Your recent article "USFS to cancel 20 timber sales" (Jan. 13) was just more evidence of the inappropriate influence that timber interests have over the Tongass National Forest. The Forest Service loses millions of our taxpayer dollars every year preparing timber sales and then selling these public trees to logging companies at rock-bottom prices.
Yet that doesn't stop the timber corporations from whining for more. First they lobby the government for the right to buy our spruce and cedar for a pittance. Then when market prices for Tongass timber plummet they run straight back to the Forest Service for a refund. What's next? I wouldn't be surprised if the Forest Service were to repack these sales to be sold for even less, just as they did with losing sales last year.
The timber industry should stop licking its greedy lips during a time when profits will not actualize. As was stated in the Jan. 13 article, the Southeast Alaska timber industry cannot compete with low-cost producers overseas or with tree farms in the southern U.S.
The U.S. Forest Service needs to learn some lessons from the 20 timber sales that they are canceling: don't waste taxpayers' money, don't tempt the timber industry to bid on timber sales that won't be viable and, most importantly, don't down our trees when they have more value standing!