The other side of Cove-Mallard protests

  Dear HCN,

Your articles describing the Cove-Mallard Coalition fall far short of your usual in-depth reporting. They also imply support of their activities (to halt logging of old-growth trees, HCN, 2/5/96). While the coalition's goal may be worthwhile, their methods stink. The Cove-Mallard sale may or may not be perfect but the Forest Service has made significant changes.

I have lived in Elk City, home of Shearer Lumber Co., for nine years and still reside in Idaho County. Here is what I have heard about the Cove-Mallard Coalition:

* Members have harassed families of Forest Service employees living at Red River Ranger Station. They have insulted the wives of employees of Shearer Lumber Co.

* They have chained themselves to county vehicles. If there had been an emergency elsewhere, these officials could not have responded and local lives would have been at risk.

* They have defecated on the doorstep of the Red River Ranger Station.

* They have plugged culverts on the Cove-Mallard sale.

These are grandstand, eco-warrior, terrorist tactics. These and other incidents have created fear, anger, disgust and distrust against the environmental community in Idaho County. These acts, coupled with responses from hot-headed individuals on the other side, have caused what may be permanent rifts in any discussions about environmental issues.

The environmental debate requires respect for each other, cooperation, collaboration and communication as we seek common ground and sustainability of resources, economies and lifestyles.

Earth First!'s and Cove-Mallard Coalition's tactics do not make it easy for others to join them in the debate. They cannot claim the moral high ground in this debate.

Mindy Wiebush

Kooskia, Idaho

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