28 Sep 2008, 11:31am
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Forest Service’s Gap Fire Report Raises Debris Alarms

By Sonia Fernandez, Noozhawk Staff Writer, 09/06/2023 [here]

The U.S. Forest Service has released its Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Assessment, a report describing the impacts of the Gap Fire and what measures the agency intends to take in response.

According to the report, the Gap Fire burned about 9,544 acres, roughly half of which was located on Los Padres National Forest land.

The blaze, which started July 1 and burned the foothills directly above the Goleta Valley, affected several facilities, including the Southern California Edison powerline, a Goleta Water District treatment plant, and the Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board underground water pipeline and reservoirs. Orchards, roads and a cultural site were also damaged by the fire.

The report labeled the soil burn severity as moderate, but rated the potential for flooding as “high to very high,” and warned of threats to both life and property, particularly in the areas directly downstream of the burned watersheds. Approximately 300,000 cubic yards of sediment is at risk of descending.

“Increased flooding, sedimentation and debris flow probability have the potential to damage 120-plus residences, 70-plus business properties, impact Highway 101 and the railroad, which could result in closure, close the Santa Barbara Airport, cause power outages if debris flows affect the powerline, and affect domestic water supplies through impacts to the water treatment plant and the Cachuma Operation and Maintenance board water pipeline,” said the BAER report.

“These potential serious and long-lasting impacts to downstream values are estimated to be over $23 million.”

The airport, it said, could lose an estimated $1.4 million per closure, and a $10 million wetland restoration project in the Goleta Slough could be destroyed. … [more]

Note: the erosion from the 9,544 acre Gap Fire is dwarfed by the erosion and flash flooding caused by the 240,000 acre Zaca Fire (2007) [here] and the 244,000 acre Basin/Indians Fire (2008) [here], both of which were also on the Los Padres National Forest. Over half a million acres of the LPNF have been incinerated in the last two years.

28 Sep 2008, 11:15am
Latest Wildlife News
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Analysis says more salmon coming into Klamath River

The Eureka Reporter, Sep 6 2008 [here]

Recent analysis of the salmon population in the Klamath River by the California Department of Fish and Game may be a positive indicator for the year to come.

In the weeks since Aug. 6, a crew operating six days per week on the lower Klamath has counted 274 adult fall chinook salmon harvested below the state Route 96 bridge in Weitchpec and 76 harvested below the U.S. Route 101 bridge.

The total Klamath basin quota for 2008 is 22,500 fish.

“The adult chinook are starting to come in,” said Sara Borok, associate fisheries biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game, who also runs the Klamath River Project, which has served as the creel census since 1978.

“We have a lot more jack salmon,” Borok said. Jack salmon are fish under 22 inches, while adult salmon extend more than 22 inches.

When there are a lot of jacks, the next year will result in third-year followed by fourth-year salmon, which are harvested, she said.

27 Sep 2008, 7:06pm
Latest Forest News
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Why Henry Paulson must be “contained”

By Michelle Malkin, September 22, 2023 [here]

Both parties in Washington are about to screw us over on an unprecedented scale. They are threatening us with fiscal apocalypse if we don’t fork over $700 billion to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and allow him to dole it out to whomever he chooses in whatever amount he chooses — without public input or recourse. They are rushing like mad to cram this Mother of All Bailouts down our throats in the next 72-96 hours. And right there in the text of the proposal is this naked power grab: “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”


My question for fellow conservatives: Do you trust this man?

I don’t.

Do you trust Hank Paulson’s judgment?

I don’t.
more »

27 Sep 2008, 6:53pm
Latest Forest News
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Treasury Nominee Hank Paulson Needs to Answer Some Questions

by  Steven Milloy, 06/13/2006 [here]

There are many unanswered questions that the Senate Finance Committee ought to pose to Treasury Secretary nominee Henry Paulson during his confirmation hearing.

Key inquiries should involve an unusual land deal Paulson oversaw while simultaneously serving as chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs and as vice chairman and, later, chairman of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), which is an environmental group that acquires private lands to place them permanently off-limits to commercial and residential uses.

Goldman’s board of directors expressly denied at its 2006 annual shareholder meeting that TNC was involved in the investment bank’s dealings pertaining to the 680,000 forested acres on the Chilean side of Tierra del Fuego. But tax records show Goldman paid TNC $144,000 to consult on the deal.

In January 2004, one month after Goldman’s public announcement that the land — a $35-million asset rightly belonging to Goldman shareholders — would be donated to establish a nature preserve, TNC elevated Paulson to the post of chairman. Additionally, Goldman announced in September 2004 that the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) had been selected as the recipient of the land gift. WCS’s 2004 annual report lists Paulson’s son, Merritt Paulson, under its “advisors and trustees.” WCS also appears on TNC’s website as an “organizational partner.”

