Monday, July 29, 2002

Little Tommy Daschle Pulls a Fast One
A tasty item I forgot to mention last week. The Washington Times reports:
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle quietly slipped into a spending bill language exempting his home state of South Dakota from environmental regulations and lawsuits, in order to allow logging in an effort to prevent forest fires.

The move discovered yesterday by fellow lawmakers angered Western legislators whose states were forced to obey those same rules as they battled catastrophic wildfires.

"What's good for the Black Hills should be good for every forest in the United States," said Sen. Larry E. Craig, Idaho Republican and chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.


The language was tucked inside the defense supplemental spending bill, which passed the House last night by a 397-32 vote. The overall measure, which spends $29 billion, will be taken up by the Senate today.

The provision says that "due to extraordinary circumstances," timber activities will be exempt from the National Forest Management Act and National Environmental Policy Act, is not subject to notice, comment or appeal requirements under the Appeals Reform Act, and is not subject to judicial review by any U.S. court.

More than 20 lawsuits, appeals or reviews are blocking timber projects to remove fuel from the Black Hills ? some bottled up in bureaucracy since 1985, say Republican aides.

"After hearing all the hand-wringing from environmentalists downplaying the impact of appeals and litigation, it's nice to see that the highest-ranking Democrat in the nation agrees that these frivolous challenges have totally crippled forest managers," said Rep. Scott McInnis, Colorado Republican and chairman of the House Resources subcommittee on forests and forest health.

Mr. Daschle said his measure is the "fastest and most effective way to get the forest thinned."

"To be effective, any piece of legislation must be crafted in a way that avoids more time-consuming litigation, and this deal should meet that critical test," Mr. Daschle said.
It must be tough, being so sleazy. I wonder what L'il Tommy sees when he looks in the mirror?