Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
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"Fish worship... is it wrong??" (Ray Troll)
-- Forwarded Message --
From: David Guterson
Subject: Chainsaws Falling on Cedars?
I've had a personal relationship with our national forests since
long before I wrote "Snow Falling on Cedars." As a college student,
I worked summers for the U.S. Forest Service burning slash in
clearcuts, piling brush, and fighting wildfires. I've seen the
wilderness at its most fearsome -- and at its most fragile. Today,
it's political cronyism between logging interests and the Bush
administration which poses the greatest threat to the survival
of the wild. From the Channel Islands in California to the Great
North Woods in Maine, this dangerous combination of greed and
political favoritism puts some of the most pristine and untamed
places in our country at risk. The Tongass National Forest
is one of these vulnerable places. The heart of the largest temperate
rainforest left on the planet, the Tongass is among the national
forest wildlands now slated for logging and development.
Alaska's Tongass is home to the world's largest concentration
of grizzly bears and bald eagles. This inspiring landscape of
misty isles and towering groves of ancient trees supports populations
of the Alexander Archipelago wolf, sustains the black bear, and
is crisscrossed by streams teeming with salmon. But the Tongass
is also coveted by the logging industry. That's why so many have
spoken up in support of protecting the Tongass and other national
The Clinton administration heard your comments and, in January
2001, issued a landmark ban on roadbuilding and industrial logging
in undeveloped roadless areas of our national forests. But the
Roadless Rule, years in the making, has been waylaid by President
Bush. His administration delayed implementing the rule, then
refused to defend it in court. Now, despite more than 600 public
hearings on the issue and a record-breaking 1.6 million public
comments -- over 95 percent of which were in strong support of
wilderness protection -- Bush has started a new 60-day public
comment period, hoping that the same public support won't materialize
a second time. (Prove him wrong at http://www.SaveBioGems.org/Tongass.)
Never mind that one half of our national forest system has already
been developed by commercial interests.
Never mind that there are already 378,000 miles of access roads
carved into our national forests, more than eight times the length
of the U.S. Interstate system.
Never mind that Attorney General Ashcroft assured the Senate
before his confirmation that he'd defend the Roadless Rule. Since
he's been confirmed, he's done nothing to oppose lawsuits brought
by industry and others hostile to this historic decision.
Never mind that Americans have resolutely voiced their support
for protecting the Tongass in overwhelming numbers. We don't
want to see the timber industry destroy our natural wonders.
And we sure don't want to be dragged back to square one on this
issue. But here we are.
Bush has decided to ignore these facts -- and your comments.
With this 60-day window for additional "public" comment, Bush
has waged a bet. He's betting you won't find out that the Tongass
is once again on the chopping block. He's counting on running
out these 60 days without letting you know that the clock is ticking.
But you can bet your national forests that insider logging interests
know when and where to put in their two cents.
I urge you to join me in this fight for the Tongass National
Forest. It only takes a minute or so to make your voice heard.
Visit http://www.SaveBioGems.org/Tongass and, with a click of
the mouse, you can send an email directly to the Forest Service,
or alert a friend to this environmental and ethical crisis. While
you're there, you can take action to protect other wild places
like Greater Yellowstone, the Everglades, and Utah's Redrock Wilderness
now threatened by the Bush administration.
Right, you might be saying to yourself, "Logging companies greased
political coffers with enough money to convince the White House
to attack our Roadless Rule. What's one email going to do?"
A lot. Activism on the Web has emerged as one of the most potent
grassroots tools we have to speak truth to power. NRDC web activists
helped persuade President Clinton to create the Giant Sequoia
National Monument. In Belize, your e-activism helped compel Duke
Energy to drop out of a planned dam that would flood the Macal
River Valley. In Chile, it was the power of a mouse that helped
block Boise-Cascade's plans to build the largest wood-chip mill
in Latin America. Click.
I hope you'll take a minute to visit http://www.SaveBioGems.org/Tongass.
The comment period ends September 10th. Tell our leaders in
Washington that the Tongass National Forest -- and your vote --
is worth more than any campaign contribution.
. . .
BioGems: Saving Endangered Wild Places
A project of the Natural Resources Defense Council
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