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Environmental terrorists to blame for destruction of 9.6 million acres

| February 8, 2007 11:00 PM

To the Editor:

I remember the sickness I felt a few years ago when the news on the fire season was 4.5 million acres - a new record at the time.

This past year, we have managed to blow away that record with a staggering 9.6 million acres. We can thank all of these environmental groups for their failed policies shoved down our throats with these stupid lawsuits.

Lawsuits that have stopped clear-cutting and more road access, both of which is pointed out by firefighters and responsible forest service managers as some of the answers.

Fuel reduction is another of their failed policies.

Both in Oregon and California, fuel reduction or thinning has proven a total failure. The only answer seems to be 1/4- to 1/2-mile clear-cut fire breaks through the thickest of high fuel areas to stop forest fires from burning for 250 miles, like the one in California, or the Tripod fire in Washington that burned over 80 miles.

I was born in Montana and grew up in logging camps throughout the Northwest. I spent 20 years in the Navy and another 20 years doing everything from slinging hash to being an owner-operator. I dreamed of someday returning here to retire.

Finally, in 2004, my dream came true. I bought a small place outside Libby just before the real estate prices went so insane that none of our children can afford to buy a home here. Only millionaires can afford to buy large tracts of land. They cut down a square mile of timber to build a million dollar log mansion and donate large chunks of money to environmental terrorists. Yes, I said terrorists.

Their weapon of terror is our justice system. They act like the 2-year-old in the supermarket screaming at the top of his lungs until mommy buys him that candy bar. I'll sue. I'll sue.

Recently, I received a recruitment in the mail from the Sierra Club. In it were these touchy feely pictures of Florida panther kittens and a brown bear cub. They were pleading for my financial support to save these animals.

No where in their literature were there any pictures of the tens of thousands, maybe millions of baby animals from moose and grizzly to squirrels and field mice cremated alive by their incompetent and failed, no-touch, no-new-access policies creating a 9.6 million-acre destruction of our national forests.

I believe in the responsible use of our national treasure, our public lands, not the environmentalists' lands, not the Forest Service lands, nor Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' lands. Our public lands.

I've observed in my short three years back in Montana that the line between federal agencies charged with care of our public lands and these environmental groups no longer exists. There is no one looking after the plight of working people trying to feed and educate their children.

An environmental group in Missoula a few months ago threatened to sue the Forest Service over a perceived need to re-negotiate an agreement with Plum Creek.

If we're going to stop special interest groups from controlling our government, it's going to have to start at home. I suggest we start by sending a bill divided equally among the environmental groups for the several billion board feet of lost lumber.

In addition, they need to be held accountable for the wrongful deaths of the probable hundreds of thousands of animals and birds due to their incompetence.

I'm going to check with Sen. Jon Tester, the Department of the Interior and anyone else whose ear I can bend. It may be a lost cause, but I have to try.

We have a government that passes out medals and promotions for incompetence. I figure the worse they can say is not only "no," but "hell no."

I'll keep you informed unless they label me a terrorist. In that case, my next communication may be through Afghanistan, Pakistan or one of the other "stans."

Harry Turnland