your lead agency. Why the FBI?
Mr. WASLEY. I recognize the FBI as the lead agency in certain investigational areas. Certainly, the FBI would not necessarily have the lead in timber theft investigations, ARPA investigations, marijuana, cannabis eradication, or wild land fire, arson, investigations. They would be the lead investigative agency in echo-terrorism or domestic terrorism.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PETERSON. Okay. How do you involve them?
Mr. WASLEY. Generally, they would involve themselves.
Mr. PETERSON. But they are not out on the force.
Mr. WASLEY. Correct. They would become aware of an incident either directly from uswe may well give them a copy of our report, say; make a verbal report to them that this or that was happening on a national forest, and they would make a determination to enter the investigation.
Mr. PETERSON. Okay, so you have a problem going on. How far up your ladder does it go before it goes to the FBI?
Mr. WASLEY. It could go right from the local most basic level to the FBI.
Mr. PETERSON. They could make that call?
Mr. WASLEY. Absolutely.
Mr. PETERSON. Okay. And you mentioned that the Cove Mallard situation did not reach your level, so somebody locally could have involved the FBI there?
Mr. WASLEY. That is correct. Most likelyto specify, it would no doubt be a special agent working for meone of 137 special agents I have, which would be on site at Cove Mallard or close by.
Mr. PETERSON. Do you utilize State police or local sheriff at all? Local police?
Mr. WASLEY. Oh, yes.
Mr. PETERSON. You do? When do you bring them in?
Mr. WASLEY. Well, as the chairman stated, they have primary jurisdiction over State laws on national forests. We are in close contact with most every county sheriff that has anything at all to do with the National Forest System.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PETERSON. I guess, my experience from the State level, I know there is nothing that I think that is more important than catching drug dealers especially to protect our kids, and yet I know that some attorney generals work with the State police and local police. Some have their ownsome State police will work with local police; some don't. I mean, it is not as good out there as we would like it to be in cooperation, because everybody wants to take credit for the success, and, unfortunately, that is the downfall.
It just seems to me that an agency like yoursthat I am very supportive ofneeds to be the person that maybe patrolling your own grounds, but when there is very serious trouble, it really seems to me that there needs to be a network, depending on what it is, that is instantly involved, and it seems to me that local agencies have the knowledge of who the local problems are. Now, if it is not a local problem and it is somebody that is being shipped in to cause a problem, that is a different ballgame, but it seems to me there is something loose in this network that doesn't work like it should. Would you agree with that?
Mr. WASLEY. I think that is a perception. I am 31 years in this line of work, and I was a local policeman. I spent 20 years with the Secret Service and with Customs and overseas and all over the place. So, I have a lot of different perspectives on this, and, believe me, I speak police. I understand that language really well. I have traveled throughout the United Statesall 50 Statesand it has been my experience, the vast majority of local cooperatives that we have are on board with us.
Your points are well taken, but you have to also understand that my folks are out there. Generally, they have lived in those communities for years and years. They are probably more adept at topographical and geographical knowledge of the National Forest System than the local sheriffs are.
And I might also point out that very many sheriff's offices are less staffed than we are, or are more thinly staffed than we are. They are primarily responsible to their population centers, which are generally not on the national forests; there is the problem.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PETERSON. Well, I think rural America is on the short end all the way around.
Mr. WASLEY. I agree.
Mr. PETERSON. As activity comes to rural America, we need to not be on the short end.
Mr. WASLEY. I agree.
Mr. PETERSON. And if you have a cooperative effort where you don't have to have thislike, if we could triple your basethat is a lot of moneybut we don't need to triple your number of people everyday; we need to triple it when there is serious problems, but that is why State police, sheriffs, local police, all the other enforcement units joining hands, that is how we
Mr. WASLEY. Let me give you an example of a recent success that we have had. An unfortunate situation occurred in California in Stanislaus National Forest where three young people were murdered. Our officers were some of the first on the scene on that tragedy. We stabilized the scene until the Stanislaus County Sheriff got there. We handed off the investigation to them. They worked it as well as they could. When it came out of their local area, they called in the FBI. Pretty seamlessgranted, we don't have everyday seamless operations without grief and headache, but this one, it worked well, and I would submit to this Committee that, far and away, the vast majority of relationships we have are sound and are working well.
Mr. PETERSON. When you have an incident, what is your means of communication if you need support today; not tomorrow, not next week, but today? How do you bring in sheriffs, State police? You have an incident that is potentially serious, how do you communicate? What kind of a system do you have?
Mr. WASLEY. It really depends on the extent of the emergency. We can implement what we call the incident command system, which is a command post system where we will go on all the local frequencies, and we generally have cooperating agreements with the local sheriffs that would encompass just such an emergency.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PETERSON. Okay, I guess my time is up. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Peterson.
Mr. Tom Udall is recognized for questions.
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. Thank you, Madam Chair. Thank you, members of the panel for being here with us today.
Mr. Wasley, I would just like to ask you a couple of questions about the timber theft investigation branch. My understanding is that in 1991, this Timber Theft Task Force was created in response to two alleged commercial timber theft cases with multimillion dollar losses, and, in fact, there were some big recoveries in 1993 following on the heels of that from the, I guess, Columbia River Scaling Bureau and the Thomas Creek Lumber and Log Company; one of them paying $1.5 million, one of them paying $50,000 penalty and then a civil assessment of $1.7 million. And it looked like the agency was moving very aggressively against timber theftand you are nodding your head that apparently they were.
Then it seems like the Forest Service did a turnabout and Jack Ward Thomas in 1995 abolishedthe Forest Service Chief abolished this right when there were three big cases under investigation. I am wonderingwhat is the code name for those casesModel T, Rodeo, Shuffleare those cases dormant? I mean, where are they? Have they been closed?
I understand you have a Freedom of Information Act request pending, and it seems to me that looking at the dollars that have come in that we have reached the end of this, and we shouldn't expect to see any more cases. Where are we on that?
Mr. WASLEY. If the question is about those three particular cases? I am sorry, I
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. Well, the question goes to the heart of are you aggressively pursuing commercial timber theft?
Mr. WASLEY. Again, I am a policeman, and I love to make cases like that. I can assure you and the rest of the members of the Committee here that as a criminal investigator, that is what you pay me to do is to make those kind of cases. Specifically regarding the Timber Theft Task Force, that was a group that was given a lifespan which expired before I took over. I will tell you this: that I looked at the results of the task force. I would have abolished it myself, and I was an outsider coming in just looking at results. I have worked with task forces throughout my 31 years. I didn't see it as worthy as continued to be staffed.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. Now, what has happened to those cases that the task force was handling? Clearly, if they were, as you say, cases of merit, cases that should have proceeded, then we should go forward with those, shouldn't we?
Mr. WASLEY. Absolutely. If there is any
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. What is the status of those cases?
Mr. WASLEY. Well, the first oneI was just handed thisthe FBI looked at the Rodeo case, and it was closed, and the FBI said there was nothing more to go on this, from what I am told.
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. Tell meyou have primary jurisdiction in the casewhy does the FBI look at the case and close the case?
Mr. WASLEY. We wanted to involve them for a lot of reasons. Again, this was all happening literally within my first weeks in office. I think we turned to the FBI because of their resources in the Portland area and perhaps another jurisdictional area. I would rather research this and get back to you on this for the exact reasons, because I just don't know.
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. Okay, so the one case is closedwhat was it, Rodeo, you said?
Mr. WASLEY. Rodeo.
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. The Rodeo is closed. How about the other two?
Mr. WASLEY. The Model T and thewhat is it, the Shuffle or Shuttle?
