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I realize that the details on this are a little sketchy right now, but if this is at all true my optimism regarding Obama is officially gone. He is just another Washington politician succumbing to the pressure of big industry lobbyists.

If you have any environmental concern, why would you even consider allowing logging in a rain forest? You would not! Clearly this is not a priority for his administration. As the artticle lays out, the logging industry, with the promise of jobs to the local economy, has been pushing this hard in Alaska.
Huffington Article

Creating temporary jobs that destroy an ancient forest, just to provide some short-term economic relief to a local population is lazy and irresponsible. There is no compelling reason for this decision, and there are plenty of alternatives to logging this particular forest. I understand the administration is dealing with many issues, but this should not have been a tough call. And if they thought it was, then they should have tabled it until they could give it the attention it deserved.

These are the types of decisions that are causing him and his administration to lose the support of progressives. The action itself is something you expected from a Republican administration, not from a progressive democrat that professes to care about the environment.

Really, is this an example of the type of green job that he has been bragging about in his efforts to redirect our economy? If it is, he needs to explain his definition of green jobs a little better, because I think it differs significantly from mine. I can't imagine any credible way that logging a rain forest can be associated with the concept of green jobs.

Originally posted to Sean Casey on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:18 AM PDT.

Poll

Can you see any reasonable justification for logging a rain forest?

28%38 votes
71%94 votes

| 132 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  Welfare for loggers. We all lose money. (8+ / 0-)

      Destruction of virgin forest is bad for the environment and bad for the economy.

      But it's politics as usual.

      "Just building the road will cost four times as much revenue as the Forest Service is going to get from the timber sale," said Waldo of Earthjustice.

      "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:30:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Clarification please: (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Neon Mama, soms, polar bear, CMYK

        Who pays for the road? If the logger does not pay for the road, then this is definitely questionable from a sheer fiscal responsibility standpoint.

        •  the article says "contractors" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          soms, CMYK

          but is unclear about whether they're hired by the Forest Service or not.

          (+0.12, -3.33) agree w/ me or go to redstate. i'm snarking. too many aren't.

          by terrypinder on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:38:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We pay for the roads conractors build. (8+ / 0-)

            Is the Tongass NF the most expensive national forest on which to conduct logging practices?

            The Tongass National Forest may be the most expensive national forest to conduct logging practices due to road construction costs, the current low value of western hemlock lumber and in part to supporting the community-based, local family-owned and operated mills in the region. As stated previously, the Forest Service could export logs thereby greatly increasing logging revenues if a maximization of revenues was the corporate philosophy. Timber harvest in Southeast Alaska is relatively young compared to the lower 48 states. Commercial timber harvest began for all practical purposes in the early to mid-1950’s. The majority of young growth stands on the Tongass are about 30 years away from being ready for commercial thinning harvests; therefor, reliance on road construction activities is still necessary and being employed.

            Part of the reason for high logging costs can be explained by the amount of non-clearcut harvest and helicopter logging being implemented to provide for amenity values. In fiscal years 2001 and 2002 for example, non-clearcut harvest prescriptions implemented on the Tongass accounted for 31 and 54 percent of the harvest respectively (Annual Monitoring & Evaluation Report for Fiscal Year 2002). The geology of the Tongass National Forest is unique and different from that encountered in the lower 48 states. The terrain on the Tongass is characterized as being wet and having very thin undeveloped soils. In terms of logging on Tongass soils, very little ground-based logging equipment is used, and most logging uses cable or helicopter systems for stump-to-truck log extraction.

            Road construction is a significant cost component of logging on the Tongass. Current average cost for new road construction over the last four years on the Tongass is approximately $160,000/mile and can go as high as $500,000/mile pending stream crossing needs and a host of other high cost items. Over 95 percent of our roads are overlay construction using rock that is drilled/shot/hauled to build a 2' - 3' thick layer that will support a loaded truck over muskeg or floating bog soils. No where else in the United States is this practice needed to develop infrastructure. Most timber roads in the Lower 48 are built with native/onsite soils with minimal surface rock at much lower costs.

            To top

            On average, what is the cost to log on the Tongass?

            On average, the cost of logging on the Tongass is between $300 and $400 per mbf of wood. Logging is expensive in Southeast Alaska due to difficult access since the land consists of forested islands.

            "It's the planet, stupid."

            by FishOutofWater on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:43:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you for doing the diarist's job (0+ / 0-)

              The way the poll question is phrased, I voted for logging.  Much of the coastal pacific range qualifies as a rain forest based on total rainfall, and timber is harvested sustainably in many places.  There's no reason to expect it couldn't be done in the Tongass too.  If the question is really about how much the roads cost and who pays for them, then that is quite different.

