Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Knowles' plan to file suit against roadless ban may be premature

I read with interest the Jan. 7 stories about the Clinton administration's new roadless policy for national forests.

Gov. Tony Knowles announced that he would sue the federal government to overturn the policy. Incredibly, grounds for the suit have yet to be determined, begging the question: Is announcement of a lawsuit just a little premature? Indeed, might the decision to sue be just a little hasty?

The governor says he is disturbed by what he sees as an inadequate public review of the proposed roadless regulations.

He has joined an obnoxious chorus of boomers and leading corporate welfare recipients decrying the road ban as a "midnight hour executive action."

You would think the governor would take note that four lawsuits against the policy based on similar allegations have already been dismissed. They were dismissed because the Forest Service actually conducted an exhaustive, 18-month public process involving 600 public meetings that yielded nearly two million comments overwhelmingly in favor of the road ban.

In Alaska, fully 69 percent of residents commenting supported the roadless proposal.

You would think that the governor, if really concerned with substantive policy issues, would articulate his concerns in this vein. But he knows full well that the roadless policy is a completely legal management action taken by a responsible agency charged with balancing competing uses of our national forests, action based on thoughtful review of alternatives and well within the parameters of the law.

I, for one, am saddened by the governor's growing tendency to shout first and think later. He seems to have joined the Republican Tantrum Club founded by such luminaries as Ted Stevens, Frank Murkowski and Don Young.

Eileen Harrington


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