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Cutting Corporate Welfare to the Timber Industry
by Jill Lancelot


June 17, 2004

Taxpayers for Common Sense applauds the Congress for passing an amendment by 222-205 that will block Forest Service spending on new commercial logging roads in the Tongass National Forest. The amendment recognizes that taxpayers pay a huge price to subsidize commercial logging of our National Forests and we need more accountability in the forests that have the largest losses. Our nation is facing a record federal deficit, and we need to start cutting spending and bringing the fiscal mismanagement of the timber program under control. We also applaud the efforts of Rep Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) for their leadership in offering the amendment to the Interior spending bill.

For over two decades, the welfare kings in the timber industry have made out like bandits in the Tongass National Forest. Since 1982, the timber program has lost more than $750 million. In just 2002 alone, the Forest Service spent $36 million on the Tongass timber program and received only $1.2 million in revenue. Despite such losses, the Forest Service is once again preparing to send us down an expensive road to ruin by further increasing taxpayer subsidized logging that will require millions of dollars in wasteful, unneeded road-building expenditures and other costs.

Building new roads is akin to throwing money down a rat hole. With 3,500 miles of roads in the Tongass already, taxpayers shouldn't continue to build roads they cannot use in order to shield timber companies from the true cost of doing business. Worse, the Forest Service has failed to maintain this vast system of logging roads and currently faces a $900 million road maintenance backlog in the Tongass. This amendment is a breath of fresh air and will help deflate our bloated federal budget.

Jill Lancelot
President of Taxpayers for Common Sense
Washington, DC - USA




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