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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
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April 24, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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April 24, 1997
 

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,e,. Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, April 24, 1997 29 Your tax dollars at work: BLM sells Trees at a loss PEER calls on Government to "Show me the money" WASHINGTON, DC--An investigation of the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Public Domain forestry pro- gram by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibil- ity (PEER) reveals that nearly all BLM districts lose money on their timber sale programs. Monetary losses from the BLM's forestry program roughly equal the agency's entire forest management budget. The program could lose more than $30 million over the next five years. The agency's attempt to spend its way out of the red has proven counterproductive. The more money spent by BLM to sell timber, the greater the losses. Despite this effort, the forestry program budget continues to grow. The BLM is currently requesting an increase of nearly 20 percent for the 1998 budget. PEER Executive Director Jeff DeBonis, a longtime tim- ber sale planner for the Forest Service, said, "BLM proves that money doesn't grow on trees. As Americans face Tax Day, BLM's mismanagement places taxpayers just another day older and deeper in debt." PEER's findings show hundreds of sales conducted on public domain lands every year do more than just drain the Treasury. Public domain lands are not as timber dense as other traditional commercial forests, so the BLM must cut trees on more than nine times as much land in order to get the same volume of timber. This causes significant ecologi- cal damage to fragile, transitional forests, many of which possess little commercial value but provide a vital wildlife habitat buffer zone between range land and upland forests. In the five major timber producing states within the public domain, receipts to BLM for timber simply do not cover the costs of administering the sale program. The agency's appraisal system underestimates the true value of timber, resulting in prices below fair market value. These violations of basic business principles translate into a net loss to the U.S. Treasury. The PEER report, Land of No ReturnS, also documents BLM's preference for "lump sum, timber sales in which little or no competition occurs. Most public domain sales are sold on a "first come, first served" basis at the minimum bid price, not to the highest bidder. Although the agency is legally required to repay the government for the costs of sale administration, only a fraction of timber proceeds are returned to the U. S. Trea- sury. PEER found that most BLM districts operate their forestry programs at a considerable economic loss, with a significant portion of revenues diverted to salvage opera- tions in an account called the "Ecosystem Health Fund." This salvage harvesting fund, in turn, finances more money- losing timber sales for BLM. "It is mind boggling that the BLM can lose money while selling a public commodity," added DeBonis. "Any busi- ness that operates this way would be in Chapter 11 or under indictment for fraud." Another glaring problem with the Public Domain for- estry program is that BLM's financial shortfall has caused a marked increase in the need for reforestation. Government studies show that the BLM is foregoing huge future rev- enues due to the loss of future timber sales on public domain lands. In fact, the Interior Department Inspector General estimated that the agency lost as much as $90 million in potential timber revenue from 1986-1989. Despite slight budget reductions since the early 1990's, the Public Domain forestry program faces further financial instability due to the threat of legal action against BLM for timber sale contract defaults. The federal government admits the agency faces potential liability that could end up costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. This report, which focuses primarily on the poor finan- cial track record of the BLM's logging operations, is the sixth and final installment in a series by PEER critiquing the agency's Public Domain forestry program. PEER's previous report, Bureau of Land Mismanagement, exposes extensive maladministration by the agency, widespread timber theft and contract fraud. By some