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Stream Bailout?

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Scott Bauer of California Fish and Wildlife is not the only one haunted by the future of salmon ("Point of No Return?" July 10). As a nation we pay an ever-more-dreadful price for denying people the freedom to smoke marijuana: the carnage and cost of the international War on Drugs, the world's largest prison population exploding with drug-offenders and now locally facing extra taxes for police protection from drug world crimes, and the loss of our water. When Rep. Huffman whimpers that decriminalization is "years away," when it is actually the silver bullet he talks about, he is on a different drug: Big Money, which contorts minds in Washington.

We've seen the point of no return feared by Mr. Bauer: barren hillsides savaged by logging, denuded of topsoil. We forget that it was the timber industry, not pot growers, who destroyed our watersheds.

Humboldt Redwood Company, heir to the butchered fragment left by MAXXAM, was greeted with relief and gratitude by a county suffering from PTSD. Soon it got eco-certification, claiming it can make a profit and still be forest-friendly. They were saints, shaking hands with Spooner's tree-sitters, instead of Charles Hurwitz's "He Who Has the Gold Rules."

But restoration cannot be just better than MAXXAM. HRC has almost 1,000 acres of THPs planned for my watershed, the Mattole. Lots of roads, the last big trees, poisoning hardwood stands; degradation of the already degraded, not restoration. Once again, tree-sitters arrests on Long Ridge.

Perhaps in HRC's Mattole tributaries, the salmon have passed Mr. Bauer's point of no return. But the fishing there was once legendary. The Fisher family, which owns HRC, is light years richer than Hurwitz. Why don't they truly restore these tributaries, and give them to their matriarch, Doris, for a birthday present? Their name, "Fisher," should be a charm.

As Ralph Nader famously claimed, "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us."

Ellen Taylor, Petrolia


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