              No on Prop 8::Sometimes I get to hitch a ride on the Democratic Bus--they let me stand on the back bumper.

              by steve04 on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 11:52:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Well, according to the... (8+ / 0-)

          Wilderness Society:

          American taxpayers have not only watched as the Tongass has been picked apart by road building and logging, they've paid for the privilege. The tab extends beyond $750 million over 20 years. In a single year alone, the Forest Service spent $36 million on the Tongass timber program and got back in revenues only $1 million. Subsidies for logging roads account for nearly half of timber program costs annually.

          "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

          by bobdevo on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:42:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you read (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sebastianguy99, CMYK

            the rest of that 2004 Wilderness Society article linked in the HuffPo article, immediately after this passage,  they indicate that the House had a bill approved that would make the loggers pay for the roads, and it was in the Senate...that was in 2004.

            Was this passed? If so, it is yet another example of selective info by a Huffpo writer..who includes the above blurb about the cost of the roads to the Forest Service but excludes the next paragraph that indicates Congress was changing that policy...hmmm .

          •  Indeed. Tax payer funding for logging roads (8+ / 0-)

            is one of the great scams of the twentieth century.

            More money waisted and 'privatized' that could have gone in to the coffers of a national health care program. And more evidence of the powerful select few influencing government policy for their own profits.

            America, we've got a problem.

            To whom it may concern. Waterboarding is torture. Torture is illegal. Sincerely, A. No Brainer.

            by Pescadero Bill on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:59:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Practically every tree logged west (5+ / 0-)

      of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington were logged in a rainforest.

      There's nothing inherently wrong with it.  It's a renewable resource. What matters is how it's done and what kind of restoration is done afterward.

      •  The tree farms of the Pacific Northwest... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mieprowan

        ...are hardly the Tongass National Forest. There's a reason it's a National Forest: it preserves something worth preserving.

        If you're on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, it becomes instantly clear when you enter the National Park. The trees are monstrous compared to the clear cut areas around it. I'm 100% for growing trees in tree farms where it is most efficient to do so. But to do it in our National Parks is a travesty. Absolutely criminal in my mind.

        There's an interesting connection between clear cutting in the mountains in Washington and dying whales: the clear cutting silts up the streams where the salmon run which reduces the numbers of salmon that successfully spawn each year. That, combined with over-fishing, has lead to dramatic drops in the amount of salmon in the ocean. Many beached whales have literally starved to death.

        It's all a very interconnected web and rain forests are a unique and essential part of it.

        •  Also, the types of trees planted in those tree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mieprowan

          farms aren't the same as the originals. Around the Olympic National Park, they've planted trash pine - pine that grows quickly, so it can be reharvested more quickly than native pine - and that has acidic needles, which inhibit the growth of native underbrush - again, making it easier and more economical to harvest when the forest is "ripe."

          I was shocked when I saw those clearcuts - I didn't know whether to cry or scream. Yes, I understand that Forks is now a depressed community. But those clearcuts, some of which predate the requirement to replant and look like barren wastelands, are so large that it's no wonder soil erosion, landslides and mudslides are affecting the salmon and orcas.

          The Tyranny of the Minority - WHY did 60 become the new 51?

          by 1BQ on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 02:29:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Well, when you consider (13+ / 0-)

    who he appointed as Interior Secretary, it's hard to be surprised.

    •  Mark Begich was (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DawnG, askew, soms

      pushing for this to be done.
      President cannot win...he gets hammered for unemployment and now for employment....

      Do you know how small this tract is?

      •  372 acres or so. It's still costly. (9+ / 0-)

        The roads cost 4 times the timber revenue.

        It would be smarter to send out welfare checks and pay to retrain the loggers for economically viable work.

        "It's the planet, stupid."

        by FishOutofWater on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:32:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There are environmentally sound ways (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dewley notid, polar bear, mieprowan, CMYK

        to create jobs. This was unneccesary and inflammatory when it didn't even need to be done. It is a small tract and it's not the end of the world but that works both ways. Why even do it? Do we  need that "small" amount of lumber and these few jobs so desperately that saying f-you to environmentalists is worth it? (Not to mention the actual damage done to the environment, regardless of our precious feelings.) There are no better resource development projects to promote? It's like the Warren invite to the inauguration- it only served as a slap in the face to gays and civil libertarians. Why even do these inflammatory things if you care at all about the ideas you campaigned on. I've seen too many gifts to corporate interests and too little regard for progressive interests in the early stages of this administration. This stinks and like his stupid choice on Warren, is a statement from Obama that he could care less about actual progressive policies.  

