Agree or disagree?

Write a letter to the editor of the Blue Mountain Eagle to express your opinion about a national forest plan.

Last month, the Bush administration proposed opening up protected roadless areas of national forests for logging.

Under the plan, the federal government would lift a logging restriction on 58 million acres - about 30 percent of all national forest lands - and allow for other development. State governors would be allowed to petition the federal government to prevent road building.

While U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman lauded the plan as beneficial to states, giving people more state and regional control over how the forests are used, I believe that the plan is flawed.

Why? It's not because either tree-hugging environmentalists or clear-cut-crazy logging companies (depending on your particular leaning) will benefit at the expense of the other. No, it's flawed because of one thing: politics.

The Bush plan is a nice idea, but with the shifting political sands in many statehouses, you hardly know from one election cycle to the next which party will hold the governor's seat.

What is policy one year may change after November balloting. And then go another direction four years later.

Groups both for and against development will hardly remember who it is they should sue.

Another point to consider is national forests that cross state borders. The Umatilla National Forest lies in both Oregon and Washington. While Gov. Kulongoski and Gov. Locke may find a consensus about what to allow, Ted and Arnold will probably work at cross purposes when it comes to the Siskiyou National Forest.

While the Clinton plan of a complete ban on road building in all current roadless areas doesn't take into account specific forest problems, throwing a wet blanket over everything, the Bush plan is no better and would effectively undermine the national forest system and federal protection of a valuable resource.

Whether you use the national forest for recreation or for profit, the current administration's proposal won't help anyone get the most out of the forest.

It's best to stay the course for now, until something more responsible than either the Clinton or Bush plans can be crafted.

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