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. Yes, Shuffle.
Mr. WASLEY. I don't know. I don't have any information. I will have to get back to you on those.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. Okay, but you are telling me that you are in the position and since you have held this position, you are aggressively pursuing commercial timber theft?
Mr. WASLEY. Yes, and what I have done is rather than have a centralized task force operating out of some particular areawhich may well have served a purpose for its timeI have charged each special agent in charge in all the nine regions who work for me to aggressively pursue timber cases, and, clearly, I monitor their results. We have developed training modules; we have developed methods of working this type of case, but the responsibility or the accountability is at the special agent, at the regional level.
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. Has the number of people since the task force was abolished that are pursuing these kinds of cases, have those numbers of people gone down?
Mr. WASLEY. Not necessarily, because
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. So, you are using the same number of people, roughly, on commercial timber theft cases like this?
Mr. WASLEY. There again, if you consider we have 137 investigators, each one of them is tasked with our 4 investigational priorities as are all the uniformed folks.
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. The thing I am wondering about, I have got a chart up here that shows in 1993, that over $3.3 million were recovered as a part of this task force effort, and then in 1995, it dropped off to $363,000 and then in 1997, just $5,000, and in 1998, it is back up to $300,000. I mean, it looks like this task force was doing a very good job, and your testimony is in conflict with that. I am wondering how is that to be explained?
Mr. WASLEY. To me, it looks like early success is based on fertile ground, if you will, and then our training modules take over, and the successes trail off as does the timber harvest. I think you will find they are probably parallel decreases.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. So, you can assure this Committee that all of thethere is a lot surrounding this, as you well know. I mean, there are whistleblowers that are out there that have been moved from the task force into other areas, and they have made complaints, and I don't know whether or not there are lawsuits going on there. There have been suggestions by the government accountability project and others that you are lessening enforcement on commercial dealers and commercial operators as opposed to small people that are dealing in firewood. Can you assure the Committee that that is not happening?
Mr. WASLEY. I can assure this Committee that I take my responsibility as head of the Forest Service Law Enforcement Programthat timber theft is a priority, and I want to make as many timber theft cases as possible.
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. And commercial timber theft is, you said, a number four priority?
Mr. WASLEY. I said it is one of four.
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. One of four. But it is a top priority?
Mr. WASLEY. Absolutely.
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. Okay.
Mr. WASLEY. And I would add to that, what we call now would be timber theft and forest product theft, because not only is timber being stolen from the Forest Service, all sorts of other thingsmaybe echinecia and pine needles or whatever is growing out there, mushroomsall these things are subject to theft. They are all part of our investigational priorities.
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. Have you been getting thorough cooperation from theis the U.S. Attorney's Office the ones that prosecute these cases?
Mr. WASLEY. Correct.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. And have they been cooperating with you? I mean, there isn't any problem there?
Mr. WASLEY. The United States Attorney's Office has a very full slate, and sometimes it is very difficult to get property claims on a docket, on a prosecutorial docket, when they have murder cases.
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. Yes, well, I was a Federal prosecutor at one point in my career, so I understand that from the variety of cases. And none of this is meant to cause an aspersion on you, but I wanted to try to clear up this cloud that is out there. I mean, if you look at some of these pamphlets and things, it would give the impression that there is some real problems in terms of getting after commercial timber theft, and I hope you will continue to pursue that. Thank you very much.
Mr. WASLEY. We have had some recent successes. If the Committee would like a list of these recent successes, I would be happy to provide them.
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. Sure. Yes, please. Can he have permission, Madam Chair, unanimous consent to supplement the record in that respect?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Yes, I would be happy to receive your report. Thank you very much.
Mr. UDALL OF NEW MEXICO. Thank you for being so gracious and letting me use a little extra time there, Madam Chair.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Udall.
Mr. Hairston, I have some questions for you. Have you or any of your employees or any of the members of the community ever received any threatsindividually or to your familiesfrom these Earth First protestors in your area?
Mr. HAIRSTON. Yes, ma'am, myself, personally, my employees; we have been verbally threatened. The protestors have made statements, ''We are going to find your house and burn it down. We are going to kill your family.'' They are quite adamant about these things, and they have went to the extent that they know who we are. They call you by a first name basis when you come out onto the projects.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I also know of a case where one of the lead Forest Service law enforcement individuals was threatened with his life too, and after that happened, he eventually was reassigned and eventually retired. I don't know because of that, but I do know that he was threatened himself.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, I assume you made an official report of these threats.
Mr. HAIRSTON. We always tell the Federal agents who are usually the ones on site about any of these type of threats we have, and usually the response is, ''Well, if we apprehend these people, then we will help you to pursue prosecution.''
Mrs. CHENOWETH. If who apprehends them? The county sheriff or the Federal law enforcement officers?
Mr. HAIRSTON. Yes, ma'am. If the Federal agents apprehend the tree sittersthat is usually who the threats are coming fromif those people are apprehended, they will then help us to pursue the prosecution of those individuals.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Can you recall any specific situations that prompted the Forest Service law enforcement officials to be more aggressive in apprehending and arresting these folks?
Mr. HAIRSTON. Yes, ma'am. I have one particular case that happened last summer that is somewhat off-colored but entertaining. We had several tree sitters in the road right-of-way and were having difficulty getting them to come down out of the trees, and we had many, many law enforcement people there. Nothing was happening, though. They were still being supplied by their cohorts; they were still getting food and water up their tree. What happened in this particular case was several Federal law enforcement officers were standing below a tree and one of the protestors urinated out of the tree onto the Federal officers, and I believe that enraged the officers so much that they put a 24-hour vigil on that tree; would not let any support people come to the tree and supply the protestor with food or water until he was forced to rappel down out of the tree, and then he was promptly arrested and hauled to jail. But the other protestors that were 200 yards in front of him and 200 yards in back of him in trees were freely supplied. They weren't as aggressively watched, and they were able to eventually rappel out of their trees and escape without being arrested.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. So, they didn't apply the same enforcement to the other protestors.
Mr. HAIRSTON. In this case, no, they did not.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Have Forest Service and local law enforcement officials ever been a hinderance to your company's contractual obligations in road building?
Mr. HAIRSTON. This last year, in particular, we were hindered by the Federal law enforcement in many cases. We had an excess of officers on site. There were protestors clearly violating the law, and they were not being arrested. As you know, these are small roads in the mountains that we are trying to build, and we would be having to deal with in excess of 10 vehicles from Forest Service law enforcement, trying to work our road building equipment around their vehicles on a small, one-lane road. We had the law enforcement people several times halting our production for them to decide how they were going to deal with the protestors in the trees or on the ground, and we eventually got to the point where we asked the Forest Service law enforcement to either write us a written shut down or we were going to proceed with the road building. They never did write us a written shut down, the law enforcement.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Was the county sheriff involved in any of the hindrances?
Mr. HAIRSTON. Not in these cases, he wasn't, ma'am. What Idaho County sheriffs have ran into so many times is these are Federal laws that the protestors are violating. They are violating an area closure law that was implemented by the district ranger or the forest supervisor or maintaining a structure on Federal land, and unless the protestors are vandalizing our equipment, a lot of times the county sheriff wasn't on site. He just couldn't, once again, afford to have deputies up there during all the protests, because it was a daily occurrence; every day we were battling this.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I have seen pictures of equipment that has been used, and Mr. Christianson has supplied me with some of these pictures. Could you explain this picture? It shows about 12 Forest Service people around a campfire in front of a big, huge tripod-type structure that they have established?
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Picture.]
