Anything but a 'healthy forest' law

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, December 05, 2003

President Bush has signed the so-called "Healthy Forest" legislation. We live in the middle of the largest federal national forest in the United States of America. The Tongass National Forest is the healthiest national forest in our system and the largest climax temperate rainforest left in the world. This piece of legislation will do nothing for the Tongass National Forest but make it "unhealthy."

• According to U.S. Forest Service analysis, 92 percent of the land presenting a risk from wildfires to communities is on non-federal land, yet the legislation signed by President Bush today only focuses on federal lands.

• The legislation limits public participation on timber sales to 30 days and the timber corporations are allowed to keep the sales available to cut for a 10-year period.

• President Bush has gutted most of the environmental laws. This piece of legislation, which deals with public lands, undermines the "Heart of NEPA," according to the court system.

• This legislation provides no protection for ancient, old-growth forests and provides no protection for roadless wildlands. We have no forest fires here yet, but President Bush will soon enter the Tongass National Forest with his proposals dictated by his timber industry friends.

It is interesting to know that 70 percent of our nation's forests are privately owned. It is also interesting to know that according to the USFS statistics, 37 times more money is made off of tourism than the timber industry.

Cliff Lobaugh

Juneau

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