The Chilean land originally belonged to Washington State-based Trillium Corp., which acquired it in 1993. Trillium’s original permits would have allowed for traditional harvesting of lumber. Instead, Trillium voluntarily undertook to design a “sustainable” forestry plan, regarded by conservation experts as innovative, highly pro-environment, and unprecedented in terms of scale and promise. Despite having clamored for sustainable development projects for decades, environmental groups mounted a nine-year-long opposition campaign, eventually forcing Trillium into financial difficulty that left the land vulnerable to takeover.

In January 2002, Goldman placed the winning bid on a portfolio of distressed debt that included a $30-million note of Trillium secured by the land. In November 2002, Goldman sued Trillium to collect on the defaulted note. One month later, Goldman took title to the land in settlement of the debt.

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24 Sep 2008, 1:37pm
Latest Wildlife News
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PETA Urges Ben & Jerry’s To Use Human Milk

WNBC.com, September 23, 2023

VERMONT — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, cofounders of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., urging them to replace cow’s milk they use in their ice cream products with human breast milk, according to a statement recently released by a PETA spokeswoman.

“PETA’s request comes in the wake of news reports that a Swiss restaurant owner will begin purchasing breast milk from nursing mothers and substituting breast milk for 75 percent of the cow’s milk in the food he serves,” the statement says.

PETA officials say a move to human breast milk would lessen the suffering of dairy cows and their babies on factory farms and benefit human health.

“The fact that human adults consume huge quantities of dairy products made from milk that was meant for a baby cow just doesn’t make sense,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Everyone knows that ‘the breast is best,’ so Ben & Jerry’s could do consumers and cows a big favor by making the switch to breast milk.” … [more]

24 Sep 2008, 1:22pm
Latest Climate News
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Gore urges civil disobedience to stop coal plants

By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmental crusader Al Gore urged young people on Wednesday to engage in civil disobedience to stop the construction of coal plants without the ability to store carbon.

The former U.S. vice president, whose climate change documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” won an Academy Award, told a philanthropic meeting in New York City that “the world has lost ground to the climate crisis.”

“If you’re a young person looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now, and not done, I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration,” Gore told the Clinton Global Initiative gathering to loud applause. … [more]

24 Sep 2008, 12:48pm
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Guest View: Fire plays a critical role in Lake Tahoe’s past, present and future

by Terri Marceron, Forest Supervisor for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of the U.S. Forest Service, in the Tahoe Daily Tribune, September 23, 2023

By choosing to live in the Lake Tahoe Basin, we have chosen to be a neighbor to fire. Long before we arrived, lightning strikes ignited wildfires that cleared brush and dead trees from the forest floor and kept the remaining trees widely spaced. These fires were frequent and small in size, typically with low flame heights.

Over the past century, as more people have settled around Lake Tahoe, we have aggressively suppressed fires. Forests once described as open and parklike now are dense with fuels. A thick understory of smaller trees, brush and dead vegetation carries fire to the treetops. Once there, the fire can begin a rapid and intense spread through the narrowly spaced crowns. The unintended result of decades of fire suppression has been a higher risk of catastrophic wildfire.

Clearly, we can’t turn back the clock and allow wildfire to fully resume its natural role. We must suppress wildfires that threaten our communities. But using fire on our terms, called prescribed fire, is an important tool for reducing the fuel load in our forests and restoring them to a healthier condition.

Currently, the most common prescribed fire in the Lake Tahoe Basin is pile burning. The piles represent a final step in the first phase of treatments to thin forests, limit the fuel available to a wildfire and reduce the opportunity for fire to spread to the tree crowns.

Many local residents support pile burning. Even when they’re bothered by the smoke, they understand that the inconvenience is temporary, particularly compared with the intensity and duration of smoke from a catastrophic wildfire. Nonetheless, every year, questions arise about why the Forest Service and other agencies pile and burn. … [more] (Be sure to read the comments after Marceron’s essay. They are very good.)

22 Sep 2008, 9:06pm
Latest Forest News
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How the Democrats Created the Financial Crisis: Kevin Hassett

Commentary by Kevin Hassett, Bloomberg.com [here]

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) — The financial crisis of the past year has provided a number of surprising twists and turns, and from Bear Stearns Cos. to American International Group Inc., ambiguity has been a big part of the story.

Why did Bear Stearns fail, and how does that relate to AIG? It all seems so complex.