Mr. HAIRSTON. Yes, ma'am. Once again, we are waiting for the Federal law enforcement to take action to remove these protestors so that we can go to work. We are sitting herebehind the man with the orange jacket, there is probably 15 Highland employees waiting to go to work and trying to get to work, and this is what we ran into a great deal was once we finally got Federal law enforcement on site, they would take hours to decide how to try to remove these protestors or what course of action they were going to take.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. There is another picture that I have here with a bucket, it looks like, full of huge nails. Can you explain what theselooks like spikes?
Mr. HAIRSTON. Yes, ma'am, if I could get one moreI have a couple of representative spikes that are the typical items used by the Earth Firsters. What this picture is, is a
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Now, how do they use them? Please explain for the Committee.
Mr. HAIRSTON. As you can see in the photo, there is a branch off a tree that have the spikes driven through it, and they will bury that in the roadway so that any rubber-tired vehicle, being it a support pick-up or a road grader, once they run over those spikes, then it has disabled that vehicle, and they will also drive the spikes into trees and put the spikes, themselves, just into the roadway to disable the vehicle, and it just becomes very dangerous. The roadways, themselves, are usually a 14- to 16-foot wide road, which, in many cases, is a very steep cut on the downhill side, and if you have a tire blowout when you are going along this road, many times it can be very serious.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. What happens when these spikes are driven into trees that are to be harvested?
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HAIRSTON. It becomes very life-threatening for the timber faller. If he is sawing through one of these trees and doesn't know a spike is in it and his chain from his chainsaw hits it, it can shatter the chain, and a chainsaw usually runs at about 13,000 rpm, and it can severely cut or kill him. If it makes it past the timber faller, then it goes into a sawmill where the blades of the sawmill are extremely thin and fragile and when they hit a metal spike like this, they also will shatter, and there are more people there that can be injured.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And, so then the chainsaw or the saws in the plainers or the mills act like shrapnel?
Mr. HAIRSTON. Yes, ma'am. The blades, themselves, break and act as a shrapnel that goes out and injures anyone near enough to get hit by that flying debris.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Do you know, personally, of injuries that have occurred like that?
Mr. HAIRSTON. Yes, I have heard of several cases in sawmills where people have been injured by that. I know of cases where one of our sawers hit a spike. It broke the chain on the chainsaw. It did not injure him, but it did destroy the chain and several hours of lost production.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Rpm's on those chainsaws, again, are how much?
Mr. HAIRSTON. Approximately 10,000 to 13,000 revolutions per minute.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I have another picture here that shows a random stack of logs and a big pipe in the middle of the road. Would you please explain this?
Mr. HAIRSTON. Yes, this happens on a daily basis. When we leave the project in the evenings, many times the protestors are out there all night doing this type of vandalism. They will take the metal culvert that is stockpiled to be put in the road, and they willfirst off, they will punch holes in that culvert with a pick or an axe just ruining the pipe, and then they will stack it up in these type of structures along with all the wooded debris that they have pulled off from the side of the road to make it impassible. Other acts they do are take these metal pipes and roll them down the hill so that we have to retrieve the pipes that are 100 or 200 feet over the bank. It takes several men and pieces of equipment to do. After the pipe is ruined, it takes a whole other shipment of pipe to come in to continue our road building.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Is the Forest Service willing, in your contract, to pay you for these new culverts and the new labor that you have had to put in over and above the bid specs of plain old road building to retrieve culverts, to clean it up, to clean up the wood that is piled in the middle of your workplace?
Mr. HAIRSTON. No, they have not been, to date, and we have repeatedly asked for any type of help that we can get. We have asked for compensation for the destroyed culvert, and that falls in ourthat tells us that falls in our area, because that was a stockpiled material, and it doesn't become possession of theirs until it is installed in the roadway.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Has the Forest Service ever advised you on change orders in your contracts in order to provide for these additional costs?
Mr. HAIRSTON. I guess it wouldn't be so much of a change order as it would bethe way we have been informed, it would go under a claim situation against the contract, and we have filed those claims, and, to date, have been denied.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Has the Forest Service ever offered to provide security, then, for equipment that you have had to stockpile on the job according to their bids on stacks?
Mr. HAIRSTON. No, they have not, and we havethis conflict has been going on since 1992 in our particular case on several different road projects. Every year, before we go out onto the project, we usually have a meeting with the Forest Service that involves law enforcement officers. They know this is happening; this isn't a secret. Every year, it has been getting worse and worse. We have repeatedly asked to have our equipment guarded when it is not in use or our staging areasto have our diesel tanks and our stockpiled materials there, and we have always been denied that. They have never
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mrs. Platt, I wanted to ask you, how well is the Animal Enterprise Act working to protect you and your membership?
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. PLATT. Well, the Animal Enterprise Protection Act was passed several years ago in response to these sort of attacks on animal-based industries. It should probably be expanded to resource-based industries, because when people get attacked over saving trees or wild animals, it is just an extension of the same philosophy. We find it works very well in that there is a $10,000 trigger for involvement for the FBI which is reached very quickly on a farm or, say, a research facility that has just been bombed. So, the FBI gets involved very, very early in the investigation. However, on the ground, local law enforcement is very, very good, and often times the FBI involvement actually disrupts the local procedures, and real basic things, such as interviews with suspects, get forgotten as the FBI takes over the scene, and there is a little bit of chaos in the investigative arm.
We also find the FBI is treating these incidents as individual acts of terrorism, but they don't look at it as a pattern of a movement. So, each individual act is treated within a territory of the FBI, and information does not cross quickly across State lines. The FBI is still working with paper in an antiquated system, while the opposition is working in an electronic age and passing information worldwide in seconds. So, we are always a day late, a dollar short.
The FBI is limited by privacy concerns, and therefore cannot look at the atmosphere, general patterns, the information on private individuals. Industry has to supply that to them, so we are constantly monitoring the opposition and handing it to the FBI to get past privacy concerns. Whereas, if we simply looked instead at individual actions, if it was looked as a pattern of a terrorist, an international network, we could address it a lot better.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I would like to work with you further on this, Ms. Platt.
Ms. PLATT. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And I just have one final question for Mr. Wasley. As you know, Mr. Hairston has a Freedom of Information Act request with your office. Will you please provide the Subcommittee with all relevant documents pertaining to his particular request by June 1, 1999?
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WASLEY. I will.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I have other questions of all of the panelists, but I will submit them to you in writing. Should any of you wish to update or supplement your testimony, you have 10 working days to do so, and we will submitting questions in writing right away.
I want to thank the panelists for your patience. It has been a long paneland hour and a halfand thank you again very much, and this panel is excused.
The Chair will call the final panel nowMr. Dale Anderson, president of the Pennsylvania Forest Industry Association, Ridgway, Pennsylvania; Ms. Sheila Keller, treasurer, Montana Women in Timber, Kalispell, Montana, and, Mr. Brett Johnson, of Forks, Washington. Two of the brightest members that we had on this CommitteeMr. Rick Hill and Mr. John Petersonwill be introducing two of the panel members, and so just as soon as they come up, I will recognize Mr. Hill for his introduction of Mr. Andersonof Ms. Keller.
Mr. HILL. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Madam Chairman, I am proud to introduce Sheila Keller from Kalispell, Montana, originally a native of Iowa; moved to Montana 13 years agolike most of us, weren't born there but got there as quick as she could. Her husband's family has been engaged in logging and farming in Montana for four generations. She and her husband own three log trucks. She has a degree of education from the University of Montana. I am pleased to welcome Ms. Keller.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Hill.
And the Chair now recognizes Mr. Peterson for his introduction.
