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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of Aug 28 - Sept 3, 2002


Poor excuse

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. government became famous for arguing that in some cases a village had to be destroyed in order to save it.

The argument is being offered up again on behalf of the nationís national forests.

A century of active fire suppression left Western forests with unprecedented fuel loads. Extreme drought conditions this year produced monster forest fires that forced evacuation of communities and destroyed homes. Arizona, Colorado and Oregon were hit hard.

U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management budgets have been battered by fire-fighting costs.

What to do?

A Clinton-era fire-prevention plan called for thinning underbrush, dead trees and thick stands while leaving the largest most fire-resistant and productive trees. Western governors and conservationists supported the plan.

But President George Bush and Idaho Sen. Larry Craig have a better idea: Blame fires on environmentalists, knock down environmental protections and let logging begin unhampered by protests or delays.

Translation: We have to destroy the forest in order to save it.

The rationale was ludicrous 30 years ago and is ludicrous now. Itís a poor excuse to re-open whatís left of Western forests to indiscriminate destruction.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.