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The US Timber Issue

In the Habitat page column "Time to Cut to Heart of a US Timber Issue," Sept. 17, the author is right in characterizing the Bush-Clinton prescriptions for the Pacific Northwest timber crisis as "easy giveaways," but he succumbs to preservationist propaganda in his creed against below-cost timber sales and log exports.

The author neglected to mention two salient points that would have negated his arguments: Federal law specifically exempts the Forest Service from the necessity of making a profit on timber sales. Nevertheless, the agency does make annual profits on sales - more than $750 million last fiscal year; and the law forbids exports of federally-owned timber, and most state-owned timber. Exports are almost exclusively from private lands. Thus the issue is completely separate from unemployment caused by timber ha rvest restrictions on public lands.

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Moreover, the author presumably favors a university study claiming that 15,000 American jobs could be saved if exports were stopped. I wonder if he has calculated how many jobs would be lost among longshore workers, truckers, ship crews, and white- collar workers dependent on log exports? Mark Rey, Washington Executive Director, American Forest Resource Alliance

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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