Union Democrat staff

Government fire

To the editor:

On one of the hottest weeks of the year (August is always hot), and when firefighters are stretched to their limits, our government lights a fire that costs you and I millions of dollars to put out.

Who are these idiots? We need common sense, not book pushers.

Leland Dahlin


SPI defended

To the editor:

I would like to correct a few statements made by Domenic Torchia (letters, Sept. 3).

Sierra Pacific Industries is one of the most efficient sawmill operating companies in the United States and is not closing because of competition from Australia. SPI has never closed a mill when an adequate timber supply of merchantable logs was assured.

Just so you know, Canada is the largest importer of lumber to the U.S. It is not, last time I checked, 6,000 miles away, and the industry is subsidized by its government. Our timber industry is not.

SPI has an excellent record of maintaining high standards for environmentally sound operations. I personally signed over to SPI in October of 1995 a certified clean plant. And I know for a fact that the company has maintained the plant to those same standards.

It is appalling that you, Mr. Torchia, would stoop to scaring our citizens by saying that anything like the "Love Canal" would exist in Tuolumne County and blame one company for it. This statement borders on libelous.

Finally, instead of being glad that SPI is closing and hundreds of jobs are being lost, you should be working to improve the climate for the multiuse management of our forest, including logging. In such a world we could avoid catastrophic forest fires, protect wildlife, balance the budget of the U.S Forest Service, and save local jobs. And just one more thing: you should read up on timber harvest plans.

Jim Costello


(Jim Costello was president of Fibreboard's wood products division and had been general manager of the Standard Mill for 10 years when SPI took it over in 1995).

Why not log?

To the editor:

If I could only ask Acting Yosemite Superintendent Dave Uberuaga why the Big Meadow prescribed burn area couldn't have been logged slash cleaned and replanted.

Logging is no different than any other type of farming. The Sierra Club does not want anybody to log, but why would a logger want to destroy his future crops by destroying the land? Loggers must practice good stewardship of the forests to insure future harvests.

Log thinning and clean up would be a better way than burning, and it would provide local jobs. Some say loggers can log the trees after a fire. But the Forest Service is slow to act, and if burn site logging is approved it isn't done so until one or two years after the burn. Logs become bug infested and rotted after the first year, so it cannot be harvested for lumber.

Patrick Luepke


Enough dynamite?

To the editor:

As a thought on the Sullivan Creek Bridge, this quote from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid": "Ah, ya think ya got enough dynamite there, Butch?"

Mike Johnson

Twain Harte