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Our priceless forests

Regarding the front-page article "Clinton Prepares to Break Logjam of `Owls vs. Jobs'," April 1: The spotted owls are merely a legal ploy; the environmental movement is really concerned with the spiritual value of old-growth forests to future generations, while the loggers are concerned about the dollar value of present jobs. This is why consensus is elusive.

To try to bridge this gap and estimate the dollar value of old-growth forests to our descendants, let us imagine we are faced with this choice: Do we buy just one acre of recently clear-cut federal land for $2.50, plant a forest and wait 400 years for it to grow? Or do we put the $2.50 in the bank for 5 percent interest for 400 years? After 400 years we would have $711,984,170 in the bank. No wonder the Japanese, who won't buy our rice, are happy to buy our timber. The moral is that our ancient heritage is priceless and irreplaceable. Let us face this fact: Once it is gone, it will be gone forever. Chris Lihou, Charlottesville, Va.

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