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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

High on the environment

Three lumber companies have bid more than $360,000 for the right to harvest timber from the Morgan-Monroe State Forest, and members of the some people aren't happy about it:

Members of the activist group Indiana Forest Alliance attended the timber sale and said the trees would have more benefits to the economy if they were not cut down.

I wonder how they calculate that. I'm not disputing it; I'd just like to see what they're basing it on. You can easily argue the economic benefits of trees, say, around your house. If they shade it, you use less air-conditioning in the summer; if they provide a wind break, you'll spend less on heating your home. And the social and aesthetic benefits of having a lot of trees in the city are beyond dispute. But an economic benefit of leaving a few trees standing in a forest of thousands of other trees? Maybe they mean that the state gives the lumber comapnies such a good deal that more money would be circulated if the companies were forced to get those trees from private land. Wouldn't be unusual.

In the meantime, I noticed there was a big pot story in the news. The National Park Service says it has discovered numerous marijuana plants throughout the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore -- apparently growing wild rather than being cultivated --  and is asking the public to report any other plants discovered, presumably so the evil weeds can be eradicated. Because of the environmental implications, I, of course, cannot report anything I might see. It's one thing to confiscate young marijuana plants from people's basements and window sills. But I say leave the old-growth plants alone. Who knows what delicate ecological balance we will be upsetting.