The people who make laws and regulation, and create management plans,
concerning old growth forests and factors affecting old growth forests, are the policy
makers. Persons involved in creating policies and management plans are politicians,
committees, and federal and state government agencies. There are many beliefs held by
policy makers concerning the northern spotted owl, because the policy makers are
supporting the environmentalists, logging industry, the public, interest groups, and
citizens. Politicians opinions also vary due to the diversity of opinion between the voters
of each state, whom the politicians represent. This portion of the paper will discuss the
statements and arguments made by policy makers concerning the northern spotted owl and
old growth forest.
A major point that is argued, concerning the owls and the old growth forest, is that
since old growth forests are rapidly being cut, that the owls will soon not have any habitat
left. The Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. =A7 1532, ESA =A7 3 (19)) states that
endangered species cannot be "harmed", and 50 C.F.R. =A7 17.3 states that "harm" could
be considered as habitat modification. This makes harvesting practices very difficult to do
on old growth forests, because by destroying habitat, "harm" is being done. The Forest
Service and Bureau of Land Management are required by the National Environmental
Protection Act (NEPA), the Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act (MUSY), and the National
Forest Management Act (NFMA), to protect endangered species, but timber industries are
not regulated by these acts. Therefore, the ESA is needed where the NEPA, MUSY, and
NFMA do not regulate harvesting practices on private lands. The Subcommittee on
Environmental Protection, a committee of US senators, was formed to solve the spotted
owl/old growth forest issue. Most of the committee members supported the ESA, but
they do not all support it the same way. They all stated that the ESA is a good act, but the
act needs to be revised. See Table 1.

Table 1. Positions of State Senators Concerning the Northern Spotted Owl 1
Senator State Is the owl to blame How should the ESA
Representing for job losses? be handled?
Mark Approves ESA but ESA
Hatfield Oregon Yes should be revised
Robert Approves ESA but ESA
Packwood Oregon Yes should be revised
Slade Approves ESA but ESA
Gorton Washington Yes should be revised
Brock Approves ESA but ESA
Adams Washington Yes/No should be revised
Max Approves ESA but ESA
Baucus Montana No should be revised
Steve Approves ESA but ESA
Symms Idaho Yes should be revised
George Approves ESA but ESA
Mitchell Maine No should be revised
John Approves ESA but ESA
Chafee Rhode Island No should be revised
Joseph Approves ESA but ESA
Lieberman Connecticut No should be revised

1Based on statements made by members of the Subcommittee on Environmental
Protection (US Government Printing Office 1992)

The majority felt that one of the main problems with the act was the problem with
how listings should be dealt with. Currently, species are usually listed without regard to
human needs, or economics. Another problem is that some species listed as threatened or
endangered are actually subspecies of a primary species. One example is the northern
spotted owl which is a subspecies of the spotted owl species. Senator Steve Symms of
Idaho said the ESA should be renamed the "Geographically Specific Sub-population Act"
(US Government Printing Office 1992). Senator Steve Symms also stated that few
species have been delisted since the ESA was enacted. Many argue that recovery of most
endangered species is difficult or impossible. Yet the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
stated that given enough time and money that recovery can happen for many of the
species listed as threatened or endangered (US Government Printing Office 1992).
Job losses are another issue concerning the northern spotted owls and the
old growth forest. Many policy makers argue that the owls will cause job losses in the
timber industry. Senator Robert Packwood of Oregon said 60,000 jobs would be lost in
the timber industry due to harvesting restrictions (US Government Printing Office 1992).
The Forest Service estimates a 20,000 job loss will occur in the timber industry due to
management plans to conserve the spotted owl on National Forests (timber towns in
trouble). Senator Max Baucus of Montana said job losses will continue in forest industry
irregardless of how we protect the owl (US Government Printing Office 1992). Baucus
argues that owls will only cause job losses to decrease slightly in the timber industry.
Senator Brock Adams of Washington said although timber production grew in the 1980s,
employment in the timber industry still dropped by 26,000 mainly due to automation of
timber mills (US Government Printing Office 1992). What this means is that upgrades of
technology in timber mills have made the mills more efficient in cutting lumber. This
causes more timber to be cut