Rim Fire salvage bill passes House

By Alex MacLean, The Union Democrat

Rep. Tom McClintock's bill to expedite salvage logging on Stanislaus National Forest land burned in the Rim Fire has passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Rim Fire Emergency Salvage Act was amended to a larger package of bills pertaining to public lands management that was approved a 220-194 margin. It was mostly a party-line vote, with only six of 200 House Democrats voting in support.

McClintock, R-Granite Bay, sent a letter to California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both Democrats, urging the senate to take swift action.

"Time is of the essence," McClintock wrote in his letter. "Within a year, the timber loses much of its salvage value, and within two years it becomes worthless."

More than 257,000 acres burned during the Rim Fire, which started Aug. 17 by a hunter's illegal campfire in the Tuolumne River Canyon. The massive blaze charred 154,000 acres of forest land.

About 7,600 acres of trees are set to be harvested this spring along roads, power lines, near recreation areas and campgrounds and adjacent to private property. Another 29,000 acres could open to logging after further review.

The U.S. Forest Service received an exemption from the President's Council on Environmental Quality that will shorten the required federal review process by 45 days.

For the full story see today's Union Democrat.

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