- March 6 - Taxpayer subsidies for logging on National Forests
are at an all-time high, according to a report released
this morning by the United States Forest Service (USFS).
doesn't grow on trees, but in this case it may," said
Jonathan Oppenheimer, Program Director at Taxpayers for
Common Sense. "This report makes clear that timber
companies have squandered millions of taxpayer dollars with
federally-subsidized, inefficient logging practices."
1997, the Forest Service reported a loss of $88 million.
According to today's report, Timber Sale Program Information
and Reporting System (TSPIRS), the Forest Service lost $126
million as a result of money-losing logging operations in
the national forests. The USFS's timber sale program generated
$546 million in FY1998, but the program cost $672 million
to operate. The loss equals a $2,200 subsidy per timber
free lunch for the timber industry must end. This is a clear-cut
case of corporate welfare," continued Oppenheimer.
providing timber to private logging companies at a substantial
loss, the Forest Service wastes millions of taxpayer dollars
every year. General Accounting Office (GAO) reports have
estimated the losses to be much higher than the USFS figure
- approximately $2 billion between 1992-1997.
annual TSPIRS report is supposed to be prepared by May of
the following year, but the Forest Service has continually
pushed the release date further back. This year, the Forest
Service delayed more than 29 months before they publicly
released the findings of the 1998 TSPIRS report.
postponing the release of report, the Forest Service had
the opportunity to massage numbers to create the most politically
benign report possible, according to Oppenheimer.
though the amount of timber harvested from National Forests
has decreased significantly in the past decade, Congress
continues to increase funding for the timber program. The
GAO and the Forest Service recognize the increased losses
from timber sales, yet Congress seems unwilling to respond.
years past, amendments have been offered in both the House
and the Senate to reduce subsidies for logging and logging
road construction. Last year a bi-partisan amendment sponsored
by Senator Richard Bryan (D-NV) and Senator Peter Fitzgerald
(R-IL) lost by a margin of 45-54.
the President is serious about reducing corporate welfare,
he can start by taking an ax to timber subsidies,"