To the Editor:

If you have been paying attention to real news you already know that huge sections of Brazilian rain forests have been systematically cut down to make way for cattle so giant corporations can supply cheap hamburgers to the world. This is at very least a tragedy, and at most ecocide. But what if this were happening right here in our back yard and nobody noticed? Just go look. Just take a drive south of Ely towards the charcoal ovens.

As soon as you get to Commins Lake, look right. First you’ll see the results of clear-cut logging – piles of dead Pinion and Juniper trees laying in the sage brush. The government wants us to believe that this is good for the environment and sage hens. But after decades of your tax dollars spent on bureaucrats’ payrolls, all we get is conjecture – no proof. Moreover, at least one study has found that sage hens prefer a few trees.

As you drive a little further, you’ll find that clear-cut logging was the kid glove treatment to our forests. For miles afterwards, almost half of the forest at a certain altitude has been chained. The devastation is practically complete in these areas. We’re talking dead zones. The topsoil is already washing away. It doesn’t take a biologist to see that sage hens would not want to live there.

And it doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that piles of dead trees and bushes do not make a fire break.

Expect the government bureaucrats to condescendingly tell you that this is actually better. But the emperor has no clothes. This isn’t restoration. This is deforestation. Sadly, this so resembles the destruction in the Brazilian rain forest.

The key to what’s really going on here is in what they intend to replace these Pinion/Juniper forests with. Essentially, they’re planting these areas with feed for livestock. But that’s not the end of the story. Just like in Brazil, the soil fails quickly, leaving just a few years of feed production. Which is why they will never stop “restoring” the forests – unless we stop them.

The Federal Government is in the process of killing 5 million acres of Pinion/Juniper forests in the Western US. (For comparison, the vast expanse of the new Basin and Range National Monument is only 700 thousand acres.) I can’t even imagine how many pine nuts 5 million acres is. And I don’t anticipate good hunting either. It appears our sacred sustainable food sources are being privatized. For Native Americans, this is the final blow in the destruction of our culture. This is way bigger than any local rancher. The West is being treated like a third world nation. And your taxes are paying for this – while those giant corporations who will profit from our loss of forest just got a big tax cut. If you don’t see the unsustainable thinking of pure greed and exploitation here, you need to go take a look. It’s hideous.

Delaine Spilsbury

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