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EDITOR, Daily News:
The problem with the African ivory trade is that in order to get the tusks, one must kill the entire elephant. The problem with industrial logging in the Tongass is that in order to sustain the industry, one must kill the entire forest.
Old growth is not a renewable resource and there will never be enough to satisfy the greed of a few to cut and export it to China. Repealing the Roadless Rule in not a pathway to prosperity. It should be viewed as an obituary to an incredible region of the world.
In community meetings and 130,000 written comments, strong opposition was voiced throughout Southeast to changing the Roadless Rule. Roadless areas contain the life force supporting everything important to local residents, from subsistence, commercial fishing, tourism and recreation, to a sense of belonging to a beautiful environment. They are the backbone supporting the economy and everything good about the Alaskan lifestyle.
In a democratic society, strong public opinion solicited in a public process should hold sway in policies involving public lands.
However, like authoritarian strongmen, Sen. Murkowski, Gov. Dunleavy and the president are trying to thwart the will of the people in their push to open up the roadless areas to a grim future of round log exports. This is not North Korea or communist China or Putin’s Russia.
So remember, in the next election cycle, to vote for leaders who can plan for a future where the planet survives.
Fires in the Arctic and the Amazon, ice melt off in Greenland and the strongest hurricane in history have all been part of the hottest summer on record, This is exactly why cutting old growth in the world’s fifth largest carbon sink is no longer an option, and repealing the Roadless rule would be criminally irresponsible.
Climate change is an existential crisis demanding immediate action. Maintaining all the old growth in the Tongass is a logical first step on the long road to ensure that future generations have a world fit to inhabit.