The War over the West
Administrations come and go, but the impact of logging, mining and other heavy-extraction industries on Western lands and natural resources can span countless decades [HIGH NOON IN THE WEST, July 16]. Managing resources and the challenges of growth is not easy, and our rich natural legacy is weakened with each generation. Without the kind of dialogue that your report raises, discussion of the policies governing public lands will remain behind closed doors in private, special-interest boardrooms. STEVE KINGSFORD-SMITH Seattle
The questions of land use are not so simple as industry vs. environment. Most businesspeople I know enjoy a walk in the woods, and most environmentalists I know believe in technological progress. Instead of perpetuating a false dichotomy, we must find the solutions for our future in a shared approach to developing sustainable practices. The West will truly be won when we see renewable energy, reduced use of toxic chemicals and meaningful efforts toward land and resource conservation. KATIE SILBERMAN Center for Environmental Health Oakland, Calif.
People can relocate; an endangered species cannot. It is arrogant and incredibly stupid for people to move onto arid land and then assume they can basically steal the water from any source, at any cost, for their own selfish interests. GLENN M. SCOTT Newport News, Va.
Theodore Roosevelt didn't create the national-forest system for the benefit of oil companies, gold miners and all-terrain-vehicle manufacturers. We have wolves in Yellowstone and no drilling because of your voices. Wake up, Americans, and protect the public lands as though you owned them--because you do. Your voices will make a difference. JAY F. KIRKPATRICK Billings, Mont.
Timber issues in the west are not black and white. The extreme greens don't want a single tree cut, while some lumber interests act as if not one should be left standing. I grew up in Washington State, and have hiked the high country since I was a boy scout in the '60s. I live in a house built of lumber and read TIME on paper. A middle way must be found to provide a livelihood for Westerners but keep the beauty and diversity of nature of the West for all. CURT EIDEM Everett, Wash.
Americans are littering and plundering our natural treasures without a second thought. From missing petroglyphs, chiseled out of rocks, to cigarette butts littering the trails and initials carved in trees half a millennium old, I saw mankind's fingerprints everywhere on a recent trip back home. Our environment is being irreparably damaged. The decision on whether or not to open up a pristine natural area to loggers, drillers or all-terrain-vehicle drivers should be a no-brainer. MARK K. HINSHAW III Plano, Texas