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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Forest Safety or Giveaway?

August 30, 2003

The Bush administration officials and their timber industry supporters would have us believe that increased logging in our national forests will somehow decrease severe fire risk (Aug. 23). Scientific studies on this issue uniformly oppose removal of larger trees. Scientists recommend the thinning of undergrowth (brush and sapling-sized trees) instead. In fact, the science shows that removal of the larger trees increases the fire hazard. The forest areas that have burned most severely in recent years are the ones that have been most heavily logged.

Shame on the Bush administration officials for their deceptive attempt to pass legislation to increase logging of old-growth forests on our public lands while eliminating public participation and environmental analysis.

Chad Hanson

Dir., John Muir Project, Cedar Ridge, Calif.

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Your article about the Sierra Nevada Framework implies that the state of California supports increased efforts to log large, old trees in our national forests. No state officials spoke at the forum in Sonora, sponsored by Rep. George P. Radanovich (R-Mariposa). Had we been invited, we would have made it abundantly clear that California strongly opposes any proposed change that allows more commercial logging in our national forests.

The Davis administration does support environmentally sound efforts to reduce the threat of catastrophic fire in the Sierra communities by reducing the buildup of brush and other fuels around them. This is where we believe we can work with the Forest Service to protect life and property while also sustaining the health of forests, wildlife and watersheds.

Mary D. Nichols

California Secretary for Resources

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I am outraged by this continued attack on our once beautiful national forests. Mark Rey, who oversees the U.S. Forest Service and who used to be vice president of the American Forest and Paper Assn. (no conflict of interest there), mockingly labels the action of those trying to protect our nation's natural beauty as "insane." As a firefighter for over 21 years, and also a man who finds spiritual solace in nature, I say this blatant attack by the timber industry/government is an assault on my beliefs as well as my profession. This toxic and destructive industry is manipulating public opinion by hiding behind the lie of making the forests safe from fire.

Tim Viselli

La Canada Flintridge

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