If Logging Looks Bad, It Is
Jeff Lacy criticizes Stephen Kaiser with the pronouncement that "subjective, quasi-religious argument has no place in what should be a scientific critique of Department of Conservation and Recreation's watershed management practices [Letters, May 31, 2012]." How ironic. The truth is, there is no scientific basis whatsoever for logging in the Quabbin. It is all based on pseudo-scientific rationales made up by foresters who are looking for opportunities to cut down trees, by state agency employees who are trying to justify their taxpayer-funded jobs, and by private forestry firms that benefit financially.
I have worked on public land issues for almost 30 years. I was a member of the citizen Advisory Group of Stakeholders for the DCR's recent Forest Futures process. Over the years, I have heard every possible argument from industrial forestry advocates trying to justify their desire to cut down our public forests. They always claim that logging provides a multitude of ecological, scenic, watershed and recreational benefits. The advocates of Quabbin logging make all these same claims. In fact, there is no credible scientific evidence to support any of these claims, and there never has been.
The only thing the Quabbin logging program provides is timber and fiber. That would be fine on private lands. But these are public lands, which we depend on to provide habitat for endangered and sensitive wildlife, carbon storage to fight climate change, natural scenery, clean air and water, and opportunities for low-impact recreation. Logging in the Quabbin degrades all of these values.
The Quabbin logging program was conceived, planned, and continues to operate under the control of a small group of industrial logging advocates. There has never been any meaningful public involvement or accountability to the people of Massachusetts. The Advisory Group of Stakeholders for the DCR's Forest Futures process, which was meant to re-evaluate how our public forest lands should be managed, was not even allowed to include the Quabbin logging operation in our discussions.
If anyone is using "subjective, quasi-religious arguments," it is Lacy and the other people responsible for continuing to butcher the Quabbin forest. A more credible authority is Gordon Robinson, a forester and longtime advocate for responsible forestry. In his book, The Forest and the Trees: A Guide to Excellent Forestry, he wrote:
"Anyone can identify destructive forest practices. You don't have to be a professional forester to recognize bad forestry any more than you need to be a doctor to recognize ill health. If logging looks bad, it is bad. If a forest appears to be mismanaged, it is mismanaged."
NRC Chair a "Puppet"
Good riddance to [U.S. Sen. Harry] Reid's puppet [Gregory] Jaczko! His actions have been way out of line ["Meltdown at NRC," June 7, 2012].
Jaczko [the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission] was always intended to be a poison pill, in power only to obstruct and delay. He took an oath of office as all federal employees do, and violated that oath repeatedly under the protection and guidance of Sen. Reid. The lack of any moral fiber or integrity starkly contrasts with the ethical and professional standards employed by the 4,500 employees tasked with researching and assembling the license application placed before the supposedly professional board of the NRC.
The damage done by Reid's and Jaczko's machinations goes far beyond the issue of the licensing of new plants and Yucca Mountain [as a nuclear waste disposal site]. In order to win his point, Reid employed subterfuge that has seriously eroded the professional credentials of the nation's nuclear regulatory commission.
I should add that as a former NRC licensing project manager, I believe Jaczko's actions have destroyed the NRC's credibility and its reputation as a non-partisan regulator.
Private Sector Not Doing Fine
Concerning President Obama's remark that "the private sector is doing fine": In February, 2009 President Obama's $787 billion stimulus program was supposed to create 5 million new jobs and reduce unemployment below 8 percent by the end of 2010. He missed both projections by wide margins.
At the end of May, 2012, unemployment was still above 8 percent and only 69,000 new jobs were created in May, the fewest in a year. When we add in people who have stopped looking for work, the real unemployment rate is closer to 13 percent.
During Obama's term the national debt has risen by $5 trillion to over $15 trillion, and is increasing. The flailing administration has created extreme uncertainty in the private sector, which has depressed manufacturing activity and inhibited hiring.
Obama's policies and programs have had a negative impact on the work force. He has obstructed job creation by putting the Keystone pipeline project on hold. The Congressional Budget Office stated that Obama's healthcare bill will cost 850,000 jobs.
The latest reports show we could be in a stagnant economy and could possibly fall back into another recession. President Obama has been in office three and a half years, and he owns the faltering economy.
As President Truman said, "The buck stops here."
Donald A. Moskowitz
I will never forget one wedding I attended a few summers ago. Each guest was given a box that we were told to open as the bride and groom walked out. It was supposed to be a beautiful moment, but everyone was horrified when we opened the boxes to find mangled and bloodied butterflies inside. Most of them couldn't even flutter their wings.
Butterflies are extremely delicate and sensitive beings, yet every year, for weddings and other events, countless butterflies are stuffed into envelopes or tiny boxes, shipped long distances, and released into unsuitable environments far from their natural homes. Even if they manage to survive the traumatic journey, many butterflies die shortly after release. Those who live can spread disease to local insect populations and threaten biodiversity, and they have virtually no hope of resuming their natural migration patterns.
With wedding season in full swing, let's encourage our soon-to-marry friends and family members to show love to all living beings on their special day by leaving butterflies and other animals in peace. For great animal-friendly wedding ideas, visit www.PETA.org and search for "vegan wedding."
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals