May 21, 2009
Responding to a request
from Natural Resource Committee Republicans, the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands will hold an oversight hearing today on “The Future of the Forest Economy” - specifically the Quincy Library Group (QLG) plan.
Unfortunately, reckless lawsuits have stopped implementation of common sense plans like the QLG and have led to devastating job losses in timber communities throughout the West. Consider the following facts:
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the logging, wood, paper, and cabinetry industry has lost 242,000 jobs, or roughly 23 percent of its workforce since 2006.
- Eight years ago in Plumas County, CA there were approximately 600 sawmill workers, today there are only 200.
- Earlier this month, 150 people in a town of 2,000 lost their job when the Sierra Pacific Industries sawmill in Quincy, CA closed.
- The U.S Forest Service estimates that there are about 1.6 indirect jobs for each forest-related job. When one mill closes, hundreds and sometimes thousands of people are impacted. There often aren’t other job opportunities in these small rural communities, especially during tough economic times.
Republicans support policies to provide sustainable timber yields and give land managers the necessary authority and tools to effectively manage our nation’s forests and prevent wildfires. Democrat leaders should also take action now to protect rural communities whose livelihood depends on the timber industry.
Background on the Quincy Library Group
In the early 1990s, stakeholders in the timber industry, environmental community, local elected officials, and other interested parties put together the QLG plan to protect rural communities and ensure that a sustainable supply of timber is coming out of national forests. In 1998, Congress mandated implementation of this common sense plan as a funded pilot project.
However, lawsuits by environmental groups have blocked full implementation of this plan. Since 2000, environmental groups have filed over 150 lawsuits and appeals. Today, witnesses will testify (see attached testimony) about this plan and that the main reason for sawmill closures in the West is the lack of market-priced timber supply - a result of agenda-drive lawsuits.
In April, Rep. Tom McClintock, whose California district has suffered substantial timber-related jobs losses, held a town hall meeting on the need to move forward with the QLG plan.
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