estimates, half of the timber harvested from the public domain is removed without pay- ment. The report documents sweetheart negotiated sales, one-sided land swaps and routine failure to enforce post- sale requirements, all to the detriment of both the public lands and the public treasury. The BLM in the Department of Interior manages more land than the Forest Service, National Park Service and Fish & Wildlife Service combined. In fact, the BLM is respon- sible for more than 270 million acres of land in the West. Despite its size, the BLM Public Domain forestry program receives very little attention. This PEER study is the first major review of the agency's timber practices in more than two decades. PEER is a national organization of resource management professionals at the local, state and federal levels dedicated to environmental ethics. Legals t ii I EXPENDITURES General Government $ 48,873.00 Public Safety $ 297,222.00 Highway & Streets $ 93,484.00 Culture & Recreation $ 70,044.00 Other general Expenses Transfers Out Contingency $ 15,289.00 Subtotal $ 524,912.00 Ending Balance $ 6,353.00 SHORT TERM DEBT Resources $ Transfers In Opening Balance $ Total 35,375.00 30,615.00 30,301.00 35,689.00 6s,990.00 Expenditures $ Transfers Out Fading Balance $ Total S SPECIAL CAPITAL PROJECTS Opening Balance $ 13,000.00 Resources $ 13,000.00 Transfers In Total _ Expenditures $ 26,000.00 Transfers Ending Balance .-, Total __$ Total Operaling Revenue Total Ov=g  Total Non-Op Revenue Totd Transfers In $ 628,000.00 $ 996,253.00 $ 135,500.00 $ 89,0O0.00 $ 34,396.00 $ 196,194.00 $ 53,917.00 $ 34,100.00 $ $ 318,607.00 $ 46,166.00 $ 364.773.00 $ 30,728.00 $ 30,615.00 $ 30,300.00 $ 31,043.00 $ 61,.3.00 $ 13,000.00 $ $ ts.00o.00 $ 13,000.00 $ 459,064.00 $ 496,774.00 $ 25,798.oo $ 58,411.00 J (312.753.00) TONOPAtl COMMUNITY CENTER Opening Balance $ 42,629.00 Resources $ 155,208.00 Trransfers In To _._$ 197.837.00 Expenditures $ 188,929.00 Transfers Out Ending Balance $ 8,908.00 Total _..$ 197,837.00 TPU DEBT SERVICE Opening Balance Resources $ 89,000.00 Transfers In Total  STATE ROOM TAX- TONOPAH Opening Balance $ I0,648.00 Resources $ 15,000.00 Transfers In Total $ 25.648.00 Expenditures $ 25,648.00 Transfers Out Ending Balance Total $ 25.648.0O CAPITAL PROJEC'I'S Opening Balance $ 120,361.00 Resources $ 4,OOO.OO Transfers In M _1 .36L00 Kx $ 84,361.00 Transfers Out $ 40,000.00 ending Bahu-Cou=-y TLaUl _J II I I II $ 70.23.00) $ 42,629.00 $ 116,332.00 $ lSS.96LO0 $ 138,674.00 $ 20,287.00 lS&96L00 $ 58,411.00 $ 58.411.00 $ 10,648.00 $ lO,306.00 $ 20.9s4. $ 10,035.00 $ 10,199.00 2o.9s4.oo $ 120,361.00 $ 3,846.00 $ 17,322.00 $ 106,885.00 NOTICE CALLING FOR BIDS The Superintendent of the Nye County School District, Tonopah, Nevada will re- eeive sealed bids at the Of- flee of the County Superin- tendent, Military Circle, P.O. Box 113, Tonopah, Nevada 89049, up lmtil 4 p.m. on Wednesday May 7, 1997 for the furnishing of Lot 5 Dupli- cator Paper and Lot 6 Milk and Dairy Products, to vari- ous schools of Nye County School Distric, t, pursuant to the specificatioason file with the County Superintendent, Tonopah, Nevada. Separate bids will be taken on each item. M eavdo must be sealed with the aP" proprlate item yen're bid- ding marked ou the entside of the envelope. The open- ing of the bids will be on May 8,1997 at the following limes: Lot 5 Duplicator Paper at 9:15 &m. and Lot 6 Milk and Dairy Products at 9:30 a.m. Award of the contract is scheduled for the May 21, 1997 Board of Trustees meeting. These contracts are to be in full force from July 1,1997 until June 30, 1998. The Board of Trustees of the Nye County School Dis- trict es the right to re- ject any or all bids and to accept the bid which it feels is in the best interest of the area to be served and/or the School District BOARD OF TRUSTEES NYE COUNTY SCHOOL DISrRICT RICHARD SCANLAN, CLERK ATTEST: GERALDINE H A R D G E , SUTEPANTNEDENT NYE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT PtLISH: APRIL 24,1997 MAY 1,199"/ JOB OPENING Esmevalda County Road Department is accepting ap- plications for an operator/ truck driver. This 40 hour per week full-time position. Monthly salary is $1,706.66. The position is in Goldfield. Applications are to be sent to amCnty M Treasurer'sOffice, P.O. Box 547, Goldfield, NV 891O3. Applications may also be picked up at the Clerk/ Treasurer's office. Applica- tions will be received until 5:00p.m., April 29,1997. Successful applicant may be appointed on Wednesday, April 30, 1997. Publish: 4/17, 4/24