Mr. PETERSON. It is a pleasure to introduce Dale Anderson, president of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association. We have worked together for many years on fighting for good management in the Allegheny National Forest and all of the high quality forest that surrounds it. Dale and I are very proud that the forest we speak of, the ANF and surroundingI guess I could saymillions of acres, is probably the finest hardwood forest in America, one that came from about 100 years ago when a hemlock forest, a beach forest, was removed, and the good Lord gave us one of the finest forests. Of course, on Dale's card, he has the black cherry capital of the world, and there is a couple-county area where 50 percent of the veneer cherry in America comes from, and much of that is on the Allegheny National Forest also, but it is a very mature forest; it is a very high quality forest, and it is one that can be providing very high quality wood products to this country as long as we professionally manage it and treat it well, and I think the Forest Service has done a pretty good job of that, and that is why it is such a high quality forest today.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And Dale wants to speak a little about the Endangered Species Act, the appeals process, and other management directions that are being taken and the impact on neighboring communities if some of the things that are happening continue. So, without any further ado, it is a pleasure to welcome Dale here to speak to us.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, and thank you for sending these members back; I appreciate you.
I would like for you to stand and take the oath, if you would. Raise your right hand to the square.
The Chair now recognizes Mr. Anderson for his statement.
STATEMENT OF DALE E. ANDERSON, PRESIDENT, PENNSYLVANIA FOREST INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, RIDGWAY, PENNSYLVANIA
Mr. ANDERSON. Thank you, Madam Chairman and Honorable John Peterson. It is a real pleasure to be here. I want you to know this wasn't part of my talk, but we do have extremists in our area that operate, and I will be glad to submit this to the Committee.
My name is Dale Anderson, and I am president of the Pennsylvania Forest Industry Association. This is a grassroots organization of people that work in the forest industry and other citizens. We have been organized since 1963. I will testifying as the president of the Pennsylvania Forest Industry Association.
The timber resources of our National Forest System, including the Allegheny National Forest are slowly and quietly deteriorating due to a lack of forest management. The present policies of the Forest Service contribute to the decline of the health of the forests, batter the rural communities, and contribute to worldwide ecologic problems by exporting our demands for forest products to other countries with low environmental priorities.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My history with the Allegheny started with my high school days. I worked for a couple of years on the fire control team. Later, I worked on the Allegheny doing timber stand improvement. It was this experience that led me on to a degree in forestry from West Virginia University. The investments made in the sixties by the Forest Service to improve these timber stands are now becoming ripe. For us to disregard this investment is not fair to the people of this country.
While attending college, I worked as a fire control aid on the St. Joe National Forest in your beautiful State of Idaho, Madam Chairman. I have fond memories of my summer out there. I have had experiences with and been an observer of the U.S. Forest Service in the East and in the West over a long period of time. Over time, we have seen a steady escalation in the cost of administering all national forests. Due to the tree species of high demand and high value on the Allegheny, we can still operate in a fashion to cover costs and return money to the United States Treasury and to the schools and townships of Warren, Forest, Elk, and McKean Counties.
The latest numbers I have for Fiscal Year 1998 on the Allegheny show income of about $23.2 million. Almost all of this revenue is from timber harvesting. One-fourth of this money, or about $5.8 million, was returned to townships and schools in four northwestern Pennsylvania counties. Over this same time period, income of $105,000 was generated from recreation or special use permits. Some people have said that we can replace the dollars from sustainable timber harvesting with recreation dollars. On the Allegheny, we will need to increase recreation by about 220 times to replace the return from timber. Or the current fees will need to be raised by a factor of 220 to replace the timber revenues. Now, we don't think this is going to occur due to the limits of reality and to the law of diminishing returns. There is absolutely no replacement for the energy, the vitality, and the activity generated from sustainable harvest of forest crops.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are seeing many examples of large, beautiful, high-value black cherry and red oak trees lying horizontal and rotting on the ground. These trees have been brought down by high winds. This is nothing new; it has been going on for as long as we have had wind and trees. What is new is the total lack of ability of the people now running the forest to do anything about it. It is a shame to let the people's high-value resources rot on the ground.
The Forest Service tells us that ''We are working on it; we need more money, and as soon as we get this or that study done, we will act.'' The evidence is that the Allegheny National Forest is becoming an area full of dead trees that look like skeletons with bark and limbs falling off. Reproduction of desired tree species is delayed or impossible and the industry is going elsewhere for raw material.
The unique forest resource ecosystem in the Allegheny National Forest is very fragile, and it is not sustainable without active forest management. The way to sustain this asset for the America people, for our children, and for our children's children is to actively manage the forest.
Presently, we have a bat, one Indiana bat on a road trip. He has since made an appearance in Vermont. This gets Fish and Wildlife involved. We have too many agencies with the same mission. I ask you, if we have half a million Indiana bats, are they really endangered or is the Endangered Species Act being used for some goal other than to protect endangered species? Does one bat indicate habitat or intentional stocking of that bat? The Endangered Species Act is flawed and needs to be fixed. The Allegheny National Forest, Madam Chairman, is beginning to resemble the demise of the goose that laid golden eggs.
Please fix the appeals process. Every project since 1991 on the ANF and almost every other national forest has been tied up in appeals. Forest health declines, resources are wasted, we export our demands, gridlock rules, and employees become demoralized. The Forest Service needs primacy over the critters and fauna that inhabit their land. Please use peer reviewed science to manage our national forests.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Pennsylvania Forest Industry Association appreciates this opportunity testify before this Committee. We welcome any comments or questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Anderson follows:]
STATEMENT OF DALE E. ANDERSON, PRESIDENT, PENNSYLVANIA FOREST INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION
The effects of The Endangered Species Act, the Appeals Process, and the current management direction of our Allegheny National Forest and other National Forests which has contributed to declining forest health, battered rural communities, and worldwide environmental degradation.
I want to thank the Honorable Helen Chenoweth, for allowing us to testify at this hearing today. I also extend my thanks to the rest of the Committee.
My name is Dale Anderson. I am the President of the Pennsylvania Forest Industry Association. This is a grassroots organization of people that work in the forest industry and other citizens, organized since 1963. I am testifying as the President of Pennsylvania Forest Industry Association.
The timber resources of our National Forest system, including the Allegheny National Forest are slowly and quietly deteriorating due to a lack of forest management. The present policies of the Forest Service contribute to the decline of the health of the forest, batter the rural communities, and contribute to world wide ecologic problems by exporting our demands for forest products to other countries with low environmental priorities.
My history with the Allegheny National Forest started with my high school days. I worked for a couple of years on the fire control team. Later, I worked on the Allegheny doing timber stand improvement. It was this experience that led me on to a degree in Forestry from the West Virginia University.
The investments made in the 1960's by the Forest Service to improve these timber stands are now becoming ripe. For us to disregard these investments is not fair to the people of this country.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While attending college, I worked as a Fire Control Aid on the St. Joe National Forest in the beautiful state of Idaho. I have fond memories of my summer in your great state, Madam Chairman.
I have had experience with, and been an observer of the U.S. Forest Service, in the East and in the West, over a long period of time.
Over time, we have seen a steady escalation in the cost of administering all National Forests. Due to tree species of high demand and high value on the Allegheny, we can still operate in a fashion to cover costs and return money to the United States Treasury and to the schools and townships of Warren, Forest, Elk, and McKean Counties.
The latest numbers I have for FY 1998 on the Allegheny, show income of about $23.2 million. Almost all of this revenue is from timber harvesting. One-fourth of this money, or about $5.8 million, was returned to townships and schools in four northwestern Pennsylvania counties.
