scares me when I think of the future of Alaska. What with our Gov. Frank Murkowski ripping apart the Habitat Division of ADF&G, permit streamlining, and appointing the new hunter and predator control-biased Board of Game. If that's not enough to keep one up at night there's more. This past weekend, Sen. Ted Stevens inserted several new environmentally destructive riders into the Omnibus 2003 budget bill. With a total of three riders attached to the 2003 budget bill, Sen. Stevens seeks first to take away my ability, and the public's ability, to administratively appeal the upcoming Forest Service decision whether to designate wilderness on any of 9 million acres in Alaska's Tongass National Forest. Second, Sen. Stevens seeks to remove the Tongass and Chugach national forests from protection under the national roadless policy. Close to 50 timber sales are ready to go in Tongass roadless areas if this protection is removed. Sen. Stevens' third rider will rewrite the Tongass Timber Reform Act, to require that the Forest Service offer timber sales to meet market demand, regardless of effects on habitat and other forest resources. The heavily subsidized Tongass timber program is the biggest money loser of taxpayer dollars within the Forest Service, losing millions and millions annually, while destroying valuable habitat. This sounds like a "timber-first" nightmare to me. Gov. Murkowski and Sen. Stevens, in my opinion are abusing their positions as governor and chairman of Senate Appropriations and are making it hard for me to sleep at night.
Danielle B. Brown