Greenpeace's reasons for Southeast Alaska campaign confusing

Posted: Thursday, July 08, 2004

Southeast Alaska doesn't want any trouble if that's what Greenpeace is planning for the Tongass National Forest this summer.

Greenpeace is dismantling an encampment in Oregon and shipping part of it to Southeast where it will be set up. The international conservation organization announced earlier this year it would be making another summer trip into the region. It came a year ago; it was peaceful. Peace is the operative word. Southeast, and particularly the Ketchikan area, isn't interested in experiencing any of the shenanigans the organization puts on in other parts of the world.

Several days ago, Greenpeace activists dropped a bright yellow steel shipping container on a logging road to block trucks from entering the Umpqua National Forest. The action was part of a campaign against timber harvest in old growth forest.

Oregon police arrested 10 Greenpeace protesters about 70 miles east of Roseburg. They were expected to be charged with interfering with agricultural operations and disorderly conduct.

Two protesters were locked inside the container. One was perched above the container and another was chained to the container while other protesters mingled around it.

This was the second such incident with a shipping container in Oregon. Greenpeace set up what it called a ''forest rescue station'' in the area and operated from there. That station is being disassembled. Greenpeace lost its federal permit for setting up the station because of the first protest.

Greenpeace is protesting what it calls ''horrific logging practices.'' In light of its recent protests, why Greenpeace would consider coming to Southeast Alaska except for the vacation thousands of others come for is confusing. It certainly shouldn't be to protest. The logging industry is a ghost of itself after two pulp mills shut down about half a dozen years ago. Ketchikan also lost its sawmill, and word out of Wrangell is that its sawmill is shutting down. Only a few small mill operations remain.

There's really no point in Greenpeace bringing its forest ''rescue'' station to the area unless it likes to defend underdogs; there it might be able to do something (peaceful) for the timber industry it needs rescuing.

Ketchikan Daily News

June 28



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