In 1980 the equal access to justice act was passed to protect the rights of small businesses and individuals from government actions. The thought behind it is well intended, but that law is being misused. Environmental groups are essentially paid by the government to file suit against the government. Some environmental lawyers are paid at rates as high as $750 an hour. The environmentalists say they aren't getting rich, but they also claim salvage logging on the Archie Creek Fire along roads will adversely impact northern spotted owls where habitat won't be suitable for a hundred-plus years, if ever. Two things are clear: One environmentalists have no regard for truth; two, they don't care about the environment, the additional hazards they create for firefighters, your homes or your life even, not to mention natural resources. Why do they obstruct salvage sales? For a few lousy government dollars. That is what's happening. The result is more and larger fires and increased damage to the environment.

A Notre Dame Journal of Legislation said: "The equal access to justice act had a noble purpose, but has become an incalculable waste of taxpayer money." The government has no idea how much the act has cost in dollars, not to mention environmental degradation. There have been attempts to change the law, but nothing has happened. Don't be fooled by legislation such as the free rivers act, or Moore act created to make Wyden, DeFazio and Merkley look like they care and distract the public. Our politicians have allowed an incredible increase in snags for decades. As the snag numbers increase so do the risks and consequences from catastrophic fire. The result? Our forests contribute to global warming as we choke in smoke and watch our forests burn.

Don Wilson

Roseburg

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(4) comments

E.V. Debs

Wilson either doesn't know what he talking about and is still trying to sound authoritative, or he's purposely not telling the truth.

In July 1997, in Barrow, Alaska, I was talking to the Governor of Alaska, Tony Knowles, at a party for Bruce Babbitt, then-Secretary of the Interior. Arnold Brower, the leader of the local tribe came up to us and asked if Babbitt knew me. He said, "I don't. What does he do?"

Arnold said, "He gives people a hard time."

Babbitt asked, "Did you come to give me a hard time?"

I said, "No, I came to give the Governor a hard time, but were's through discussing it.. I think except for a few things, you're doing a pretty good job."

"What things?," Babbitt asked.

I said, "Like the 'Salvage Logging Rider'."

"Oh," he said. "That was a mistake."

Clinton had vetoed the legislation, but the timber industry went wild and it came back to him a second time, with the assurances that it wouldn't be a problem.

Then the industry ran wild, sued the feds, and judges upheld the exemption that allowed them to destroy the California and Oregon environment, wholesale. They got what Wilson wants now, and which he's misinforming News Review readers about. The exemption had expired six months earlier, fortunately.

Nothing matters to the Weyerhausers, the Kochs, etc., except profits, no matter what Wilson writes here.

Activists have been earnestly protecting our environment from depredation since the days of John Muir or earlier. Now THAT'S the truth!!

Wretched722

The only animals left after these devastating fires are now crispy critters....figure it out...

Huge bbfan

Brilliant letter. Finally someone understands the environmentalists agenda.

E.V. Debs

Not "brilliant" at all. It's most likely intentionally deceptive, or if not, woefully uninformed.

The 1980 legislation allowed for payments of $125/hour, which have been increased annually to reflect the increase in the Cost of Living. As of last year,

the maximum pay, except in very exceptional circumstances, is $207.78 an hour. Wealthy corporations or individuals are not entitled to compensation (individuals can't be worth more than $7 million. Enhanced Fees

Enhanced hourly rates in immigration cases are not available “pursuant to

the statutory exception for limited availability of qualified attorneys where the

litigation in question required no ‘distinctive knowledge’ or ‘specialized skill.’”

Thangaraja v. Gonzales, 428 F.3d 870, 876 (9th Cir. 2005) . See generally United States v. Real Prop. Known as 22249 Dolorosa St., 190 F.3d 977, 985 (9th Cir. 1999) (as amended) (requiring for enhanced fees a showing that “no suitable counsel would have taken on claimants’ case at the statutory rate”).

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