  •  Oh goodie! A "really Barack?!" diary. (12+ / 0-)

    About to hit the wreck list in 5, 4, 3...

    while this one: http://www.dailykos.com/...

    falls off into oblivion.

  •  Could you provide a little more information? (18+ / 0-)

    I was born and raised in Alaska.  And the rainforest you're referring to has been logged almost as long as I can remember.  It's not being clear cut, obviously or it would be gone by now.

    But if you provided a TEENSY bit more information about what areas are being logged I may have a better understanding of what you're talking about.  Not all logging is irresponsible, clear cut logging.  And I think it's irresponsible to conflate the two.

    You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

    by DawnG on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:23:30 AM PDT

    •  A billion dollars in timber roads to nowhere. (5+ / 0-)

      Taxpayers for common sense says:

      We have paid almost a billion dollars in subsidies by building roads to nowhere for timber harvesting.

      SUPPORT THE ANDREWS-CHABOT AMENDMENT TO CUT
      ROAD-BUILDING SUBSIDIES

      Since 1982, the Forest Service has lost nearly $1 billion subsidizing the timber industry in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. That equates to an average annual loss of nearly $40 million. It is long past time for the Forest Service to come clean with the American public about how much it spends and put a stop to these wasteful subsidies.

         * The Forest Service continues to ignore the realities of the market place, spending millions of taxpayer dollars to sell timber no one wants—even at bargain basement prices. 45% of the timber sales the agency offered between 1998 and 2007 received no bids.
           
         * Of the 5,000 miles of Tongass forest roads, only 1,200 miles, or 24%, are open to passenger cars. Built with taxpayer money, the remaining 76% of roads are for timber access and extraction. Taxpayers are building roads they cannot use in order to shield timber companies from the true cost of doing business.
           
         * Job numbers have been inversely proportional to Forest Service spending. Between 1996 and 2007, Tongass timber-related jobs fell from 1,558 to under 200. Consequently, taxpayer subsidies per Tongass timber job have skyrocketed to nearly $300,000 per job.                                            

      The Bottom Line

      Taxpayers should not be forced to pay the price for the Forest Service’s mismanagement. Basic common sense dictates that ignoring rising losses year after year points to just one thing—increased future losses. It is time for the Forest Service to stop throwing good money after bad and face the realities of a changing market.

      "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:50:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  WTF? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        canyonrat, steve04, a night owl, soms

        The Forest Service continues to ignore the realities of the market place, spending millions of taxpayer dollars to sell timber no one wants—even at bargain basement prices. 45% of the timber sales the agency offered between 1998 and 2007 received no bids.

        Timber no one wants?  That's ridiculous.  At least provide more CONTEXT to define that claim.  This is one of those instances where the "why" is just as important as the "what".  If those timber sales are so small or so remote as to not even allow a logging company to break even, then yah it will be refused.  But that doesn't mean it's "Timber no one wants".

        Of the 5,000 miles of Tongass forest roads, only 1,200 miles, or 24%, are open to passenger cars. Built with taxpayer money, the remaining 76% of roads are for timber access and extraction. Taxpayers are building roads they cannot use in order to shield timber companies from the true cost of doing business.

        Well...Yah.  Duh!  Most of those roads are designed for heavy lumber machinery (cranes and trucks) and are probably not even PAVED.  You don't WANT passenger cars on most of those roads.  That's utterly ridiculous!

          * Job numbers have been inversely proportional to Forest Service spending. Between 1996 and 2007, Tongass timber-related jobs fell from 1,558 to under 200. Consequently, taxpayer subsidies per Tongass timber job have skyrocketed to nearly $300,000 per job.  

        This reminds me of that saying "lies, damned lies, and statistics"   There are fewer timber jobs because there's far fewer acres opened for logging (not even to get into bark beetles and the overall ammount of timber per acre), but the expenses incurred as a result of logging do not go down just because there are fewer people actually harvesting.  The ammoratized cost for roads is much less when more people use them, and the ineverse is very predictably true.

        You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

        by DawnG on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 10:01:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A rain forest in Alaska!? hmmm .... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elise, SteveP, soms, mieprowan

    iirc, the only U.S. rain forest is in Puerto Rico.

    "He's like any other president -- he's a politician and he's got to do what politicians do." Rev. Jeremiah Wright

    by PhillyGal on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:23:49 AM PDT

  •  and the problem with logging in Alaska is... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sebastianguy99

    ???

    I assume you don't have anything made of wood, or any books, or live in a house.

