'Opposition' is the public

Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2003

A recent Empire article details Sen. Stevens' efforts to limit appeals of Tongass timber sales to within 30 days of the announcement of a sale.

In the article, Alaska Forest Association President George Woodbury praises Stevens' actions, saying "Time is always on the opposition's side." Excuse me for pointing out, Mr. Woodbury, that the "opposition" you refer to is, in fact, the public.

Southeast Alaskans have a right to influence government decisions about the national forest they live in, and Stevens' amendment would drastically limit that right. It's no surprise that Mr.. Woodbury, a representative of the logging industry, celebrates a congressional action that would give his industry more power. Sadly, more power for logging means less for the "opposition" - the hunters, guides, hikers, fishermen and plain old residents who use the Tongass and have an interest in its future. The less time citizens have to appeal timber sales that are undesirable, uneconomical, or even illegal, the less chance they have to make sure the timber industry logs responsibly.

So yes, Mr. Woodbury, time is on our side. The question is, why do we let public representatives like Sen. Stevens take it away from us?

Timothy C. Miles


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