About 50 loggers, mill workers and family members picketing in front of the White House on Wednesday said President Clinton won’t be welcome when he returns to the Pacific Northwest this month.
The demonstrators protested Clinton’s veto of a measure intended to accelerate logging on national forests and criticized what they said was the failure of his Northwest forest plan.
“Mr. Clinton, why don’t you stay home until you fix this like you said you would two years ago?” said Judy Wortman of Enterprise, Ore.
“President Clinton is no friend of the West. His only hugs have been for trees,” she said.
Clinton plans to visit Portland at the end of the month.
Protesters urged the firing of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and carried signs that read, “Stop Clinton’s War on the West,” “We’ve Been Gored by Clinton,” and “Hey Bill, Even a Big Mac is Wrapped in Paper.”
Clinton said he vetoed a spending cuts bill earlier this month partly because it included language that would have exempted some logging on national forests from environmental laws.
“Nobody’s worked any harder than I have to start logging again in our country’s forests in an appropriate way. Suspending all of the environmental laws of the country for three years is not the appropriate way,” Clinton said in his veto address.
Robert Gardner, Brookings, Ore., a leader of the Curry County Oregon Project, said on Wednesday, “The little mom-and-pop outfits are getting crushed by this.”
Two other protesters, Larry Mason of Forks, Wash., and Nadine Bailey of Redding, Calif., both participated two years ago in the forest conference in Portland that led to Clinton’s Northwest plan.
The plan calls for federal logging levels in the region to fall to about one-fourth the level of the 1980s but has failed to reach even those levels so far.
“Here we are two years after the Forest Conference and we’ve got nothing,” Mason said Wednesday. “Where I live next to the 650,000 acres of the Olympic National Forest, nothing is happening.”
Bailey, who founded California Women In Timber and works for the California Forestry Association, said, “I used to be inside the fence and now I have to protest outside.”
The protesters demonstrated in front of the White House, then moved across Pennsylvania Avenue to Lafayette Park, where a half dozen homeless people slept undisturbed.