What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Forest and Paper Industry : H R 1904. Forest Thinning/Vote on Final Passage of a Conference Report Which Would Expedite Forest Thinning Projects on Twenty Million Acres of Federal Forestland. (2003 house Roll Call 656)
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H R 1904. Forest Thinning/Vote on Final Passage of a Conference Report Which Would Expedite Forest Thinning Projects on Twenty Million Acres of Federal Forestland.
house Roll Call 656     Nov 21, 2003
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

In response to the outbreak of wildfires in California and elsewhere, the Bush Administration drafted so-called "Healthy Forests" legislation to promote "forest thinning" projects (i.e. timber extraction) in forests near populated areas. Conservatives argued that forest thinning projects were needed to mitigate the damages caused by wildfires. Progressives, however, were more skeptical; in their view, the administration's real goal in drafting the "Healthy Forests" initiative was to enable the timber industry greater access to forested areas. The subject of this vote was final passage of a conference report on forest thinning legislation which would expedite environmental and judicial reviews of forest thinning projects on twenty million acres of federal forestland to allow more thinning projects to be undertaken. (After the House and Senate completed action earlier in the year on their respective versions of a forest thinning bill, a conference committee was convened to reconcile differences between the two versions of the legislation. The product of conference committee negotiations is a conference report-the final version of the bill which is the subject of this vote.) Progressives voted in opposition to the forest thinning conference report based on their concerns that provisions in the bill could be interpreted broadly for purposes of increasing timber extraction on federal forestland. Specifically, Progressives argued that the language included in the conference report could be used to justify logging activities in old growth forests. Conservatives argued that provisions were included in the conference report, such as a public review and comment process, to protect old growth forests. On a vote of 286-140, the forest thinning conference report was adopted and President Bush signed the measure into law on December 3, 2003.

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