But really, it isn’t. Enough cards on this table have been turned over that the story is now clear. The economic history books will describe this episode in simple and understandable terms: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac exploded, and many bystanders were injured in the blast, some fatally.

Fannie and Freddie did this by becoming a key enabler of the mortgage crisis. They fueled Wall Street’s efforts to securitize subprime loans by becoming the primary customer of all AAA-rated subprime-mortgage pools. In addition, they held an enormous portfolio of mortgages themselves.

In the times that Fannie and Freddie couldn’t make the market, they became the market. Over the years, it added up to an enormous obligation. As of last June, Fannie alone owned or guaranteed more than $388 billion in high-risk mortgage investments. Their large presence created an environment within which even mortgage-backed securities assembled by others could find a ready home.

The problem was that the trillions of dollars in play were only low-risk investments if real estate prices continued to rise. Once they began to fall, the entire house of cards came down with them. …
more »

21 Sep 2008, 1:34pm
Latest Forest News
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3 dead in Olympic Peninsula shooting spree

By KING5.com Staff and Associated Press, September 21, 2023 [here]

SEQUIM, Wash. - A traffic stop in the woods in Clallam County Saturday led to the shooting death of a U.S. Forest Service officer, a shootout in which a fugitive was killed and the discovery of a third gunshot victim at the home of the owner of a pickup truck he was driving, the Washington State Patrol said.

It happened at about 2:40 p.m. on Forest Service Road 2880 outside of Sequim.

The officer, identified as Kris Fairbanks, 51, a certified canine officer with 15 years in the forest service, was checking on a van that didn’t have license plates, according to Krista Hedstrom, a spokesperson for Washington State Patrol. Fairbanks ran some data through state patrol dispatch, but then didn’t respond to any calls.

Deputies and state troopers responded to that area and found the officer dead. The van was no longer there.

State troopers began looking for a red or grey older Dodge van with no plates.

The suspect was identified as Shawn M. Roe, 36, whose last known address was in Everett and before that in Shelton.

Authorities found the van about 6:30 p.m., abandoned not far away in a densely wooded area, and posters and flyers warning people to be on the lookout for Roe were distributed around the Sequim area.

At 9:30 p.m., Hedstrom said, a security guard at the Longhouse Market and Deli near the Seven Cedars Casino on U.S. Highway 101 east of Sequim alerted sheriff’s deputies that a man meeting the suspect’s description was in the convenience store.

Two deputies arrived and told the suspect to put up his hands as he came out of the store, but he drew at least one handgun and fired at least once before both deputies opened fire, Hedstrom said. Neither deputy was hit.

Hedstrom describes Roe as a convicted felon with “an active criminal history” who was supposed to be under state Corrections Department supervision. Details of his crimes and supervision have not been released, but Hedstrom says he apparently was not being sought on any warrant. She says he was carrying with two modern handguns and an older six-shooter when he died.

Investigators checked the registration of a white pickup Roe was seen driving when he arrived at the store, went to the house of the registered owner, located between the store and the campground, and found the body of a man who had been shot, Hedstrom said.

The third shooting victim was described only as a man in his 60s.

No one else was known to be hurt in the shootings, Hedstrom said.

“We’re just hoping that nobody else shows up” dead or injured, she said.

Fairbanks leaves behind a teenage daughter and her husband, who is a Fish and Wildlife officer.

19 Sep 2008, 12:00am
Latest Climate News
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Lehman Brothers Close Ties to Gore, Hansen and Carbon Trading

by Eduardo Ferreyra, John McLean, and Joe D’Aleo, ICECAP, Sep 16, 2023

Al Gore’s carbon trading business GIM was banked with Lehman Bros. It will be interesting to see how this will play in the future but I suspect that this increases the risk of participating in Carbon trading. Merrill Lynch was also deeply involved in this business.

Last year Lehman Brothers released a long and highly publicized report about climate change in which they preached about decarbonization, trying to make their investors keep getting high profits from the Kyoto carbon trade scheme and the support of huge public subventions. All that, of course, with the applause of the usual choir of politicians, the entire media and the Greens.