Over this same time period, income of $105,000 was generated from recreation or special use permits. Some people have said that we can replace the dollars from sustainable timber harvesting with recreation dollars. On the Allegheny, we will need to increase recreation by about 220 times to replace the return from timber. Or, the current fees will need to be raised by a factor of 220 to replace the timber revenue.
We do not think that this will occur due to the limits of reality and the economic law of diminishing returns. There is absolutely no replacement for the energy, the vitality, and the activity generated from the sustainable harvest of forest crops.
We are seeing many examples of large, beautiful, high value black cherry and red oak trees lying horizontal and rotting on the ground. These trees have been brought down by high wind. This is nothing new. It has been going on as long as we have had wind and trees. What is new is the total lack of ability of the people now running the forest to do anything about it. It is a shame to let the people's high-value resources rot on the ground.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Forest Service tells us that ''we are working on it, we need more money, and as soon as we get this or that study done, we will act.'' The evidence is that the Allegheny National Forest is becoming an area full of dead trees that look like skeletons with bark and limbs falling off. Reproduction of desired tree species is delayed or impossible and an industry is going elsewhere for raw material.
The unique forest resource ecosystem of the Allegheny National Forest is very fragile and is not sustainable without active forest management. The way to sustain this asset for the American people, for our children, and for our children's children is to actively manage the Forest.
Presently, we have a bat. One Indiana Bat . . . on a road trip. He has since made an appearance in Vermont. This gets the Fish and Wildlife Service involved. We have too many agencies with similar missions.
I ask you, if we have a half-million Indiana bats, are they really endangered? Or is the Endangered Species Act being used for some goal other than to protect endangered species? Does one bat indicate habitat or an intentional stocking of that bat? The Endangered Species Act is flawed and needs to be fixed.
The Allegheny National Forest, Madam Chairman, is beginning to resemble the demise of the goose that laid golden eggs.
Please fix the appeals process. Every project since 1991 on the ANF, and almost all other National Forests, has been tied up by appeals. Forest health declines, resources are wasted, we export our demand, gridlock rules, and the employees become demoralized.
The Forest Service needs primacy over the critters and fauna that inhabit the lands they administer.
Please use peer reviewed science to manage our National Forests.
The Pennsylvania Forest Industry Association appreciates this opportunity to testify before this Committee. We welcome any questions or comments.
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Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Anderson.
The Chair now recognizes Ms. Keller.
STATEMENT OF SHEILA KELLER, TREASURER, MONTANA WOMEN IN TIMBER, KALISPELL, MONTANA
Ms. KELLER. Thank you, Chairwoman Chenoweth, Congressman Hill, and other members of this Committee for this opportunity to present my views of the small business owner concerning issues of forest management and how they impact us.
My husband and I own three log trucks and other equipment, but, currently, we have just one other employee. My husband puts in extremely long hours to keep everything running smoothly, and I do whatever I can to relieve other pressures. In addition, I am an independent contractor representing a national advertising company, headquartered in Iowa. In that capacity, I call on all types of businesses in western Montana, northern Idaho, and in Spokane, Washington, so I have sort of a feel for the pulse of the business community in that area. I am also representing Montana Women in Timber, because I know first-hand the value of education in resolving issues in the resource debate.
I grew up in Iowa and had little knowledge of the timber industry except that I wanted nothing to do with it. Shortly after we purchased our first truck, I was ashamed to say what we did for a living, actually, but I was invited to attend a Forest Service meeting where the discussion focused on historical fire and current conditions. It has been nearly 90 years since the catastrophic 1910 fires when 50 million acres burned nationwide. Three million acres burned across northern Idaho into Montana and down the border that we share. On the Flathead National Forest, 25 percent of the forest burned. In the 90 years since that fire, timber harvest and fire together have not equal what was lost in that one event.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I honestly felt I had been lied to, and things have not been the same in my life since, actually. If there were just one thing I could do, it would be education instead of legislation. I would urge every congressman, especially those who support the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act and zero cut legislation, to take just 20 minutes to watch the video, America's Forests: A History of Resiliency and Recovery, before they decide what our future will be.
It is history of the United States as it relates to our forest. Douglas McCleary is still with the Forest Service here in Washington, DC, and he compiled the information, because he felt it was important to understand the past and how we got to where we are today in order to make responsible decisions for the future.
Montana has been known as the Treasure State, yet the per capita income has been on a steady decline, until last year, when we hit the bottom of the Nation's pay scale along with an increasing poverty rate. Montana and her people are in trouble as we lose our industry's infrastructure with mill closures that are sold at auction, dismantled, and go to another country. The oldest family-owned mill in the State is now in a desperate situation as Flathead National Forest management comes to a halt.
On the 29 percent of the Flathead that is in the timber base, our 1994 inventory showed annual growth of 138 million board feet and annual mortality of 53 million board feet. The primary manager of the forest has become the courts, and, most recently, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which agreed that timber harvest levels would harm the grizzly. In response, the Flathead National Forest developed Amendment 19 that reduced timber harvest to 54 million board feeteven though they haven't come close to that in my memoryand added road density standards for grizzly bear security that have resulted in hundreds of miles of forest road destruction.
Unfortunately, bears cannot eat security. Since implementation of Amendment 19, there has been a dramatic increase in human-bear conflicts and incidents as bears have come down to our local rural schoolyard, broken into cabins, come onto porches, roamed local subdivisions in search of dog food, bird seed, human garbage. This year, 25 grizzlies were destroyed in the Northern Rockies ecosystem, most of them in management situations.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Their preferred fall food is sun-loving huckleberries that provide the calories and carbohydrates they need for denning, but they are being crowded out by dense forests. Huckleberry researchers are concerned that ''lack of efforts to manage wild stands for huckleberries and decreasing use of clear-cuts will reduce the available habitat for this valuable plant.'' As roads are closed, fire will become a major forest manager, but huckleberries' shallow rhizomes and weak root systems are easily injured by even moderate fire.
I have been involved in the collaborative process called Flathead Common Ground, and I am now participating in Senator Baucus' stewardship meetings. It is a process born of grant writers and paid volunteers. It is a lengthy and time-consuming situation. On Common Ground, we looked at 80,000 acres. We are going to treat 800 acres with logging, burn 8,600 acres, close 119 miles of road, ending management.
In Idaho, just across the border, there is a sale where homeownersor a proposed sale where homeowners on the shores of Hayden Lake are anxious and willing to have 4,000 acres treated because of the bark beetle infestation. The Forest Service is anxious to treat this, yet a local environmental group has promised that they will sue so this will not be implemented. It is shame that environmental groups are willing to torch this valuable resource in the name of saving it.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Keller follows:]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Ms. Keller.
And the Chair now recognizes Mr. Johnson from Forks, Washington. Mr. Johnson.
STATEMENT OF BRETT C. JOHNSON, FORKS, WASHINGTON
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. JOHNSON. Thank you. I would like to thank the Subcommittee for affording me the opportunity to testify here today. It won't be quite as good, not as many statistics. I probably won't end up reading a whole heck of a lot from this. I just want to come share my experience, strength, and hope as I was asked to. I would like to especially thank the Honorable Helen Chenoweth. I come from the State of Idaho, and, Madam Chairman, the State of Idaho is very lucky to have someone like you representing them.
My name is Brett Johnson. I live on the west end of the Olympic Peninsula; Clallam County is the county I live within. Prior to moving there seven years ago, I lived on the I-5 corridor in Seattle, the Redmond area, actually, where Microsoft comes from. When I lived in the Redmond area, Redmond had one stop light. As I went to school, Redmond changed. Instead of cutting down timber over there and replanting timber, they cut down timber and brought in a lot of folks from all sorts of places to take over that community, and that scares me; I am kind of protectionist that way. But, yet here I did, I moved over to a rural community. I had a mindset when I moved over to that community, and it was just this last year that my son had come from the urban area into the rural community, as well, and he has a great education just like I, myself, had.
