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

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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