A year ago they couldn’t predict their bankruptcy but were predicting the climate 100 years ahead. Thousands of green militants have been using the Lehman report as a proof of global warming and impending chaos. Lehman Bros said it! sacred words! Its scientific advisor is James Hansen! The report is the basis for policies on climate change in Spain, Argentina and several other countries playing the progress game; it is used by economy professors playing the climatologists; by newspapers editorials, and even by a State Secretary: Lehman Bros, said it! … [more]

18 Sep 2008, 10:44pm
Latest Fire News
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Our Fire, Our Fight

A brutal burn season in Klamath country leaves locals grumbling at federal firefighting tactics

By Malcolm Terence, Northcoast Journal, Sept. 18, 2008

I don’t think I’d ever seen Jim Bennett mad before this year’s fires came through his place. And Bennett is no stranger to fire. Before he retired in 1996, he’d worked 32 years as a fireman for the U.S. Forest Service on Salmon River. Fire had burned near his place in 1977. The canyon filled with brush and post-fire logging slash, then burned again in 1987. All this and Jim Bennett, the calmest man on the river, finally got angry after the out-of-town firefighters brought the latest fire down to his backyard this summer.

“The fire team isn’t here to put it out. They want to steer it around,” he grumbled. “They started the burnout at my place at the wrong time. Three o’clock on a hot afternoon is not a safe time in this drainage. They were in a hurry. They had a goal to get the line burned out up to Forks of Salmon by 1800.” (That’s 6 p.m. to ordinary clock-watchers.)

He said the bad timing made the burnout ignition so hot that the fires breached a fireline at a water-filled ditch above his place and the crews backed down to save the structures in his small neighborhood. “They tell me, ‘You still have your house,’” he said contemptuously. It is not his usual style of speech.

Bennett is chief of the Salmon River Fire and Rescue and no stranger, he explains, to the use of fire to prevent a worse fire. His Karuk father and grandfather told him about how the Indians used to burn late in the fall until the US Forest Service banned the practice. He, himself, remembers how the cowboys used to light fires in the high country meadows when they brought down their herds of cattle in the late fall. “They all knew when to burn. When they stopped that burning, the high meadows became brushfields.” … [more]

17 Sep 2008, 3:32pm
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Task force called in to protect Crescent Lake structures

Hwy. 58 shut through the day; evacuees will be out until at least Thursday

By Barney Lerten and Keisha Burns, KTVZ.COM [here]

Last Updated: Sep 17, 2023 01:00 PM

A fast-growing wildfire blackened about 400 acres on the Deschutes National Forest northeast of Crescent Lake Tuesday afternoon, forcing closure of a 12-mile stretch of state Highway 58 and evacuation of about 100 homes and 120 people in the small town of Crescent Lake Junction and nearby areas.

Bulldozer lines were built around the Royce Butte Fire’s perimeter overnight, but erratic winds continued to send spot fires jumping over the lines Wednesday, said Jean Nelson-Dean of the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center in Prineville.

The fire, estimated at one point late Tuesday at 1,000 acres, was reduced to 600 acres, then 400 acres Wednesday morning due to more accurate mapping. The fire was 10 percent contained by midday Wednesday.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski has declared the fire a conflagration, clearing the way for the state fire marshal to mobilize firefighters and gear to help local resources fighting the blaze.

Central Oregon’s “Conflagration Interface Task Force 1″ was activated around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, with firefighters from Bend, La Pine, Black Butte Ranch and other agencies called to the La Pine Fire Station 101 and dispatched to help protect homes and businesses threatened by the fire. Officials said this was a staffing move and did not mean dangers had increased overnight.

A task force from Lane County also was en route, and a task force from Klamath County was on scene, officials said.

Eleven evacuees spent the night at a Red Cross shelter set up at Crescent Community Center, with dozens more checking to make friends and loved ones aware of their whereabouts, said Red Cross disaster coordinator Bobbie Bourne. She said she expected more to do so, once they learn they won’t be able to return home until at least Thursday.

A community meeting to give the latest info and answer questions is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Crescent High School music room, 201 Mountain View Dr., officials said.

more »

17 Sep 2008, 1:36pm
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Contract firefighter dies after construction accident

By Kimberly Ross, Record Searchlight, September 17, 2023 [here]

A 77-year-old Happy Camp man has died from injuries suffered while serving as a contract firefighter in Siskiyou County, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman said Tuesday.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday commended Curtis Hillman Sr. for his service and announced that Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff in his honor, a spokesman from his office said.

Hillman, a member of the Karuk tribe, was operating a grader to improve road conditions and access for firefighters. They were working the Siskiyou and Blue 2 Complex of fires when Hillman was injured Aug. 25, public information officer Mike Ferris said.

He was working on forest roads 14 and 21, about half a mile from Highway 96 just south of Dillon Creek Campground, Ferris said. The area is halfway between Happy Camp and Orleans.

When his grader failed to start, Hillman and another worker tried to fix the problem. The grader then started, but its brake failed and it began to roll backward. Both men fell or jumped off the machine, and Hillman hit his head, Ferris said.