    Have a recipe:

    PAUL BUNYAN'S LUMBERJACK FLAPJACKS
    Lumberjack Flapjacks

    makes 9 6-inch pancakes or 12 mini muffins.

       * 2 cups all-purpose flour
       * 1/2 tsp. salt
       * 2 tsp. baking powder
       * 1 tsp. baking soda
       * 3 tbs. sugar
       * 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
       * 3 cups butter milk
       * 4 tbs. unsalted butter,melted
       * 1 cup fresh raspberries
       * heat griddle to375 degrees
       * whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a bowl
       * Add eggs, buttermilk, 4 tbs. butter. Whisk to combine, the batter should have small to medium lumps.
       * heat oven to 175 degrees
       * test griddle by sprinkling water onto the surface
       * using butter coat the griddle surface
       * use 4 oz. spoon (about half a cup) to spoon the mixture onto the griddle
       * Cook until golden brown on bottom, then flip. Keep finished pancakes in heated oven.
       * serve with berries
       * you can also make a mixture of bananas, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves for a tasty treat.

    •  Wrong. Demand is low for timber. (9+ / 0-)

      We don't need to destroy virgin forests to meet present demand for lumber.

      "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:34:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly the point! (4+ / 0-)

        This is a renewable natural resource, and we have cleared enough land that if the trees where responsibly replanted, the could just farm them in a 10-15 year rotation.
        Virgin rain forest is not replacable the way other forests are.

      •  "destroy"? "virgin" timber? (3+ / 0-)

        No such thing exists.  Nature regenerates through periodic catastrophe.  Whether it is called logging, a wildfire, an ice age, or a volcanic eruption is a matter of semantics.  An "old growth" forest is a dead and decaying forest.  See Alston Chase's book In a Dark Wood for a good primer on the subject.

        •  That's just silly. (7+ / 0-)

          I've walked through old growth forests. They are very much alive and vibrant.

          And I've walked through the man-made catastrophe that is clear cutting. It's a disgusting exhibit of man's greed and short term thinking about natural resources.

          To whom it may concern. Waterboarding is torture. Torture is illegal. Sincerely, A. No Brainer.

          by Pescadero Bill on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:52:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've walked through northwest timber towns (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DawnG, steve04

            They were very much alive and vibrant...20 years ago.

            Attack them, and you - we - are attacking a culture.  One of the few cultures left in this country that was worth much of anything.  So, what do we replace that culture with now that we've destroyed them in the name of some sick biocentric cultic belief system?  A bunch of $7/hr call center and big box store mcjobs?

            •  So you think environmental conservation is (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              polar bear, mieprowan, Eclectablog

              sick biocentric cultic belief system

              Dismissing environmental conservation while elevating a superficial stereotype of exploited and exploitive workers (all in the service of a justifying profiteering by any means necessary, perchance?) just doesn't cut it. Pun intended...

              "We're the Stains, and we don't put out!"

              by CMYK on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 11:53:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Absolute crap. A virgin forest is an ecosystem. (6+ / 0-)

          Turning virgin forests into tree farms devastates the wide range of smaller plants that thrive in natural systems that allow for some trees to fall. The limited open spaces in virgin forests provide habitat for wildlife.

          You are spouting timber industry propaganda.

          It takes hundreds to thousands of years for nature to create the diverse environment of an old growth forest after a natural catastrophe.

          Unfortunately, humans are creating an unnatural catastrophe that's a major mass extinction event.

          "It's the planet, stupid."

          by FishOutofWater on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:56:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  what is "timber industry propaganda"? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DawnG

            The timber wars of the 1990s were between two competing versions of "how can effete yuppies who have never worked an honest day in their lives screw over rural working class communities?"  The Sierra Club/Earth First version versus the Charles Hurwitz version.

            We made a mistake by giving either side in that debate any credence.  As a Democrat, which last I checked is still the party of working people, I support the interests of working people over those who would destroy timber communities (or mining, or fishing, or anything else) in the name of some utopian scheme.

            •  you may be a Democrat (0+ / 0-)

              but you are a conservative Democrat, if so.

              "The longer you live and think, the more things tend to get out of hand." - Jack Levine

              by mieprowan on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 12:27:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  well to the left of center (0+ / 0-)

                on labor issues, economics, and on things like choice and gay rights.  Not on the left on much of anything else these days though.  Anyway, you say conservative Democrat as if that's somehow a bad thing.

