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We must manage Tongass wisely

Letters

Posted: Thursday, December 21, 2000

Special interests cynically lobby to keep the Tongass National Forest off the roadless list for U.S. national forests. These interests profit from the same policies that have been the norm in our nation's national forests and other public lands. They have enriched themselves at the public's expense for years, aided and abetted by greedy politicians and complacent bureaucrats.

Alaska's congressional delegation, bought and paid for by, and ever the willing handmaidens of those same exploitative industries, would annihilate Alaska's national forests the same way other forests have been. They give no consideration to the use or enjoyment of our national forests by the owners of those national forests - the American citizen or for any use other than total resource exploitation. Future generations are forgotten entirely.

Many local politicians, augmented by the Juneau-based "Southeast Conference," cynically bend to the hot air and propaganda of special interests, falsely claiming they represent the people' universal interests. Balderdash and horsefeathers. That claim is simply not true. Adding insult, they spend scarce public funds in their lobbying campaigns.

Alaska's governor does the same, claiming he is only facing political reality. That may be true, but even if so, it is a gutless act by the governor.

Of course we can and should cut timber from the Tongass. We can manage a sustainable timber supply on current roads to provide for strong local timber industries, and we should provide incentives for the development of local value-added processing. But, no more the paying of subsidies to big industries - even some foreign-owned - to rape ourselves.

Can anyone really want the Tongass National Forest to look like Washington's Snoqualmie or Olympic National Forests outside the parks? Have you seen the results of exploitation down there? It's disgraceful and shameful - even changing the climate.

We should keep in mind; our national forests belong to all Americans - not just those in Southeast Alaska.

Erik Lie-Nielsen

Juneau



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