He was flown to Mercy Medical Center in Redding, where he died from his injuries Thursday, Ferris said.

His is the 13th death as a result of the June lightning strikes that ignited fires across the north state.

A celebration of Hillman’s life is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at the River Park Pavilion in Happy Camp, Ferris said.

An obituary in the Eureka Times-Standard says Hillman is survived by his wife, Susan, of Happy Camp, brother Grant of Orleans, children Charlene Neaf and husband Danny of Weaverville; Curtis R. Hillman Jr. and girlfriend Serena of Arcata; Leeon C. Hillman and wife Erin of Happy Camp; Shelly Niewinski and husband Jeff of Weaverville; Skooter Hillman of Happy Camp, 14 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Mercy Medical Center Hospitality House in Redding.

17 Sep 2008, 1:26am
Latest Forest News
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Four arrests, more sought in reservation pot raids

Four arrested on federal charges; pot worth $23 million

By Nina Mehlhaf, KTVZ.COM and news sources [here]

Officials say a Mexican drug cartel turned remote patches of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation into vast marijuana plantations the past two growing seasons. …

An Oregon National Guard flyover spotted the grows out near Maupin, hidden under trees in a very steep ravine, only accessible by what locals say is a two-hour hike down, or a raft trip down the Deschutes.

Four men, three of them Mexican nationals, have been arrested and arraigned on drug charges. Federal prosecutors said in a statement Friday that “the investigation and pursuit of additional suspects continues.”

Warm Springs tribal police say the grows were funded, organized and operated by a Mexican cartel now set up in Northwest. Police say they pick tribal reservations because they’re isolated, and short of officers who would be able to go after major traffickers. … [more]

16 Sep 2008, 1:56pm
Latest Forest News
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Conservation groups sue over lumber pact dollars

by Donna Gordon Blankenship, Seattle PI, September 12, 2023 [here]

SEATTLE — Three conservation groups are suing the federal government over a decision to give millions of dollars to forestry foundations, saying the money illegally bypassed the U.S. Treasury and Congress.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court here by the Forest Stewardship Council-United States, Conservation Northwest and the Center for Biological Diversity.

“This is the only lawsuit that our organization has ever filed in its history. That shows you how serious we believe this case to be,” Corey Brinkema, president of the Forest Stewardship Council-United States, said Friday.

The $350 million contributions that are the focus of the lawsuit were part of payments made by Canada to settle a lumber trade dispute in September 2006. The office of the U.S. Trade Representative picked the timber groups to receive the donations that were part of an agreement called the U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement.

The conservation groups allege that the way the money was distributed - without any public process or congressional approval and by having the Canadian government make the contributions - was a form of money laundering.

The actions violated federal appropriations laws because money owed to the United States in the settlement of a lawsuit is supposed to go directly to the U.S. Treasury, said Peter Goldman, director of the Washington Forest Law Center and lead attorney for this case.

The lawsuit seeks a declaration that the $350 million should have gone through the U.S. Treasury, but does not request that the money be returned by the forestry foundations. The lawsuit also requests a declaration that the Softwood Lumber Agreement was illegal under federal environmental laws and seeks an environmental analysis of the agreement.

The forestry foundations that received a total of $350 million - the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities and the American Forest Foundation - are not being sued and neither are the other organizations that benefited from the agreement. The lawsuit does not challenge the way the rest of the settlement, which totaled $1 billion, was distributed to other organizations, including Habitat for Humanity International and the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports.

The conservation groups decided to challenge only the money given to the two forest foundations because that was the only part of the settlement that harmed the plaintiff organizations’ interests, Goldman said.

The lawsuit names the office of the U.S. trade representative, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, the U.S. Commerce Department, Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and W. Ralph Basham, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Gretchen Hamel, a spokeswoman for the U.S. trade representative, said Friday that her office does not comment on pending litigation.

Brinkema called the process a breach of trust as well as a setback for healthy forests.

“In this new era of environmental responsibility, now is not the time to be breaking the law and diverting funds to timber industry-dominated forestry organizations,” Brinkema said.

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities was established in 2006 to spend money from the Softwood Lumber Agreement to promote and educate people about forest management and the sustainability of forests as sources of building materials, wildlife habitat, bio-energy and recreation, according to the nonprofit organization’s Web site.

The American Forest Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1981 to encourage forest sustainability and wildlife habitat and to educate the public about the social, economic and environmental benefits that forests provide.

The lawsuit also contends the U.S. trade representative was required by federal law to conduct an environmental review before distributing the timber settlement money in a way that benefits American forests.

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