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Delay Catastrophic for Biscuit

The Oregonian letter to the editor

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Your editorial, "Wrong recipe for the Biscuit" (Sept. 27), criticizes Sen. Gordon Smith's efforts to promptly implement the Biscuit Fire Restoration Project through reforestation of critical wildlife habitat, rehabilitation of watersheds and the salvage of rotting, dead trees.

I am a forester who has observed Oregon's forests go up in flames. Too often on federal lands the burned forest is left to rot and turn to brush fields because of delays caused by lawsuits.

The editorial concludes that it is the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that needs to act quickly, not Congress. However, justice delayed is justice denied. The 9th Circuit has not even set a hearing in the case; briefing will not be complete until November; and a decision is not likely before the end of December.

If restoration of watersheds and wildlife habitat is to begin, it must start this fall, before winter weather precludes work until next summer, when another year of deterioration would make most of the trees unusable, and a key funding source for the restoration would be lost.

The Biscuit legislation is a responsible way to address catastrophic delay, which the plodding courts cannot.

KENT KELLY Oregon City





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