December 27, 2003

Tongass Travesty

The NYTwits continue to placate the center and the left with righteous editorial, while serving the right with itsforgetful, weak-minded reporting on the theft of Fraudida, the 9/11 cover-up, the lies used to lead this country into the foolish, disasterous military adventure in Iraq and other outrages...But, indeed, here is a powerful New York Times editorial on the _resident's latest crime against nature. Of course, it would be better if they unleashed some reporters for a front page expose on how campaign contributions and government job appointments lead to such abominations...Oh, yes, and once again, Mr. Nada, where is your retraction or do you still insist there is no difference between a vote for Bush and a vote for Gore?

New York Times Editorial: The Bush administration has pulled another thread from the intricate legal tapestry shielding the national forests from excessive logging. On Tuesday, it announced that the Tongass National Forest in Alaska would be denied protections provided by the so-called roadless rule, a federal regulation prohibiting the building of roads and by definition most commercial activity on 58.5 million acres of national forests.


Save the Environment, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/27/opinion/27SAT1.html

Tongass Travesty

Published: December 27, 2003

The Bush administration has pulled another thread from the intricate legal tapestry shielding the national forests from excessive logging. On Tuesday, it announced that the Tongass National Forest in Alaska would be denied protections provided by the so-called roadless rule, a federal regulation prohibiting the building of roads and by definition most commercial activity on 58.5 million acres of national forests.

The administration presents the new policy as a necessary tonic for southeast Alaska's depressed economy, and as a necessary response to a state lawsuit that it says it could never have won. The reality is otherwise. This is essentially a holiday gift to Senator Ted Stevens and Gov. Frank Murkowski, both of whom have lobbied for the resumption of the clear-cutting that has already stripped the nation's only temperate rain forest of a half million acres of old-growth trees.

The announcement came wrapped in the same deceptive packaging that has camouflaged much of this administration's forest policy. The most egregious example was the Forest Service's disingenuous assertion that the new policy would allow logging on only 300,000 acres of the Tongass, or about 3 percent of the 9.6 million roadless acres that are earmarked for protection.

Though that is technically true, the actual ecological impact would be far greater. For one thing, those 300,000 acres include many of the forest's oldest trees and most valuable watersheds, as well as an extraordinary collection of wildlife. It is no exaggeration to say that these acres constitute the forest's biological heart. And because these acres are not all in one place, but are distributed among 50 different logging projects, the new roads required to reach them will inevitably violate even more of the forest.

The administration's action is prelude to what is most likely to be an even broader assault on the roadless rule, which has been challenged in the courts by timber interests and six other states where logging is big business. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the rule; the 10th Circuit is reviewing a lower court's decision rejecting the rule. But rather than wait for a resolution, the administration has indicated that it will move administratively to give individual governors the right to ignore the rule. That would seem to pre-empt the judicial process. It would also give a handful of state officials power over federal lands, which belong to all Americans.

Posted by richard at December 27, 2003 01:14 PM