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What others say: Court should move quickly to address timber lawsuits

Posted: August 27, 2014 - 2:30pm

The whittling continues.

The U.S. Forest Service announced it would offer the Big Thorne timber sale on Prince of Wales Island this week; only hours later, conservation groups filed a lawsuit challenging it.

It’s the story of the timber industry’s struggles to survive in recent decades. Conservationists file; the sale is delayed while waiting for a lawsuit to make its way through the court system.

In the meantime, the industry cannot harvest the timber, and jobs aren’t available to those who work in the industry. The whole intent is to end harvests of old-growth timber, and the effect is that the industry is a shadow of what it once was.

Given that situation, the conservation groups can already claim victory. Such a win, however, isn’t enough. The groups won’t be satisfied until no old-growth is offered for sale.

While some might think that would bring an end to the groups’ assault on the industry, others are much more skeptical when conservationists indicate support of young-growth timber harvest.

The Big Thorne sale would include 98 million board feet of timber immediately. A September award had been planned. Then, later, another 40 million board feet would be included. That’s about 6,000 acres of old growth and 2,000 acres of young growth.

While it is a large sale, it isn’t nearly the size of past sales that had the industry thriving three decades earlier.

The timber industry operated in conjunction with fishing, tourism and recreation in the Tongass. Co-existence has been, and in many circles still is, Alaska’s goal — multiple uses in the national forest.

Conservation groups also filed a lawsuit against the Tongass Land Management Plan, arguing that it fails to preserve the habitat of deer and wolves.

Of course, whatever timber harvest’s effect on habitat, it isn’t the only factor to be taken into consideration when looking at protecting deer and wolves — even hunters and trappers recognize that.

The court should move quickly to address these lawsuits. Alaskans and their livelihoods are depending on a just outcome that doesn’t continue to whittle the timber industry into extinction.

— Ketchikan Daily News,

Aug. 23

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jford
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jford 08/28/14 - 01:17 pm
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Industry can't harvest.

Industry? Just who is this 'industry'?

Oh, it's not local sawmill operators, it's not local loggers, it's 'industry'.

An industry dominated now by corporations bent on exporting whole logs to foreign markets leaving no resources for local jobs and no resources for local utilization.

There should be export limits placed on resources on public land. Those resources should be generating jobs and products for use in this country keeping the economic benefits here at home instead of supporting foreign economies at the expense of our own interests.

'Industry'? We can do better than to have the kind of industry that profits off of the negative effects to our own economy.

That export industry can shrivel up and die and it won't be a bad thing.

The lawsuits support this idea that we ought to be utilizing our public resources for our own best interests instead of just providing easy profits for 'industry' and providing economic benefits for foreign countries.

Keep the resources for local benefit, keep the resources for our own economic well being, not just to prop up the economies of foreign countries.

The courts should move fast. And move to support our own interests, not just those of an industry looking for easy profits, an industry looking to prop up the economies of foreign nations at the expense of local interests.

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