I live bordering the Olympic National Park, Sol Duc District, about 18 miles out of Forks, Washington. My education and my experience in the Seattle area, I showed up over in the Forks area for quite a few years enjoying the recreation opportunities that were thereswimming in the rivers, fishing in the rivers, hiking, and camping. It is a beautiful area. Some of the places I used to go to years before, I don't have access to, because some of the road problems. Now, I live in that community and a lot of my friends from the urban areas come over to visit and camp and do some fun things. We have to send them to different areas, because some of those roads are washed out due to lack of maintenance on Forest Service roads. Some of the best scenic areasand I have got some pictures and this and that, that in the future I will send off to your Committee.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I do appreciate the opportunity to step in here, because when I did move over to the Forks area, I had a real weird mindset. I had no idea what was going on in Forest Service lands. I didn't knowI figured I got across the ferry and it was the Olympic National Park. Well, that is a one million-acre park, basically, surrounded by 632,300 acres of what I would consider mismanagedadapted mismanagement areas. No wildlife openings are being created there at all.
I am told by quite a few of the biologists in some of the meetings I have sat in that elk and deersee, I am not a biologist, a botanist, an attorney, a forester; I am a human being. And, frankly, some of the folks that found out I was a human being, some of the folks I used to hang out with quite a bit, tell me that I am the cancer of the Earth. I don't like hearing that.
When I ended up coming over, there was a ranger by the name of Gary Harris on the Olympic region, Sol Duc District, who told me that our district and the Olympic region was being managed by the Rio treatyI think was the terminology he usedbiodiversity treaty is what he said, and I didn't understand that, because I thought that was our national Forest Service, USDA Forest Service, that was going to manage those lands for the betterment of our Nation and not the internationalists. When this ranger told me about that, it was at an adapted management area local meeting that was attended by quite a few folks from outside our area that were brought in from Oregon, and they had as much say as we did at this meeting, the local folks. That concerned me greatly. Here you are having a local meeting, and folks are brought in from an outside area that had a certain mindset. These folks tried to disrupt the meeting any time one of the local constituents was speaking.
The problems I ran into with some of these folksthey ended up camping out on the piece of property where I lived, so the eco-terrorism stuff that was being talked about, I had plenty of threats from these folks when they found out I was speaking out against what they planned on doing, and that was creating a lot of havoc for us folks who lived in that local area.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The adapted management area meetingsGary Harris, the ranger, told me that the area in which I lived was imminently going to burn because of the mismanagement that was going on there. They had planted some lousy tree production; they wouldn't go in and thin it out, put any other trees in that area, and, historically, that area burns. It was suggested to me and my neighbors that if Gary lived in that area, he would move, because it was imminent there was going to be a fire in that neck of the woods. Well, I have a 12-year old son who has moved in with me there, and I would love for each and every memberespecially the ones who aren't here and especially the one from the State of Washington, the Honorable Adam Smith, I believe is from Washington, and I have got a lot of friends over in his neck of the woodsthey would come over and what I am hoping is that they will have the opportunity to come up and see the road problems. They are creating problems for the fish which have just now been listed, as well.
Appreciate the opportunity. If I can answer any questions, I will try my best. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Johnson follows:]
STATEMENT OF BRETT C. JOHNSON, FORKS, WASHINGTON
Testimony pertains to: Personal experience in dealing with issues specific to National Forest Systems Policy, Protection, and Public/Private Resource Management. Key points to includereal people, local citizen attempts to participate in decision making process, lack of fire preventive measures and local economic concerns, accessibility and roads maintenance issues.
I would like to thank the Subcommittee for affording me the opportunity to testify before you today, with special thanks to the Honorable Helen Chenoweth, Chairman. Madame Chairman, you represent the citizens of Idaho with great poise and professionalism.
My name is Brett Johnson. I live on the West End of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, where I am raising my son Bryan who is twelve years old. He would be here today, but little league baseball matters more to our children than does congressional affairs. As we will see in this testimony, Congressional affairs do play a role in my child's education and our ability to continue living in this beautiful rural community.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We live outside of town with one of our closest neighbors being the USDA Forest Service, Olympic Region, Sol Duc Ranger District. I am testifying today as an individual and by no means wish to represent my employer, or anyone else for that matter, at this time. The testimony I am giving is based upon my own personal experience visiting, as well as living on the Olympic Peninsula.
Let me begin by noting that I have lived in the Forks, WA area for nearly seven years, having moved from the Seattle area in 1992. I had spent much time camping, hiking, biking, and sightseeing on the Olympic Peninsula for many years prior to moving there permanently. I brought with me an attitude I would now call ''urban think.'' This attitude was basically thinking I knew about environmental issues I had no personal experience with first hand. Herbert Spencer, a noted philosopher, once said ''There is a principle which is a bar against all information and which cannot help but keep a man in everlasting ignorance, that principle is contempt prior to investigation.'' This seems to fit me quite well.
My contemptuous attitude began changing as I started to meet individuals, and families which had lived in this community for generations. Today, many of my closest friends are the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of people like the Iron Man of the Hoh, John Huelsdonk. The Federal Government has incrementally taken portions of their family lands to assure our nations future generation a wilderness experience. These folks and their children have since been denied access to portions of lands and trails once developed and maintained by John Huelsdonk, Charlie Lewis and other family members. This generation has already been denied access to the wilderness experience they were promised.
Old-timers in this community have taken time personally to escort me into the woods. Providing a great beginning of truly wonderful education. Seeing first hand the reality of our local forests and the forest health issues associated with non-management of the resource has begun to open my eyes. Infestation of bugs, blow-down, fire hazard, overcrowded stands, and many other problems seem obvious to even this city boy. Little, or no action is being taken by the Forest Service to limit the devastating effects to humans by the inevitable fires that will occur in my neighborhood. Further degradation to the valuable resources of timber and wildlife continue.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ranger Harris, the previous Sol Duc District Forest Ranger, told me that they had gotten rid of almost all the fire fighting, and roads maintenance equipment the last few years. He further suggested that if we wanted any safety assurance, we should move away from the Snyder Ridge area, and that he anticipated a uncontrollable fire in that area soon. If the right conditions were present, such as dry summer, and an east wind it would be inevitable. He also acknowledged that the Forest Service was managing lands according to the Treaty in Rio. International management seems unconstitutional, is not site and situation specific, and therefore, seems a very ridiculous option to choose.
As a member of the public, I have attended many of the Olympic Province Advisory Committee Meetings. This group was chartered out of the President's NW Forest Plan and appears to be lacking in site and situation specific management techniques also. Over the past few years, I have also attended the supposed local public meetings on the Olympic Adaptive Management Area. At these meetings, preservationists, brought in from Oregon had equal status with the local, most affected concerned citizens. This did not seem appropriate to me if it was to be a local informational and input meeting, as I was told.
The Advisory Committee is obviously trying to take local economics, other than tourism, out of the picture entirely. By the way, promises of tourism are hollowed with the lack of maintenance on some of our more scenic forest roads. When asked to address local concerns regarding economically feasible timber harvest, the group balks. The professional facilitator then steers the group back onto other feelings oriented topics, while attempting to degrade the questioner's credibility and thus bypass any talk of real economics. The committee's own feelings seem to matter more than the feelings of the local people trying to feed their children.
