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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Our View

Here come the chainsaws

When taking reporters on tours of his Texas ranch, President Bush sometimes takes a chainsaw to whatever growth is handy.

How symbolic. The Bush vacation hobby parallels what he’s doing to America’s natural beauty.

This week, his Agriculture Secretary, Ann Veneman, came to Boise to chainsaw the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, a meticulously crafted law protecting 58 million acres of U.S. forests. An approving Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne was at her side, savoring his control over the fate of 9.3 million acres of roadless forests, 17 percent of Idaho’s land area.

This invitation for extraction industries to carve into forests and begin logging and exploring for petroleum will inevitably shatter the beauty and quiet prized by sportsmen and hikers and once preserved for the future.

As is customary with wreck-and-ruin decisions, this gambit was made to sound appetizing: Governors may decide whether to open roadless areas or petition the Forest Service to continue roadlessness.

Surprise. There’s a ringer: The Forest Service (a.k.a. Bush Inc.) can reject petitions and ignore state appeals.

President Bush’s fixation for stripping protections from the environment has a common theme: He repeals regulations with the misfortune of being Bill Clinton policies.

Imagine the condition of the West’s forests in another four years of Bush Inc. opening the doors to rampant digging, drilling and cutting, the public’s opinion be damned.


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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.