Letters to the Editor

Environmental: Ration trees for future use

This letter is in response to the letter, “Timber policy raises taxes,” Whidbey News- Times, Dec. 1, 2004.

Mr. Ogle, your sermon on our state trust lands mandated by our constitution requires correction. At statehood Washington was granted lands by the federal government to help support specific beneficiaries; to build public schools, universities and other educational institutions. In accepting the lands, Washington’s constitution expressly declared that all the public lands granted to the state are to be held in trust for all of the people. Your letter exposes your selfishness by implying that our state trust lands must earn every last possible penny right now at the expense of future generations.

Consideration must be given to the population of Washington State at statehood. During the 1900s, our state trust lands easily supplied enough revenue to support our schools. Our trust lands, however, must continue to supply revenue for many generations to come. The only way this can be achieved is by balancing the environmental and aesthetic values of the granted lands against the state’s duty to earn money for the schools.

The state currently manages these lands aggressively, with clear cuts, livestock grazing and intensive agriculture. The cost has often been loss of and damage to ecologically and recreationally significant natural resources that can not be recovered. Washington’s modern economy is more than ample enough to fund schools without sacrificing the heritage of future generations.

Resource extraction is no longer a primary source for revenue in our current diversified and robust economy. We can have both remarkable schools and remarkable forests. The future requires new and creative ideas on how the state will continue to provide substantial support to current and future school requirements, while protecting the important natural resource and other values of the lands for all of the people of Washington.

Lastly, your attack on the Birkenstock wearing, backpacking, tree-hugging liberals only further exposes your selfishness. These people are concerned with the current and future citizens of Washington, not only themselves.

John Barone

Oak Harbor

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