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Oct. 19, 2001 The Ketchikan Daily News blasts environmentalists' 'Top 10' tactics

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2001

There they go again.

Like David Letterman with his nightly ''Top 10'' list, a national environmental group has produced yet another ''Ten Most Endangered . . .'' list.

This time it's the National Forest Protection Alliance, which recently announced its ''America's 10 Most Endangered Forests Report.

And, like Letterman's top tens, NFPA's report likely will be scathing, full of innuendo and remotely connected with the truth.

The Tongass National Forest appears in the report, of course. But at number four, it's further down the list than expected, given all the attention focused on the Tongass by national groups of late.

Even at number four, the Tongass faces ''severe'' threats, according to Kevin Myers of the Juneau Group of the Sierra Club. Why? The Tongass has most of the ''scheduled roadless area timber sales nationwide.''

That sounds pretty impressive until one considers that the Tongass is the largest national forest at nearly 17 million acres, and only about 3 percent of the entire forest is theoretically available for commercial harvest in a 100-year rotation. We say ''theoretically'' because groups like the NFPA fight to prohibit any timber harvest at all, even on that small fraction of the Tongass.

In fact, squelching commercial timber harvests on all national forests is the stated goal of NFPA and the Sierra Club.

According to Jake Kreilick, NFPA's national campaign coordinator, the end of commercial logging on national forests is ''an idea whose time has come.''

''The vehicle is already in place to accomplish this,'' Kreilick said, referring to legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 1494).

Kreilick's comments are part of the same news release that announces the NFPA ''endangered forest'' list.

Can NFPA's intent in producing the report be any more clear?

It's simply to provide political cover -- and generate more pressure -- for Congress to shut down multiple-use management of national resources.

We would hope that one of these environmental groups would spend some of its hard-earned donations and foundation money on producing some sound science to support its claims. It doesn't appear to have happened yet, and the full NFPA report is not likely to contain any positive surprises.

Rather, and sadly, we expect it will contain 10 pointed barbs aimed to wreak maximum damage. Just like on TV.

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