In December of 2003, George Bush opened up vast tracts of Alaska's ancient forests for logging.
Sound like it only happens in films? Unfortunately something
remarkably similar is happening in real life.
Deep in the holidays, when little children were waiting for
magical presents and families of Men gathered to feast and
celebrate good will to all, the villain of our story, George W.
Bush (the W does not stand for Wizard) and his minions announced
plans to make rules protecting forests magically disappear. A
Clinton-administration prohibition on new roads in US National
forests was waived away with the stroke of a pen, and the largest
national forest in the US exempted from the rule.
The roadless rule comes from a wiser, more enlightened age and
was created with the popular support of Men. The Tongass National
Forest, in the wilderness of Alaska, has now been opened up to
plunder by hoards of logging companies intent on one thing - the
felling of the oldest and largest trees in the forest to turn into
money. In the process, they will destroy the rich habitats and
irreplaceable ecosystems that rely upon these giants of the
Of course the Dark Lord hoped that an announcement of such evil
deeds during the holidays would ensure it went unnoticed by a media
that has already fallen largely under a spell of silence. The
protection of the forest was the most popular law ever written in
the US, with over two million people writing to express their
support for increased protection of the forests and their
inhabitants. The proposed change attracted over a quarter of a
million comments with 100 to 1 against logging in the Tongass. But
as George would join Saruman in saying, "The will of Men is
weak...we must have power, power to order all things as we
the dark tongue of BushSpeak, which we will not utter here, the US
President tried to claim that "only" a small percentage of the
Tongass would be opened to logging. What he fails to mention is
that the 300,000 acres that have been opened are largely in ancient
forest areas - the greatest concentrations of biodiversity,
watershed, and ecological value -- which cannot be replaced by
simply planting new trees. These areas happen to be the greatest
concentration of economic value as well, and it will be the largest
and the oldest of trees in America's last intact temperate
rainforest which will be felled - many for pulp and paper products
such as toilet paper. As Sam Gamgee would say, "There goes that
George Bush, a-fellin' trees when he ought nought to."
US Taxpayers have spent billions to construct and maintain
nearly 400,000 miles of roads in the national forests, and it will
be US taxpayers that pay for logging company's access to old growth
forests in the Tongass, adding to the $US8.5 billion the US spends
on forest road maintenance now. "Build me a road system worthy of
Mordor" would have been the Timber Industry's command via Palantir
to the White House. (Actually, they don't need a Palantir -- the
crystal globes by which Sauron commanded Saruman in the Lord of the
Rings. US Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey, who drove the
exception to the roadless rule, is a former timber lobbyist.)
Bush thinks he is powerful enough to continue the plunder of the
natural world unhindered. In this story there are no mythical Ents,
no Merry and Pippin, no protective spells for these forests to stop
their destruction. The only power that can stop the Dark Lord and
the forces of evil from destroying the heart of the Tongass and
other ancient forests in their plunder of the Earth is the will of
"It's like in the great stories, Mr.
Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger,
they were.... Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning
back, only they didn't."
The battle for the Tongass is not yet lost but without your help
it could be. Write a letter to the editor, send a message, tell a
friend. Even the smallest of actions can change the course of the
US citizen? Send a message directly to your representative.
Feel free to add your own words.
Send a letter to the editor of your local paper to raise
awareness about the issue:
On the Roadless Rule:
Sample letter one
On the Tongass:
Sample letter two
Help Greenpeace protect the Tongass by becoming a supporter