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It's easier to bash environmentalists than to read DeFazio's logging bill.

The ink is dry and the facts are out. The O&C Trust Act calls for management that prioritizes harvest-generated profit over other values on 1.5 million acres of BLM lands in Western Oregon. There's no incentive for recreation, wildlife, or clean water. Decisions would be made by a board charged with generating profits for counties. Simply put, it takes the "public" out of public forests. — Monica Vaughan, Talent

The Southern Oregon Timber Industries' claim that the proposed Walden/DeFazio BLM plan would make our public forests healthy is problematic when one reads the bill.

Section 214 of the bill consigns 1.48 million acres of public forests to be managed with laws "in the manner applicable to privately owned timberlands in the state," while Section 212 requires maximizing timber revenue from our forests.

We know what the industrial model of forestry looks like: a clearcut. — Forrest English, Ashland

Neal Smith, in his Feb. 12 letter, imagines that the decision by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission to deny a license to Fox News amounts to censorship of free speech.

Canadian law, as administered by the CRTC, can not grant a license for false and misleading news, hence its denial to Fox News, well known for being false and misleading. It would be interesting to read Mr. Smith's arguments in favor of lies and deception over the public airways. — Jerry Nutter, Ashland

Sprawl costs money as reflected in the likely need for Medford to constuct two new fire stations at a cost of $13 million. It will require millions more to maintain and staff these stations. The need exists because 60 years of pro-sprawl policies made distances in Medford too great for the maintainance of acceptable response times.

Meanwhile a boundary adjustment committee meets to determine how Medford can sprawl more. No committee to study infill strategies seems to have ever been formed, but over time if infill stategies were followed, taxpayers would save millions as response times stabilize.

Medford's density is about 3,000 people per square mile. This means that each additional 3,000 people urbanize yet another square mile of farmland to be serviced at excessive cost. This institutionalized continual use of more land than necessary to accomplish development goals curses future taxpayers with excessive taxes.

The only hope for tax relief is infill, in other words to accomodate future growth within the existing city limits so that miles of new streets and square miles of new land are not added. But will the Medford council ever comprehend the relationship between sprawl and excessive infrastructure costs? — Brent Thompson, Ashland

The wolves and cougars of Oregon are again being threatened. Trophy hunters are a driving force because they want to eliminate natural competition for the targets of their "sport."

The livestock industry supports killing wolves due to reported predation on their herds. The vast majority of Oregonians want wolves and cougars to remain a vital part of our ecosystem, but a small, nonrepresentative group is promoting two bills that would thwart the will of the majority.

HB 4119 recommends a program that would permit the use of radio-collared hounds to hunt cougars, a practice rejected twice by a vote of the people. HB 4158 would declare an absurd "state of emergency" related to seven cattle confirmed to be wolf (or possibly dog) kills.

The latter bill would condone the killing of the suspected wolves, fewer than 30 of which survive in Oregon. This bill would allow a state agency to circumvent the Endangered Species Act. Science has proven repeatedly that predators (four-legged ones targeting only the sick and weak) are essential to a healthy environment.

Please call Sen. Alan Bates, 541-282-6502, and Rep. Peter Buckley, 541-488-9180, and ask them to vote no on HB 4119 and HB 4158. — Susan Bauer, Talent