In 1995, I began a lunch buddy program at the local elementary school. Not having full custody of my own child at that time, I wanted to stay in tune with children his age, so as to, ready myself for the day when he moved in with me on a full time basis. While attending a reading session just prior to Christmas of 1995, I was greatly upset by something I saw and heard. One teacher, after reading Charles Dickens tale of the little Christmas Tree, asked the 4th Grade students in her class the following questions:
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(i)How would you feel if you were cut down and taken away from your Mother, & family like the little tree was in the story?
(2)What would you think about being adorned with ornaments for display, and after a few days taken outside and set afire?
(3)How come we humans are so uncaring to natures other living beings?
This is an example of the twisting of our children's minds which continues daily through schools, television, and the media with regards to natural resource issues. I have since participated in getting independent people from our community into schools to mitigate the damage some teachers personal agenda's may produce. Our children needn't feel guilty for living in homes made from forest products, or drinking the eight glasses of water as is suggested by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
Total annual timber harvest in Washington State on both Public and Private lands is now less than what occurred on the Sol Duc District alone in 1988. I don't think the people living in my rural community want the destructive band aids provided by the re-circulation of already existing tax dollars. What I hear them saying isplease let us go back to work creating new wealth from the extraction and replanting of a renewable resource. Timber grows very quickly with our approximately 150 inches of rain annually and most tourists balk at spending time in a community that gets that much rain.
Forest Health is declining, Rural Communities are being destroyed, and all this because of policies not based on sound science. Replacing science and economics, is the new international social science of Environmentalism. International Social Management has not worked elsewhere so, how about giving us back our jobs. We can help in taking care of the nations resource needs while providing habitat for a multitude of species badly in need of the wildlife openings our harvests will create with sustainability.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Recent studies by USF&WS, USGS, & WDF&W, show our Elk & Deer numbers are way down on the west-end of the Olympic Peninsula and many biologists I've spoken with say this is directly attributed to the lack of wildlife openings. Openings, that were previously being created by harvest of timber and providing for economic values to come off of the Peninsula's large public land base. Visitors tell me how bad the clear-cut looks and then explain it was on the edge of this eyesore they saw the elk they had photographed.
I would like to finish by thanking this Committee for allowing me to share a little of my own personal experience and observations on this issue. I would love for each member of this Committee to come into my back yard, upon scheduled invitation of course, and take a tour of the Olympic National Forest with real people rather than agency personnel as is typical. You will be amazed at the beauty the loggers paintbrush has created on the landscape and the danger to it that now exists because of mis-management. I welcome any questions, comments or future correspondence.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Johnson.
I thank the panelists for their valuable testimony, and the Chair now recognizes Mr. Hill for his questions.
Mr. HILL. I thank you, Madam Chairman, and I want to echo your comments and thank the panelists for their testimony.
Sheila, I want to ask you a few questions, if you don't mind. I found kind of interesting when you made reference to the fact that you were embarrassed to say what you did and that you owned a logging truck. Do you consider yourself a person that cares about the environment?
Ms. KELLER. Absolutely. I probably, originally, I was one of those who had no idea of my own personal impact on the environment, and education has played such a great role, I now realize that absolutely everything I use and everything I do comes from the Earth. If it can't grown, it has to be mined. And we have been using these things since man began, and we are using them better than ever, and here, in the United States, we have the best technology, the best methods, the most concern for our environment and the stewardship practices. As we are making these decisions, we are deciding to send all of our environmental concerns to another country while we do the consuming, and that doesn't seem right. We are the responsible ones, and we can make very responsible decisions concerning our resources.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HILL. In your opinion, has the administration's road moratorium impacted the wood products industry in Montana?
Ms. KELLER. Absolutely. It is kind of hard to say whatI don't know that there has been a single sale on the Flathead that is coming down the pike except for maybe a 30-acre collaboration process that took two years. It is not only impacting timber harvestsperhaps, the best illustration of how it has impacted us is that we generally have one truck sitting. In addition, it is impacting snowmobiling and other recreation. So, tourism that was supposed to be our salvation is now, actually, it is on appeal. There is a snowmobile area that is being appealed by a local environmental group, the same ones that want to stop timber harvests. And on the collaborative process that we call Paint Emery, that Flathead Common Ground worked on, all proposals include taking out a groomed snowmobile trail there also.
Mr. HILL. You made reference in your testimony to trying to find some common sense solutions, and you have worked on Flathead Common Ground, which is a collaborative effort in your area, but in your testimony, you said that it was a process born of grant writers and paid volunteers, I think. That is a frustrating process. Would you describe why you described it that way? Would you explain that?
Ms. KELLER. Most of those who come to the table have a vested interest in keeping the processes long and involved and as lengthy as possible. There may be a few mill personnel who come once in a while. I make it once in a while, but most of those who sit at the table have received grants to participate in the process and promote it as the way to go; others are paid staff of volunteer groups.
Mr. HILL. So, they are making money being there, and it is costing you money to be there, right.
Ms. KELLER. They are making money, absolutely.
Mr. HILL. That is kind of unfair. Pretty hard to find common sense solutions, isn't it?
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. KELLER. Well, I hope it is not impossible. If there is any benefit at all to the collaborative process, it might be a measure of education, but most of those who sit at the table come with a mindset and an agendajust as I said in Flathead Common Ground, the goal was to implement amendment 19, and most of those came to the table with a goal in mind119 miles it shuts off whole drainage and
Mr. HILL. This is for everybody's identification, amendment 19 is a road closure amendment, isn't that correct? It is an amendment to the Forest Plan and transportation for endangered species management.
Ms. KELLER. Some local environmental groups sued the 1986 Forest Plan, they lost at the State level and took it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals where they lost on every point except for one, which was how timber harvest affected the grizzly bear. Of course, you can see that the court wasn't a forester and wasn't a biologist, because huckleberries aren't growing in grizzly bear habitat. The only criterion for protecting the grizzly seems to be security, and, as far as I am concerned, the grizzly, just his size and his presence is enough security for me.
Mr. HILL. We have increased incidents of people, conflicts with grizzly bears, haven't we in recent years?
Ms. KELLER. Last year, it was record number, and this was due in large part to a failure of the huckleberry crop. There was some frost damage, and because we are losing our huckleberry crop across the entire forest, there just weren't enough huckleberries to support the bear population.
Mr. HILL. So, the bears are coming out of the deeper forests, and they are coming into areas where there are more people, isn't that right?
Ms. KELLER. They are searching for food in what ever place they can find it.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HILL. Interestingly, the greatest threat to grizzly bears is that encounter, when they encounter people in suburban areas or in areas where people and the forest intersect. Isn't that right? I mean, almost always, those bears end up being removed, don't they?
Ms. KELLER. The policy generally becomes ''A fed bear is a dead bear.'' Once they have found a food source they can access, then they become repeat offenders.
Mr. HILL. One last point: you mentioned you are in the farming business, as well. Are you in the ranching or farming business?
Ms. KELLER. That was my husband's grandfather who farmed.
Mr. HILL. Your area is also impacted by another endangered species, timber wolves, isn't it?
Ms. KELLER. Yes. On the Flathead National Forest, I had a former Forest Service employee tell meFirst understand that these are natural packs in our area, so they don't come under the same guidelines as the Yellowstone-introduced packs. In the North Fork, wildlife is disappearing rapidly, because, as this Forest Service employee said, the wolves view the elk calves as popcicles.
Mr. HILL. Well, that is their number one diet, isn't it, if possible?
Ms. KELLER. Generally, it seems to be the young. They like to tell us that they cull the herds for the old and disabled, but it has proved to be a detriment to the calf population, which is the future of that herd there.
