The US Timber Issue

In the Habitat page column "Time to Cut to Heart of a US Timber Issue," Sept. 17, the author is right in characterizing the Bush-Clinton prescriptions for the Pacific Northwest timber crisis as "easy giveaways," but he succumbs to preservationist propaganda in his creed against below-cost timber sales and log exports.

The author neglected to mention two salient points that would have negated his arguments: Federal law specifically exempts the Forest Service from the necessity of making a profit on timber sales. Nevertheless, the agency does make annual profits on sales - more than $750 million last fiscal year; and the law forbids exports of federally-owned timber, and most state-owned timber. Exports are almost exclusively from private lands. Thus the issue is completely separate from unemployment caused by timber ha rvest restrictions on public lands.

Moreover, the author presumably favors a university study claiming that 15,000 American jobs could be saved if exports were stopped. I wonder if he has calculated how many jobs would be lost among longshore workers, truckers, ship crews, and white- collar workers dependent on log exports? Mark Rey, Washington Executive Director, American Forest Resource Alliance

This column is filled with irrefutable facts and common sense that our next president should, indeed, listen to. President George Bush has already proven he won't listen, and Gov. Bill Clinton's environmental track record in Arkansas is shaky at best.

If more people from across the nation get the word to the politicians that the national forests belong to all of us, not just those who live near them and chop them down, it might carry some added weight. It's way past the time for senators, representatives, and governors from that region, in league with powerful, entrenched timber industry lobbyists, to stop ruining a national treasure. Glenn Himebaugh, Murfreesboro, Tenn. A Californian at heart

Thank you for the two essays on the Home Forum page "The Disappearing `Silver' State" and "California: My First Lost Love," Sept. 17. Both authors wrote so vividly of things that I have known since age five; and I have concluded that I am still a Californian although I reside on the East Coast. Lucille Barclay, New York

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