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Forest Service

February 05, 1988

As your story on the congressional budget mess noted, too few legislators are willing to vote for cuts that may be painful (Part I, Jan. 26).

But here's a program that should be easy to cut: the subsidized logging on our national forests. From 1982 to 1986, the U.S. lost at least $1.2 billion on timber sales because the money paid by giant timber companies did not always cover the costs of road building, timber surveys, and other Forest Service overhead. The most egregious example is logging on the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska, a rare rain forest where taxpayers are losing 99 cents on every dollar spent, to the tune of about $50 million a year.

The House Interior Committee and Senate Energy Committee are considering bills that would reduce the losses in the Tongass. They should not miss this chance to vote for legislation that would be good not only for the economy, but for the environment as well.

GEORGE T. FRAMPTON JR.

President

Wilderness Society

Washington, D.C.

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