                My views are pretty much the same as the typical Democrat in West Virginia, where I now live; Northwest timber country, where I used to live; the rural southwestern U.S., where I also used to live; and Kentucky and southwest Virginia, where my ancestors were mainly from.  Although I suspect I'm well to their left on gay rights and abortion.  Note: I don't mean progressive activists or infiltrators from the Green Party, I mean the typical Democrat - the person who is registered Democratic, votes Democratic, and thinks the world of Joe Manchin, Phil Bredesen, Harry Reid, John Dingell, Heath Schuler, Bob Casey, Tom Vilsack, etc. instead of attacking them at every turn.

                The extremist causeheads (especially radical environmentalists, animal rights activists, those who think the salvation of the world hinges on some fringe nostrum like ending corporate personhood or a cabinet level department of peace, and those who might use "DINO" as part of their vocabulary, etc.) need to get over their delusion that they are some sort of repository of Democratic Party values, because they aren't.  Their ideas have no support whatsoever among the Democratic Party rank and file voters.  At best they are useful idiots.  At worst they are infiltrators and entryists who need to be shown the door.

                •  well, some of them think (0+ / 0-)

                  people like you need to be shown the door.

                  I will not argue to throw conservatives out of the Democratic party, however; or off this blog, either. But I think some people need to be a bit more aware that this is a Democratic blog, not a liberal blog. Not to chastise anyone or anything; just to clarify the conversation somewhat.

                  You sound rather libertarian. Libertarians have their merits, but from my liberal point of view; it's not good enough.

                  Such debates are important to have here. I'd try to move away from name-calling though; it's inflammatory and tends to derail reasonable debates into flame wars. When people refer to extreme leftists and extreme environmentalists as causeheads, fringy, useful idiots, infiltrators and entryists, etc.; they do sound trollish, and it will not do you much good to engage in discourse here thusly, as you do not have any more right to throw such people out of the Democratic party than they have to throw you out.

                  "The longer you live and think, the more things tend to get out of hand." - Jack Levine

                  by mieprowan on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 06:37:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm well aware of this (0+ / 0-)

                    "well, some of them think people like you need to be shown the door."

                    which I hope explains why my attitude has turned nasty since the election.  It wasn't a week after Obama was elected that there were people ready to proclaim that he should be shown the door because his cabinet appointments were mainstream Democrats instead of hardcore lefties.  Follow that up with a loud minority here cheering on the impending collapse of the Big Three on the grounds that "global warming" is such a pressing issue that good union jobs be damned, pushed me over the edge.  I no longer view the Republican right as the main obstacle to progress right now, let's put it that way.  They've moved to the #2 spot.

                    "But I think some people need to be a bit more aware that this is a Democratic blog, not a liberal blog."

                    That's been my point for quite some time but even Kos himself seems to have flipped on this issue, unfortunately.

                    "You sound rather libertarian".

                    Not really...I'm almost the opposite of libertarians on minimum and living wage laws, unions and labor law, and international trade.  If you take economics out of the picture I otherwise probably line up with them on most things.

                    •  okay, so you're basically anti-green (0+ / 0-)

                      is that what you're saying?

                      How do you feel about science?

                      When Kos started this blog, he self-declared as a liberal, fwiw.

                      What are you looking to progress towards?

                      I can see a big issue for you is protecting unions. I expect you're anti-NAFTA, etc. I would be adamantly pro-NAFTA if environmental regulations and human rights protections were consistent worldwide. As it is, I have mixed feelings about it, but I cannot just ignore the fact that people in other countries who are being employed to drive prices down, need to eat too.

                      "The longer you live and think, the more things tend to get out of hand." - Jack Levine

                      by mieprowan on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 08:48:53 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  WTF? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            canyonrat, steve04

            Look, logging does not exist in a vaccum.  People knock down trees because other people need wood.  It's that simple.

            It is not going to go away no matter how much you spout off about raping "Virgin" forests.   There are pesticides that are so widley used they show up in rainwater around the world.  There is no such thing as "virgin" anything anymore on THIS planet.

            You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

            by DawnG on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 11:54:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  so, since the environment is polluted (0+ / 0-)

              we should just write it off? It's just there to use, and when we finish killing it we'll invent something else?

              "The longer you live and think, the more things tend to get out of hand." - Jack Levine

              by mieprowan on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 12:29:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  So far off base as to be laughable (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mieprowan

          Anyone who doensn't recognize the uniqueness of a rainforest and how absolutely precious these rather rare ecosystems are needs to stay out of the discussion because they clearly don't have enough facts to have an opinion that is meaningful.

          Wow, to see this kind of short-sightedness on this website is a real surprise to me. And this is coming from someone somewhat tied to the lumber/timber industry (i.e., ME.) Yes: farm wood from now until forever. But do NOT cut down rainforests. This planet NEEDS them.

