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Letter to the Editor: Deafening Silence

St. George

Since the outbreak of forest fires, eight in Utah, and several in neighboring states during this summer heat we read in the newspapers, listen to the TV comments from those fighting the fires, along with comments from the forest service all saying virtually the same thing. Heavy undergrowth build up and dead trees ignite and burst into flame as though they had been saturated with gasoline.

Anyone who travels Utah's highways can look out at the forest and see there are more dead trees standing than live ones. These dead trees still standing are trees that have been killed by the spruce beetle, brought about by the environmental appeals of timber sales.

The various forest service districts here in Utah had advertised many timber sales at the initial outbreak of the pine and spruce beetle infestations to control the beetles. Timber sales are advertised for 90 days. The radical extreme environmental groups here in Utah, namely the Sierra Club, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Grand Canyon Trust and Fields of Dixie filed their appeals on the 89th day of the advertised timber sale protesting the sale. (A few radical extreme environmentalists claim they know more about forest management than the total number of personnel on the U.S. Forest payroll here in Utah.) The law requires 90 days to approve or deny the appeal.

The sawmills sat idle for 180 days without logs. Shut down and dismantled, nearly 2,000 people in the timber industry became unemployed. This effected nearly thousands of businesses. The pine and spruce beetle had no restrictions for 180 days, thus an outbreak turns into a plague and our forests are decimated.

What is mind boggling is the total silence of those who were effected by these numerous timber sales appeals by the environmentalists and the roadless forest initiatives that forced livestock people's grazing permits to be cut or eliminated on our national forests, hence the build up of heavy undergrowth of vegetation and the elimination of logging in our forests.

Not one letter to the editor from those whose lives were impacted by these appeals. There is no better time than right now to point the angry finger of accusation at the environmentalists. Why are those former employees of the lumber business and those livestock people who had their grazing permits cut of cancelled remaining mute. Their complacent silence means only one thing. They agree and support the actions of the environmentalists. Even though many were forced to go on welfare. Their silence serves them right.

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