The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Activists stop logging in Alaskan rainforest to protest Bush's bad forest policy

Feature story - August 3, 2004
KUPREANOF ISLAND, ALASKA, United States — Greenpeace activists are out in the cold, rainy fog of Alaska's Tongass forest today in the area's first forest rescue station, trying to stop the Texan chainsaws of George W. Bush. Ever predictable, the US president has broken promises in order to line the pockets of big industry. Greenpeace USA, Inc. is doing something about it.

Greenpeace activists and local residents stop roadbuilding and timber operations to protect the Tongass National Forest. George Bush wants them out of his way so he can hand the forest over to the timber industry.

The Tongass was supposed to be protected by one of the most popular conservation rules in American history: the Roadless Rule. But Bush has decided to rewrite it with a pen borrowed from logging interests. On Christmas Eve of last year, Bush took 9 million acres of Alaska's Tongass National Forest out of the public domain and put them under the Christmas tree for the forest industry.

"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 USA Forest Campaigner. "Like the Brazilian rainforest of the Amazon, this American rainforest in Alaska must be protected and restored."

Greenpeace forest campaigners monitoring the situation from Washington DC report that the Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise, is also making its way to the protest site and is being spotted by a US Coast Guard helicopter.

The people pay

Logging on 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 US government took in just US$ 1.2 million in the timber program after spending US$ 36 million, a loss of US $34.8 million. The site of today's peaceful protest, an area called the Finger Point Timber Sale, will cost US taxpayers more than US$ 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."

In mid-July, the Bush administration moved to eliminate the Roadless Rule nationwide a proposal that threatens the entire 58.5 million acres of the USA's pristine roadless areas in national forests.

As a candidate, President Bush promised to be an environmental president and uphold the Roadless Rule. However, since taking office he has proven to be the worst environmental president in US history.

Take Action

Greenpeace is calling for an immediate national moratorium on large-scale commercial logging and road construction on federal forests that are under the administration of the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

Send a message to the USDA Forest Service protesting Bush's weakening of the Roadless Rule

Become a Greenpeace cyberactivist.

Join Greenpeace