Three weeks after the Bush administration proposed further gutting of the popular Roadless Area Conservation Rule, Greenpeace activists and local residents stopped roadbuilding and timber operations today in an area of the Alaskan rainforest where clearcutting is taking place. Above a banner reading, “Ancient Forest Protection Starts Here,” activists suspended a specially engineered structure high over logging roads in pristine forest that is slated to be cut. Other volunteers placed themselves in the path of trucks and bulldozers, while a group of Alaskans locked themselves to roadbuilding equipment.
The peaceful protest marks the first of its kind in the Tongass
National Forest and is the second Forest Rescue Station in the U.S.
Greenpeace has set up these stations as part of its escalating
campaign for a moratorium on industrial logging on public lands and
for greater protection and restoration of endangered forests.
"The Tongass is the crown jewel of the national forest system, a
place of international significance, and it is threatened by Bush's
agenda which makes no economic or ecological sense" said Jeremy
Paster, Greenpeace Forest Campaigner. "Like the Brazilian
rainforest of the Amazon, this American rainforest in Alaska must
be protected and restored."
Logging on America's public lands consistently loses taxpayer
money. On August 1, The Washington Post reported on the shrinking
market for Tongass wood, logs being left to rot, and gross
mismanagement of the Tongass Timber program. ("Reopening Forest
Areas Stirs Debate in Alaska"). In 2002 alone, the government took
in just $1.2 million in the timber program after spending $36
million, a loss of $34.8 million. The site of today's peaceful
protest, an area called the Finger Point Timber Sale, will cost
U.S. taxpayers more than $600,000.
"Four years ago, candidate Bush promised the American people
that he would uphold the laws protecting America's forests," Paster
continued. "President Bush has betrayed his promise in order to
line the pockets of the timber industry. It's time for people to
stand up, to draw a line in the sand and to rescue our forests from
Bush's chainsaw massacre."
The Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise, is currently travelling
throughout Southeast Alaska, working with local communities on
forest issues. The first Forest Rescue Station was set up in June
on a timber sale on public land in southern Oregon. Greenpeace has
not yet disclosed the location of its next Forest Rescue
CONTACT: Nancy Hwa, media officer in
southeast Alaska, (907) 209-7580;
Carol Gregory, media officer in Washington, D.C., (202)