Bertrand Adams Sr. of Yakutat has expressed concern that Gov. Murkowski recently branded the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe as extremists (letters to the editor, Sept. 9). It was obvious to me the governor was referring to EarthJustice, which has long been in the forefront of the effort to eliminate the timber industry in Southeast Alaska.
This organization, with its close association with the Sierra Club, does merit the label "extreme environmental group." They have consistently opposed virtually every substantial Tongass timber sale over the past decade. They have said they support only locally owned, value-added, small-scale wood processors. But they fought against a locally owned veneer facility in Ketchikan and have sued over sales to supply logs to family-owned mills in Klawock, Ketchikan, Wrangell and Hoonah.
It is unfortunate the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe's choice of a law firm in this instance resulted in them feeling tarred with the same brush, but no one should apologize for recognizing and identifying the agenda of the lawyers at EarthJustice.
The Yakutat Tlingit Tribe may legitimately be concerned about the proximity of the Yakutat timber sale to the Situk River. But their concerns could easily have been addressed using the cooperative memorandum-of-understanding process that Mr. Adams spoke of, instead of an injunction against the timber sale. EarthJustice, however, had a different agenda. By convincing the court to halt the harvest, they caused severe economic harm to the logging and mill companies' employees, their families, and the local communities.