Letter by Jesse Hay
It is time for the illusions to end. The residents of Southeast Alaska, all tourists, all ``environmentalists'' and the federal government - listen closely. We have not cut too many trees from the Tongass National Forest. In the 17 million-acre Tongass, only 3 percent is available for harvest, ever. That amount is 576,000 thousand acres and that's a 70 percent reduction from 10 years ago. After losing approximately 1,500 jobs in Southeast Alaska when the pulp mills closed, one of the backbones of Ketchikan's economy is dying. The Clinton administration's recent roadless plan for all our national forests is the last straw.
Don't be fooled by the misleading newspaper headlines about the roadless plan. The Tongass is included in the roadless proposal. Under the draft plan, the Tongass policies would be applied in 2004 rather than the fall of 2000. As it stands, two-thirds of the planned timber harvest over the next five years in the Tongass will be eliminated either way. I will not stand for more federal control over our Tongass National Forest.
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