The Day Before Christmas

Typically this would be Friday news – buried over the weekend. But this is a BIG story, so it gets Christmas Eve. Administration Is Exempting Alaska Forest From Protection: (Washington Post version here, this link won’t go away…)

“The Bush administration announced on Tuesday that the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, the largest in the country, would be exempted from a Clinton-era rule, potentially opening up more than half of the 17 million-acre forest for more development and as many as 50 logging projects.”

And how did this come about?

“The decision stems from the settlement of a lawsuit between Alaska and the federal government over the so-called roadless rule, which prohibited the building of roads in 58.5 million acres of undeveloped national forest across the country.

Environmental groups attacked the administration for the settlement in July, saying it was an underhanded strategy for circumventing the regulation. Conservation groups said the administration had failed to defend the roadless designation adequately. “

Got that? It was a set-up. The right-wingers in Alaska sue the Bush government, the Bush government agrees to “settle,” giving the Alaskan right-wingers everything they ask for. (Does this remind you of the Microsoft “settlement”?)

Be sure to talk about this over Christmas dinner. (And don’t eat the roast beef!)