Alexander Cockburn's grossly inaccurate characterization of President Clinton's recent announcement to protect 40 million acres of roadless areas in America's national forests does a disservice to the majority of Americans who care about our national forests (Commentary, Oct. 21). Logging and livestock grazing are in fact likely to be prohibited under the proposed plan. Alaska's Tongass forest has not been excluded. And the process to put the plan in place is expected to be completed before the end of the Clinton administration.
Perhaps most egregious is Cockburn's attempt to portray one of the most significant efforts in recent times to protect America's forests as merely a political ploy of the Democratic Party. Over 600 environmental organizations nationwide support this effort, representing millions of people of all political persuasions. The Pew Charitable Trusts is an absolutely nonpartisan institution, with a long record of being so and a fierce determination to stay that way.
JOSHUA REICHERT, Dir.
Pew Charitable Trusts
President Clinton directed the U.S. Forest Service to release an environmental impact statement, a process that includes an extensive public comment period and that upon completion would protect more than 40 million acres of roadless areas in our national forests. No concrete Forest Service policy has been instituted regarding the specifics of the new plan. The public comment period, which began Oct. 19, is the time for concerned citizens like Cockburn to voice their opinions that logging should be prohibited in a new roadless area policy and that the Tongass should be included in the permanent protection of all roadless areas.