  •  You lost me at (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnG, sebastianguy99, Elise, bjhunt

    if this is at all true

  •  Uh..President Obama is NOT a progressive.... (9+ / 0-)

    democrat.

    He is a moderate left-center liberal.

    Really, was NO ONE paying attention during the last election?

    All evils are equal when they are extreme. - Pierre Corneille

    by LiberalCanuck on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:29:46 AM PDT

  •  We log in rainforests all the time (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    canyonrat, steve04, soms, Big Sky Dem

    The entire pacific northwest of North America is a rainforest!

    I'm all for ecology, but at some point, the question does become, "Do we continue to use wood and paper?" If the answer remains yes, then forestry also remains an industry that must continue.

    Far better than strange notions about somehow magically avoiding forestry is sound forestry.

    http://www.fscus.org/

    Terminator Salvation was a terrible movie.

    by Bobs Telecaster on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:33:04 AM PDT

  •  This pisses me off (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mieprowan

    Vilsack you are a fucking clown

  •  well, your first mistake (7+ / 0-)

    was assuming the president was a progressive. he is not. and you can really tell this if you had read any of his books.

    very much closer to the center, if you ask me.

    as for the logging, well these types of sales are fairly common nationwide.

    also, 381 acres isn't exactly destroying the entire 69,000 square kilometers of the Tonglass National Forest.

    also, is this ancient forest? 70% of this particular national forest's old growth forest is long gone according to the Forest Service's website and Wikipedia.

    also, this sale goes back a long ways.

    What I would have loved to see in this diary (And I'll get it from our more scientific, pragmatic members, if they show up) is a discussion on logging, its impacts on the environment, responsible logging (isn't it law that they have to replace what they take out?) and so on. I didn't get that. And no, I won't write the diary myself, as this isn't my industry, other then the fact that I buy hundreds of paper books a year.

    So best of luck to you and vote for Nader or Kucinich next time. Or Hillary, but she's probably not going to run again.

    (+0.12, -3.33) agree w/ me or go to redstate. i'm snarking. too many aren't.

    by terrypinder on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:36:47 AM PDT

  •  Sad but true. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, polar bear

    HuffPost is headlining the story.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:40:46 AM PDT

  •  Obama is a city boy (4+ / 0-)

    He doesn't know anything about the politics of guns although he's learning.

    He doesn't know from a personal perspective the value of virgin forest.

    It's up to the people who care about this issue to raise caine and make him understand that politically this is as sensitive issue as gun control.

  •  Um (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    canyonrat, steve04, soms

    this is reading like this forest has never been used. This rainforest has always been used for timber. Yeah, I don't like that it is happening at all. It has been regulated though or the whole forest would be gone by now.

    To err is human. To forgive, divine.

    by Highwind on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 09:52:34 AM PDT

  •  Simply awful. And for those of you saying we (4+ / 0-)

    should have known, Obama supported the roadless rule during his campaign.  This is so irresponsible, I don't know where to begin.  I'm so steamed.  Let carworkers go and subsidize logging in a roadless rainforest?  There is NO justification for this, whatsoever.

    Not only is this one of the last pristine areas, with all the wildlife and fauna that implies, but the taxpayer ends up paying HUGE subsidies for these sales.  We give the timber companies money, basically.

    Juneau, AK -- A coalition of conservation groups filed a lawsuit today challenging a proposed timber sale in Thorne Arm on Revillagigedo Island near Ketchikan. The Orion North Reoffer timber sale proposes logging in Sea Level Creek, the last major intact, roadless watershed remaining on Thorne Arm in the Tongass National Forest.

    earthjustice

    This was written in March, when they tried to stop it.  Everyone was very excited when Vilsack said he would review roadless area sales.  He just turned that excitement into dismay and anger.  I keep thinking I'm over feeling betrayed by this admin, and then they throw a new one out.

    Unbelievable.

  •  This is a wrong decision..... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewley notid, polar bear, mieprowan, CMYK

    ....and like much of the timber, it will probably just be shipped to China or Japan.

    This is a bad decision.

  •  Timber and Alaska. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    canyonrat, polar bear, mieprowan

    I'd ask readers of this issue to research what has happened in the last fifteen years as regards this specific potential sale.

    This is not completely a virgin forest.  Part of the plan includes rebuilding old roads - which constitutes around a third of the total miles of road building in the plan.

    The proposed 4 million board feet to a maximum of a little over 6 million board feet of lumber in the plan is a very tiny portion of the original Forest Service plan created over ten years ago, and around 25% (at the maximum projected board feet) of the original Forest Service sale proposal.

