Copyright (c) 1996 Tulane Environmental Law Journal
Tulane Environmental Law Journal
COMMENT: LOGGING WITHOUT LAWS: THE 1995 SALVAGE LOGGING RIDER RADICALLY CHANGES POLICY AND THE RULE OF LAW IN THE FORESTS
9 Tul. Envtl. L.J. 447
Trilby C.E. Dorn *
On July 27, 1995, Congress passed the "Emergency Salvage Timber Sale Program," 1 otherwise known as the "Logging Without Laws Rider," or the "Salvage Rider." The Salvage Rider, attached to a rescissions bill to ensure little debate and swift passage, marks a radical change in national forest policy and in government based on the rule of law. The Rider was intended to expedite "salvage" logging of dead or dying trees by suspending environmental laws and limiting judicial review. However, the rider has recently been interpreted by the courts to allow logging of healthy old-growth timber without environmental or judicial review as well.
This comment addresses the legislative underpinnings, legal provisions, judicial interpretations, and practical effects of the salvage rider. Sections II and III discuss the development of national forest policy before the rider, Section IV analyzes the rider's passage and legal provisions, and Section V summarizes early judicial interpretations of the rider. Section VI concludes that the salvage rider marks a distinct break in the movement of national forest policy towards the creation of judicially enforceable standards, management based on good science and citizen participation, and away from unreviewable agency discretion.
II. The Evolution of National Forest Policy
There are 191 million total acres of National Forest land in the United States today, comprising approximately one tenth of the continent. 2 While 163 million of these acres are located in the western states, the economic and ...
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