Regarding the Roadless Debate in the Atlanta
from Julie Ann Smithson
Two sides to the coin: The second part is the part that
bespeaks the reader
to consider more than the carefully crafted first part would have
believe. Steve Henson has done an exemplary job of rising to the
note from Steve: Interestingly, the paper called me late yesterday
and requested a counterpoint to their support of "roadless".
On such short
notice and a must trip to a speaking engagement last night, I modified a
piece that we did for the Asheville paper last year and sent it to them
Equal Time after the paper's opinion). I'm a little surprised the
"wildlands" discussion made it thru editing. As I've
always said, it pays to
send our opinion pieces to the papers -- even though they don't always
published -- somebody has to read 'em. I've sent at least four op/eds
them over the past 3 years and they were never published. All of a
they're interested! It pays to be persistent. - Steve
To submit a Letter to the Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
(no length limit specified
, but the shorter, the
more likely to be published)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 6/12/02
Conservation bill deserves support
Hundreds of cities in Georgia, including Atlanta, get their water from
that have their origin in the Chattahoochee National Forest. The
of those rivers are harmed by erosion and sediment from roads built
Last week, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by
Reps. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) and Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) to protect
fragile areas that remain free of roads, and thereby protect their vital
water resources. The bill, which would apply to 58 million acres
already has 172 sponsors.
It ought to have the support of every member of the Georgia
delegation because it directly affects the most important issue for the
today -- assurance of an adequate water supply. So far, however, only
Democratic Reps. John Lewis and Cynthia McKinney have signed on.
The legislation wouldn't be necessary if Attorney General John Ashcroft
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman had kept their promises. At their
confirmation hearings, both swore to uphold a Clinton-era rule
But Ashcroft refused to defend the ban on more roads in a federal
brought by timber and mining interests. And Veneman allowed
Agriculture Mark Rey, a former timber industry lobbyist, to approve 30
timber projects in Alaska's Tongass National Forest. The Tongass already
contains almost 5,000 miles of logging roads, built with an average $30
million annually of taxpayer subsidies to the timber industry.
In addition to giving hefty campaign contributions, the timber and oil
industries have kept broad support for the conservation bill at bay by
distorting the legislation. Their rumor campaign cannot go unchallenged:
the bill does not affect private landowners rights of access to their
cutting trees to prevent wildfires and building roads to fight fires is
the bill does not halt expansion of oil and gas operations in existing
The legislation preserves wildlife habitat, of course, but more
Georgia, it protects key watersheds. Given the state's water crisis, no
candidate should vote against it.
-------------Other side of the coin-------------
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 6/12/02
Conservation efforts thrive on deception
By STEVE HENSON
The myths environmental extremists have carefully developed over the
decade to convince us that timber harvesting should be halted on
Forest lands are rapidly falling apart.
While these extremists claim to champion forestland wildlife in their
scenarios, they ignore the mountains of scientific evidence that point
benefits of forest disturbances, including timber harvesting, in
diversity for wildlife on forested landscapes.
The ongoing debate on the Clinton/Gore Roadless Initiative prompted
state wildlife agency in our region (North Carolina, South Carolina,
Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee) to question the wisdom of setting aside
lands to a de facto "no management" status.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, in a public statement,
said, "In many instances, the proper habitat manipulation to
particular wildlife species may require some road or firebreak
to implement management prescriptions such as prescribed fire, timber
or timber stand improvements."
Likewise, the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries passed a
stating, in part, "These misguided policies are harmful to wildlife
management of wildlife in general."
Another environmental myth perpetuated by the preservationist movement
that forests can remain healthy without management. One only has to look
the 1988 Yellowstone fires and the devastating 2000 fire season in the
to see the fallacy of this philosophy. Science tells us that we can use
combination of prescribed fires and timber stand improvement techniques
greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the risk of these catastrophic fire
Locally, damage caused by the current southern pine bark beetle outbreak
be minimized through strategic timber harvesting techniques. All
including the U.S. Forest Service, have an obligation to minimize the
of the insects to keep the populations in check.
Myth-based arguments being advanced to halt timber harvesting on public
have been developed and maintained through generous philanthropic
grants. They use this tax-exempt money to commission their own polls,
studies, reports and media campaigns. If you have enough money, you can
just about any opinion you want.
Why would these people want to distort the issues and ignore sound
evidence? This question bugged me for a long time until I came across
answers: Deep Ecology and The Wildlands Project.
Deep Ecology is the philosophy/religion driving the contemporary
environmental movement. Its vision for our country is to set aside a
of 50 percent of our lands in wilderness with no human intervention.
called the Wildlands Project. Just do a word search on the Internet
two terms* and you will be astonished. I highly recommend one particular
that is well organized and explains
the principles and strategies of these radical approaches to saving
Interestingly, one of the first actions the Wildlands Project promotes
stop logging on public lands.
Despite the well-financed and tenacious efforts of environmental
logging and thoughtful forest management will continue in national
Any campaign based on deceit is destined to die from its own disease.
Steve Henson is executive director of the Southern Appalachian
Council Inc., a nonprofit group created in 1975 by members of the forest
products industry of Western North Carolina.
*[Go to www.Google.com
and put this in the search box: "Deep Ecology" + "
Wildlands Project" Add another term, "Map" and
you'll be astounded!]