Backroom deal may hurt, not help, Northwest forests
Sep 11, 2008
A coalition of conservation organizations, including Conservation Northwest, have filed a lawsuit against the Bush administration for illegally steering $350 million of returned "softwood" lumber (fir, cedar, pine) tariffs to forestry foundations dominated by big timber.
A coalition of conservation organizations, including Conservation Northwest, filed a lawsuit against the Bush administration for illegally steering $350 million to forestry foundations dominated by big timber and hand-selected by the administration. The money is part of a settlement of a lumber trade dispute in which trade courts ruled that the US illegally collected more than $5 billion of duties on Canadian lumber imports. The administration negotiated the re-return of $1 billion of the funds as a "gift" from the Canadians, essentially "laundering" the money to bypass congressional and public scrutiny.
“Once again the Bush administration is doing deals in the smoky backroom for chronies,” says Joe Scott, international conservation director of Conservation Northwest. “In this case, it has funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to a timber industry slush fund."
One of the co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the Forest Stewardship Council, is the leading third-party independent certifier of forest lands in the world, promoting scientifically credible, green-certified forestry. They worry that the administration’s diversion of $350 million to organizations will likely not promote this type of green forestry and is a huge setback for the sustainable forestry community.