Letters to the editor for February 24, 2014
Artley: Court action could be necessary to stop timber sale
To the Editor:
Ranger Kris Stein, the manager of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, is accepting public comments on the draft Environmental Assessment for the proposed Punderbaugh timber sale until March 5.
The sale will log 5 square miles in an area 22 miles southeast of Joseph. Incredibly, Stein proposes to log 1.6 square miles in the Imnaha River Wild and Scenic River Corridor.
Hard copies of the draft EA are available by contacting the Hells Canyon NRA. Stein will also provide the link to the EIS online.
One can read about how the timber sale will limit and harm dispersed recreation opportunities on page 287. One can read about how the timber sale will limit and spoil camping experiences at developed campgrounds in the area on page 288. One can read about how the timber sale will restrict access to trailheads and spoil the scenic vistas from the trails on page 289.
The public cannot read about the recreation effects from logging in the Imnaha River Wild and Scenic River Corridor in the environmental effects because Stein has chosen not to disclose this information.
Concerned citizens must submit comments to the Forest Service in order to file a written objection describing points of concern about the proposed project. History shows the USFS denies about over 90 percent of the objections they receive. Therefore, court action will be necessary to stop this proposed timber sale.
Campbell: After capture, feral cats should not be released
To the Editor:
I am responding to statements made in a Feb. 10 letter to the editor. The author supported trap/neuter/release programs for feral cats and also stated there were “benefits to the community and to the cats.”
There are no benefits to communities from feral cats, but rather potential for considerable harm. A South Carolina study found that stray cats were disproportionately associated with potential human rabies exposure and were the species most frequently reported rabid among domestic animals exposed to rabies. Cats, especially feral cats, host several parasites, notably the protozoan that causes toxoplasmosis in humans, a terrible disease. Another study showed that a large proportion of feral cats tested were infected with hookworms, another disease that can be transmitted to humans.
Cat feces-contaminated playgrounds, garden soil, sandboxes and other recreation areas may serve as a major source of disease transmission. Additionally, fleas on cats can transmit diseases such as cat-scratch disease, typhus, tularemia and plague. How can this potential to transmit diseases be a benefit?
If one expands the definition of “community” to include our ecosystem, the harm caused by feral cats is appalling. A study by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute concluded that outdoor cats annually kill an estimated 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds and 6.9 to 20.7 billion small mammals, with no estimate the number of small reptiles and amphibians killed. How can this tremendous loss of native species due to predation by a non-native species be considered a benefit?
There are no benefits to cats themselves from TNR programs. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimated the average lifespan of feral cats at two years as compared to 10 for owned cats. Feral cats suffer considerably higher rate of injury and disease, and are more likely to die from vehicle trauma, predation, disease and severe weather. How can such a short, uncertain and brutal life be considered a benefit for a cat?
An objective of seeing most shelter animals adopted is good. However, feral cats, once captured, should never be released back into the environment, for all the reasons stated above.
Ellen G. Campbell,
McLean: One detail missing from Cover Oregon story
To the Editor:
One detail was omitted in the article on Cover Oregon and the insurance deadline in the Feb. 12 Financial Planning section.
It should be known that Cover Oregon is under investigation for fraud. Those put in charge it seems took the money and allegedly had no intention of doing what they were hired to do: namely, set up and run the Affordable Care Act Market Exchange for our state.
Chase: Sage grouse a pawn in public lands scheme
To the Editor:
Those of you who use public lands in Eastern Oregon are faced with another dilemma. The Great Basin sage grouse could potentially close large tracts of BLM lands.
Once again it appears that those of us who live here are at the mercy of vocal, well-funded special interest groups that not only don’t live here nor work in the area, but whose goals are the elimination of all public land grazing practices, and probably have other hidden agendas that will further their elitist plans. The sage grouse appears to be only a pawn in the much larger scheme of keeping the legitimate ranchers, miners, recreational users, hunters, fisherman and other public land users off public lands.
As usual, the BLM caters to the interest groups, ignores concerns of legitimate public land users, sets short comment periods and makes it difficult for those living in the area to comment or respond, catering to the whims of the deep-pocket elitist groups.
I was also thinking of a future plan with no grazing or access on public lands, tall grass and bush, and a wildfire. That’s not happened before, has it! What then will be the plight of the “endangered” sage grouse, pre-cooked?