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For Immediate Release 

Forest Subcommittee Examines Job Loss in
Forest Industry


Washington, D.C. - The Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday, February 4, on Issues Affecting Jobs in the Forest Industry at 2:00 pm in 1334 Longworth House Office Building


Working families have been dealt blow after devastating blow in a sector that once provided economic security to the nation.  Over the last decade, jobs in the forest products and paper industries have dramatically declined in regions across the nation, leaving once thriving communities unemployed. 


"More and more, Americans are starting to realize that outdated policies and radical environmental ideology are actually bad for the environment and the economy," Chairman Pombo said.  "The case in the forest industry is clear: as the jobs disappeared, the vitality of our forests declined and the incidence of catastrophic fire skyrocketed."


Timber sales on federal lands declined dramatically in the last decade.  During the 1960's, 70's and 80's Forest Service timber sales were roughly 11 billion board feet (BBF) a year.  Today, the number has dropped to approximately 2 BBF a year, an 82 percent reduction in timber harvests.


During the 1980's, 22,000 good timber jobs in the Pacific Northwest vanished because of sensational campaigns led by environmentalists to malign the industry as the killer of spotted owls.  However, scientists now confirm that the plight of the owl is due to a more persistent foe - natural selection - and the barred owl. 


Nonetheless, foresters have seen a healthy, sustainable industry all but disappear.  The forest industry has been criticized unjustly by radical environmentalists, who aided the large scale export of jobs overseas where lumber is cheap and, ironically, environmental standards are few.  As a result, over 900 mills, pulp and paper plants, and other forest products plants have closed since 1990 and at least 130,000 jobs have been lost since mid-1990.


"Fortunately, the Healthy Forests Restoration Act is a  paradigm shift away from failed practices and into an era of common sense, active forest management," Pombo continued.  "It will begin to repair the damage our forests suffered under decades of the hands-off management policies so often embraced by environmental fundraising groups."


"The nation needs a viable workforce to address the current management challenges in our national forests," said Chairman Pombo.  "Good jobs in sustainable resource industries are good for the economy and good for the environment.  The more our policies embrace this fact, the better."



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For more information visit, http://resourcescommittee.house.gov  



















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