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Those I know disapprove

At our homeowners’ association annual burger feast and business meeting under the pines last week, there was a lively cross section of well-informed opinion. While chatting about our roads and water system, both liberal and conservative neighbors expressed sincere concern about the environment. All acknowledged in their own way that the health of the earth is thoroughly intertwined with every other consideration. I heard sincere acknowledgment that “water is life,” we need a healthy aquifer.

I learned about the National Environmental Policy Act, passed in 1970, that sets rules for deciding how to use national forests. In context of mission-gutting budget cuts and ever pricier fire seasons, the National Forest Service as run by the current administration says it no longer has time, personnel or funds for so much public wrangling over forest management. Its current bureaucrats say they want to repaint sheds and repave parking lots without grinding through approval informed by public comment or protest, just git ‘er done.

Critics observe additional deeds freed of public notice and comment include logging up to 6.6 square miles per project, or commissioning roadways illegally cut by citizens or companies as new federal forest roads. The citizens I know disapprove.

Peter Hasby

Rapid City

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