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Protecting the Environment

December 08, 1987

Earth First! and its marine counterpart Sea Shepherd are a result of impassioned dedicated people who have appealed, petitioned and lobbied within the system, but have found it unresponsive largely because of a lack of widespread media coverage or public awareness. They are not "fanatics" (facile and irresponsible labeling) but deeply committed people who have answered the call many of us hear--that our home is in peril and its irreplaceable riches of diversity and beauty and wonder must be saved because of intrinsic value. It is value beyond the exploitable and transient "worth" of commodities.

The U.S. Forest Service, an institution I once proudly served, and State Forest Services have become imbalanced with a pronounced tilt toward lumber companies. Pacific Lumber, prior to the hostile takeover by Maxxam Group Co., a conglomerate of various interests, operated with a profitable and environmentally sound approach ensuring "long-term" benefits and employment spanning several generations under its previous family ownership. It practiced a prudent program of selective harvesting and cheaper, non-toxic, employment producing manual control of competitive growth. It avoided the destructiveness wrought by the "short-term" profits of clear-cutting now practiced by Maxxam management.

As to the invective of Sen. James McClure (R-Idaho), mindful I'm sure of large companies' contributions to his campaign, it is no coward who can place himself or herself within the arc of an enraged lumberman's ax or hand suspended 200 feet from a majestic old Douglas fir or redwood patriarch. I think our country benefits from such commitment and courage.

RONALD PAUL SUNDMARK

South Pasadena

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