    I grew up in a town with a population of less than 2000. That town alone had four lumber mills in its heyday forty years ago. SE Alaska is down to 3 to 4 mills - 85% of the lumber industry is now gone. Allow me to repeat this - the proposed sale of 4 to 6 million board feet of lumber is miniscule.

    I'm very mixed about this. Livelihoods are being wiped out up there. In parallel with the impact on the fishing industry in the last 15 years, there is very little livelihood left in Alaska - at least in terms of the last 100 years of traditional livelihood.  This same dynamic has occurred in the other West Coast states - Oregon and Washington - and the timber industry is nearly defunct in these states except for large corporate operations. It's taking a generation or two to refit the economy in formerly dominant timber economies in the lower 48 - to attempt the retrain and re-employ of those workers in other industries. In many coastal towns, the economies have never recovered. In this current recession, any shift in industry paradigm can be too costly for communities to survive unless there are additional federal funds to prop up alternate industries.

    Alaska will take a lot longer to regenerate an alternative economy, given its location and low density population. And given the current GOP leadership.

    I'm strongly on the side of the environmentalist perspective, but I also see the argument in assisting local mill operations like Seney's in order to protect small-scale livelihoods in that area in the interim.

    Btw, we do log in rain forests all the time here in Washington State, where the impact on watersheds, flora and fauna is far greater than the impact of this individual Alaskan proposal.

    "We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other."
    Teilhard de Chardin

    by exmearden on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 10:17:01 AM PDT

    •  I'm for assisting small operators, too, but with (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      exmearden, dewley notid, mieprowan, CMYK

      thinning, mostly, and not in roadless and/or fragile areas.  There can be sustainable, small scale forestry in some areas.  

      However, from some of the press, it appears that the whole community is not behind this sale, as it is the last pristine area for recreation and hunters in the vicinity.

      •  if you look at the map of the proposed area (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        polar bear

        I think this is a little hyperbole. Of course, that's my perception without having been to the area.  

        The other 75% of the area around the watershed, a large watershed area, will remain untouched by road building or logging operations.

        This link, from the Earthjustice site, shows the 2005 area, and shows a proposed cutting area that is greater than the current proposal (to my understanding).

        Note that the South Reville on Thorne Arm is roadless as well.

        "We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other."
        Teilhard de Chardin

        by exmearden on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 10:36:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  fwiw, here's part of the march, 2009 press (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Oke, exmearden, dewley notid, mieprowan, CMYK

          release from EJ that i linked above.

          "The Orion North timber sale has been on the books for a decade. Since then, timber prices have plummeted while the costs of timber sales to taxpayers have skyrocketed," said Kate Glover, an attorney with Earthjustice, the law firm representing the conservation groups. "There has also been a lot of new scientific research in that time. For example, we now know that deer habitat in Thorne Arm may barely be sufficient to support wolves and deer hunting. If the Forest Service keeps logging here, we could see restrictions on subsistence and recreational hunting in the future."
          "The rest of Thorne Arm has already been hammered with clearcuts. People in Ketchikan use this last pristine area for fishing, hiking, and family outings -- the trees have more value standing than they do cut," said Cairnes.

          •  ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            polar bear, CMYK

            the trees have more value standing than they do cut

            This is almost always the case in any timber area with the economy and the costs of logging, fuel, milling, shipping, and subsequent overhead costs of reclamation.

            Since the early 80's, logging has not been a sustainable industry for small operators. Most timber operators, especially the small scale ones, will admit to this.

            It's a sad dilemma. The thinning, smale scale logging you suggest is also not cost-effective for small mills. The costs of this type of logging, as well as the scale of the proposed cutting in the Orion North plan, inevitably drive what's left of the industry to larger and larger timber corporations that have the equipment for the thinning and the resources to sell the timber to larger markets.

            Part and parcel to the reason why we import a great deal of our lumber from Canada.

            "We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other."
            Teilhard de Chardin

            by exmearden on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 11:20:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  some small scale logging in Oregon is profitable. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              exmearden, CMYK
              •  i should clarify that i was not limiting my (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                exmearden, CMYK

                support to thinning.  There is responsible, selective, sustainable logging, by local loggers and local mills, in areas that have traditionally been used for logging, are accepted for that, and are no longer that viable as wilderness areas, or even close.

                I support local production of products from these forests, as well.

              •  sometimes at the expense of public land (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                polar bear, CMYK

                which in Oregon is far more endangered than the 17 million acres of Tongass.

                Twenty years ago, I spent several days tramping over the hills between hwy 30 and hwy 26, around Vernonia and Cornelius Pass, on out to the Coast Range rise.

