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Enviro-Mich message from "david zaber" <dzaber@gateway.net>
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Dear Michiganders,

Here is an editorial regarding logging on national forests in the U.S.. It
comes from the Boulder, Co newspaper.  It pertains to Michigan since the
state contains large tracts of National Forest Lands.  I thought the folks
in Michigan would be interested in seeing what some other papers are saying
about our public forest lands.

EDITORIAL
Boulder Daily Camera -- October 6, 1998

TOWARD ZERO CUT

Commercial logging takes unacceptable toll on national forests

The president was correct to say, "the only trouble with the movement for
the preservation of our forests is that it has not gone nearly far enough."

How sad that this statement - which holds true today - was uttered by
Theodore Roosevelt in 1908. Within a century, 95 percent of America's
original forests have been opened to logging and nearly 400,000 miles of
roads are now part of the landscape. More logging and new access roads in
national forests are a threat to remaining wilderness, including 4 million
acres in Colorado.

A coalition of 22 environmentalists, including Colorado's Ancient Forest
Rescue, has signed onto a lawsuit - the first of its kind - to halt
commercial logging on more than 191 million acres of national forest lands.
The lawsuit is a welcome sign that a wide variety of environmental
organizations, which often differ on forest management strategy, are
joining
forces to aggressively pursue strong forest protections.

The lawsuit charges the U.S. Forest Service with failure to follow federal
mandates and produce a five-year plan to manage the nation's forest system.
The plaintiffs are asking a district court judge to bar timber sale
contracts until a forest management plan, which was due in 1995, is in
place.

The forest service has essentially been placed under gag order by the
logging industry and sympathetic politicians in the nation's capital, who
were alarmed by a draft plan that showed logging contributes less to the
economy and health of the forests than other activities. Further, the 104th
Congress barred the forest service from issuing a final plan until Sept. 30
this year.

What the timber industry does not want reflected in a forest management
plan - but does want to hide from public view - is the toll commercial
logging takes on the forests and the taxpayer. While only 4 percent of the
U.S. wood supply is taken from national forests, taxpayers
lose hundreds of millions of dollars each year on timber subsidies. Among
other things, the government helps logging companies build access roads by
selling trees at a reduced price.

The environment pays a price as well. Private landowners are forced to
compete by cutting more timber. More timber cutting and road building in
public and private forests fragments wildlife habitat, opens the forests to
disease, and causes erosion and polluted waterways. Not to mention the loss
of solitude humans crave in a fast-paced world.

Independent polls consistently show an estimated 70 percent of the public
opposes commercial logging on public forest lands. The recent lawsuit is a
step in the right direction, but it is, after all, only temporary.

We support a bill that will be re-introduced next session called the
National Forest Protection and Restoration Act, which would go further to
permanently ban commercial logging on federal public lands. This
legislation, authored by Democrat Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and
Republican Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa, has 36 co-sponsors and bipartisan
support. The act is not part of a radical environmental agenda and would
allow some cutting of trees for forest health.

It's time for our lawmakers to start a new tradition of protecting the
nation's forests. After almost a century, Theodore Roosevelt would still be
proud.

END


David John Zaber
904 Glaizewood Court
Takoma Park, MD 20912
dzaber@gateway.net

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