Mr. HILL. Thank you very much for your testimony.
Madam Chairman, I have to leave; I have another meeting. But thank you for holding this hearing. I want to thank, Sheila, you, for being here and the other panelists, and I appreciate very much the opportunity to hear your testimony. Thank you.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Hill, and thank you for making sure Ms. Keller came back. I appreciate that.
The Chair now recognizes Mr. Sherwood.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Thank you very much, Mr. Anderson, Ms. Keller, and Mr. Johnson, for your testimony.
It seems to me that it is illustrative that we have policies that have gone awry, and we are getting unintended consequencesthat is a new phrase I have learned since I came to Washington. But it looks like the management practices that we have taken on in so many cases are counterproductive, and, Mr. Anderson, I live about 160 miles east of you out Route 6, and, Ms. Keller, some of my best friends drive log trucks, so don'tno apologies necessary here.
Dale, talk to me a little bit about the Allegheny National Forest. In other words, give us a pricethis Committee has a little western bias, and they have an even-aged forest, and they cut it down, and it makes a big difference. In ours, we do a lot of selective cutting, and it regenerates. We have got lots of water, and tell them a little bit how valuable those cherry trees are now that are fallen down?
Mr. ANDERSON. Well, some of those cherry trees contain in the neighborhood of 500 to 1,000 board foot; trades anywhere from $6 to $8 per board foot for a good one. So, what does that come out to? About somewhere around $6,000 a tree.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Trees, yes.
Mr. ANDERSON. These are pretty expensive trees. They trade worldwide. There are people that come in from Germany, France, Belgium. They walk through the woods and of the ones that are marked on Forest Service lands, they will say that ''Yes, that looks like a good one; I think we will take that one.'' And, so they are pretty much handled almost as individual trees.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I know people that operate mills that buy Forest Service timber that walk up after they have purchased the timber; it is marked for a log; he inspects the tree, and marks on it with his own paint how long he wants that log cut. They will cut it 20 foot long, and that log stays 20 foot long until it gets to the veneer plant where they then cut it into a couple of multiples, because every time you cut that log, particularly in dry weather, it may check, and part of it isn't able to be used. So, by leaving it long length, they keep all of the value in that log. They don't have to trim off a foot. It is just too dear. It is a beautiful resource.
I think I was in one congressman's office today that had a black cherry table, and he was from IdahoI forgot to mention it.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Well, I just went through a new bank that was opened in Clark Summit, Pennsylvania the other day, and it is paneled entirely with native Pennsylvania black cherry, and it is absolutely gorgeous. I used some in my house when my wife and I built it several years ago.
But the purpose of this testimony is to show what a tremendous resource we are letting go to waste. Here are these trees delivered to the mill; could be worth from $2,000 a piece and up, and because we are worried about a bat in the forest, we have the whole forest shut down. Is that correct? There is no activity on the Allegheny right now?
Mr. ANDERSON. Yes. Right now, this isit is shut down because we are waiting for a decision from Fish and Wildlife called a biological assessment. You have to understand that this started out because they found a bat, but since they found a bat, now we are going to do a biological assessment for the Indiana bat, for the Bald Eagle, for the whorlded pogonia (Isotria medeoloides), and some mussels in the Allegheny River. So, by the time all this study gets done, are we going to cut any trees? It doesn't look like it to me.
Mr. Peterson has gotten Fish and Wildlife more money to get this study done. The study still isn't done. It just seems like we want more money, so we can study more things, so we can cut less timber. It was interesting listening to the law enforcement guy here. All the problems that we have in the forests have gone up, while the timber harvest has gone down.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SHERWOOD. And I am very familiar with the private ground to the east of the Allegheny National Forest, and because there is no cut going on on the Allegheny, they are cutting that private ground pretty strong, maybe too strong. In other words, we have not in the past cut it so it wasn't sustainable, but, right now, because of the pressure for the high dollar, especially the cherry but some red oak too, that private ground is being cut pretty hard. So, I think the Indiana bat is making us do two things that are real foolish: We are cutting some of our private ground too hard and letting our very valuable resource on the Allegheny get old and fall over.
When you take those prime, beautiful trees out in a selective cut, that opens up the canopy; then the small trees grow, and in the East, we can have a cycle. But if we let them fall down, it won't work, and I think that is the purpose of your testimony today, and any other comments I would be glad to hear, but I thought the three of you did an excellent job.
Mr. ANDERSON. Well, thank you; it has been a real pleasure.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Sherwood.
I wanted to ask Mr. Johnson, was there any particular event or series of events that caused you to challenge the urban thinking of your Seattle life after you moved to the Olympic Peninsula, and what did you say in 1992?
Mr. JOHNSON. Well, getting a chance to meet some of the people on the ground, and while I was over there, my son lived in Redmond, because he was going to school at Horseman Elementary, and to keep the relationship going with him, I felt I needed to be active and involved with kids his age. So, I started to do a Lunch Buddy Program.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Pardon me, a what?
Mr. JOHNSON. Lunch Buddy. I would go into the elementary school and hang out with a couple of different kids who were having some trouble in the community, and if they were getting their homework done, we would sit down and we would do lunch. If they weren't getting their homework, we would sit down and do homework, and they taught me an awful lot, as a matter of fact.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But, one occasion, I went into the classroom, and it was just prior to Christmas, and they were readingnot Charles Dickens; I made a mistake. I was thinking a Tale of Two Citiesurban and rural, I guess; it was a slipbut it was Hans Christian Anderson's, The Little Christmas Tree; wonderful story. But the questions following the reading of this that the teacher posed to these kids were utterly amazing. Questions to the effectand I can basically read to those to youbut what it had to do with was how would you feelposing this question to these young children, fourth gradershow would you feel if you were cut down and taken away from your family, put on adornment with lights and displayed and then taken outside a few days later and burned? I mean, that is utterly amazing to have happen in the community that was built on natural resource extraction.
And I guess that is one other thing I would love to get a chance to mention is the term ''timber-dependent communities.'' I came from a timber-dependent communityRedmond, Washington. I was born in Salmon, Idaho, but I spent most of life in Redmond, Washington, and they are a timber-dependent community. The community I moved into is timber extraction-dependent, and timber renewal-dependent, and to renew it, one must harvest, and back on the point, the elk and deerone of the reasons I moved over to that neck of the woods was the elk and deer populations, and they are declining from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Geological Survey, and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. The recent study to reintroduce wolveshowever it is saidinto our backyards pointed out this problem, and they highlighted the fact that we are not harvesting timber that is going to provide the biodiversity that even the biodiversity treaty talks about. So, I appreciate the opportunity to answer that question.
My concern and what I have tried to stay involved in since that occasion with that one teacher is to get involved in some partnerships in education, and I understand the Alliance for America has a Providers Power Program that is pretty much right in line with that. Let these kids know where their food a lot of these products really come from, not Safeway or McDonald's.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Johnson. I appreciate your comments, and I do think that it is important that our students realize actually what a tree, itself, can producethe list of products that comes just from a tree. I was surprised, and this is an issue of great concern to me what is happening with the indoctrination of our young people, and it just takes the sheer joy away; that is unfortunate.
I do want to thank the members of this panel; you have prepared well. I thank you for your testimony. You have come a long way to supplement the record on a very, very important issue, and I am deeply grateful. Thank you very much.
The hearing record will remain open for those who wish to supplement your testimony, and if there is no further business, the Chair, again, thanks the members of the Subcommittee, and I am very appreciative of all of their good questions. And I thank our witnesses.
This Subcommittee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4:12 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]