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I thought back to my daughter's college graduation when I read Eric Lee and Clancy DeSmet's letters in defense of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council's attacks on the Kensington Mine project and logging in the Tongass National Forest (Wednesday's Juneau Empire). It's hard to believe there is a connection but I definitely feel there is one.
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My oldest daughter received an academic scholarship and attended Willamette University in Salem, Ore. I am a small-business man and really never paid too much attention to this school other than to know that it was expensive. My daughter eventually graduated with a degree in chemistry and went on to graduate school.
When I went down to attend my daughter's graduation, she warned me that the university and its faculty were a little extreme on environmental issues. I've been around, so I told her that I could handle just about anything. As it turned out, even I was taken back by the theme of the commencement speaker. We were told by this seasoned activist that, in general, industry was bad for the country and that the new graduates should go out in the world and do what they can to stop industry's growth. For what it is worth, it seemed like most of the law students graduating from Willamette that year were getting degrees in environmental law.
Seeing how effective SEACC has been in curtailing the logging in the Tongass National Forest and stopping mining operations, we in Southeast Alaska are probably just seeing the tip of the iceberg. Schools and universities all over the country are probably turning these SEACC types out by the thousands.
It is too bad that our schools don't teach the truth and make our children understand that it really was industry that made our country great. Environmental organizations such as SEACC had nothing to do with it. When all the mining, logging and other types of industry that create real wealth in our country are gone, and we are all forced to speak Chinese, I am going to get some satisfaction by knowing that all the endowments and donations that have kept the likes of SEACC going will be gone too.
Edwin E. Johnson