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PLEA TO SENATOR RON WYDEN: DON'T BRING BACK BABBITT POLICIES

- Miner K A
- 12/27/2008

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Excerpt from a letter sent to the Honorable U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon:

Please do what you can to make sure that appointments to the Natural Resources part of the new administration are not a repeat of the Babbitt years.

People like Hayes and Leshy were disasters for Eastern Oregon. The coming appointments to the Interior, Agriculture, Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, Council on Environmental Quality and others will be critical to the survival of any kind of economic activity here in Eastern Oregon.

We suffer tremendously from the fact that Federal agencies refuse to manage the vast resources of the area. They continue to deny reasonable logging, grazing, and mining. The Federal Government insists on pursuing a policy of denying access and forbidding the use of our resources. The end result has been a tragedy not only for our local communities, but also to the resources themselves as they inevitably burn up in catastrophic fires that destroy hundreds of years of growth and habitat.

This is mainly due to excesses of grass and timber and lack of access. It may be considered natural, but so is smallpox. I don't think we can afford the luxury of locking up millions more acres in semi-wilderness and watching them burn before our eyes. Our grandchildren are going to wonder what in the world were we thinking.

The policies initiated by Babbitt have not been perceptually moderated by the last 8 years of the Bush administration. I hope you will be part of the change that will initiate wise use of our resources. Please help preserve the hundreds of small communities, farms, and miners that depend on utilization of these resources. The Federal Government reserved these lands from homesteading with the promise that people would be guaranteed a local supply of timber, and mining and grazing would not be denied. Please see that the promise is kept.