                Even at that time, the clear cuts on privately owned land was astounding. The Oregon Board of Forestry is opening up public land because much of the private land is already logged, or blocked for environmental reasons.

                The debate rages on. I haven't seen stats recently on small scale profits in Oregon, but I'd bet that there are very few small operations that are profitable.

                There's one remaining mill in my old hometown and they only survive because they consolidated all their operations in other communities down to one single location. They still maintain substantial family-owned property and retain legacy timber rights to state land that were grandfathered in from the early 1900's. I don't know how much of that is still logged, but it must be around 10% of what it was in the 70's.

                "We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other."
                Teilhard de Chardin

                by exmearden on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 11:51:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Look, if the industry is in that bad of shape (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mieprowan, CMYK

      This is not going to do an f***ing thing but delay the inevitable. And destroy a significant area of unique ecosystem in the process. I'm sorry to hear about the status of people in this industry, but it seems they are going to have to find new jobs anyway. Why take another chunk of this ecosystem before you do?

      •  It really is not that easy. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        canyonrat, askew, exmearden

        There are people in Alaska who have spent entire generations doing Logging and Fishing and mining and whatnot.  To you, it's an industry.  To them it's a heritage.

        it's not as cut and dry as you make it out to be.

        You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

        by DawnG on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 11:48:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not a good reason to perpetuate damaging (0+ / 0-)

          economic and physical ecosystems, though. Otherwise, one could say the same thing about a crack house, after all.

          It's a complicated dance between loggers and the forests they decimate for money. Not all "industry" is benign or sustainable.

          "We're the Stains, and we don't put out!"

          by CMYK on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 12:10:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  oh you have GOT to be kidding me! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            exmearden

            You did not just compare logging to a fucking crack house.

            Jesus H Christ.  I can count my logging expertise in minutes and I still know more about the actual industry than YOU do.  

            Unbelievable.

            You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

            by DawnG on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 12:22:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're right, I didn't. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mieprowan

              But the argument that a business or industry shouldn't be disrupted because it's been a way of life only goes so far. That's the point I was trying to make.

              I live near logging communities and am familiar with the industry, mostly the larger operations. They are an integral part of the fabric of life out here and change comes slowly. It's tempting to romanticize logging, but it's a lot more complicated than that.

              "We're the Stains, and we don't put out!"

              by CMYK on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 08:22:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  It is actually. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mieprowan

          We once had a huge steel and coal industry here in Pittsburgh. Now we don't. People move, they get retrained or they retire. It's reality. And when it is an industry whose record for reckless and irresponsible practices are legendary, then don't expect a tear from me. The majority of those guys could care less about the environment or the conservation practices that could have preserved their jobs.

      •  this is Alaska. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        canyonrat

        Do you think loggers can move into manufacturing jobs or be retrained for high tech jobs?  Sorry, the population and diverse industries just do not exist up there. Manufacturing not at all.

        There is not enough state infrastructure and the population is just not substantial enough to attract the federal support for creating a "greener" economy.

        I'm of the opinion that oil payments to the citizens should be used to create alternative economies to support the job resettlement of those in fading industries like fishing and timber. But that's not going to happen. The process has been in place too long, is supported by the powerful oil corporations and the citizens, and the population depends too much on those oil revenues to supplement their living expenses in a state where the cost of living is exorbitant.

        "We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other."
        Teilhard de Chardin

        by exmearden on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 11:58:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Logging, or clear cutting? (0+ / 0-)

    Which is it? Anyone know?

    There's a big difference.

    •  Logging. (0+ / 0-)

      They don't do helicopter harvest to limited roads in a clear cutting setup.  They select big nice trees, and take them out, leaving plenty of mature trees left that then grow in to the spaces, in turn becoming big nice trees.

      They know the soils there won't support clear cutting or even extensive networks of roads, which is why they do a combo of roads and helicopters.

      No on Prop 8::Sometimes I get to hitch a ride on the Democratic Bus--they let me stand on the back bumper.

      by steve04 on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 12:15:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah we hear that in PA all the time. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mieprowan

      There is a difference, but it is not as big as the public is led to believe. Yes, the leave some trees standing, but not that many. They leave one hell of a mess on the ground. There is huge amounts of erosion in the area for the next year or two. Then you are left with a patch of ugly scrub and thickets for the next 10 years. Now the maples, ash, oak, beech, and other hardwoods here can eventually recover, because the ecosystem is more tolerant to it. But temperate rainforests are not.

      Bottom line, you don't need to disturb that ecosystem. Especially if it is just to export it to Asia or the Middle East.

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