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MUSICIANS WANT TO TALK
WILDERNESS WITH
VICE PRESIDENT GORE

Pearl Jam, REM and Chris Cornell from Soundgarden announced today that they have formally requested a meeting with Vice President Al Gore to discuss their concerns regarding the dire state of the nation's forests and wild lands. In conjunction with the Washington Wilderness Coalition (WWC), they have banded together to bring attention to the destruction caused by forest clearcutting and the construction of logging roads in once pristine areas. The WWC hopes to arrange a meeting between the Vice President and band members this fall.

Under immediate attack by industrial logging interests is roughly three million acres of unprotected wilderness in Washington state. The rich legacy of wild forests in the Pacific Northwest remains one of the last bastions of roadless areas in the country. "This is an issue that hits really close to home for me and the guys," said Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament. "These forests are being irresponsibly mowed down in our own backyard and we feel a need to help stop it and to let people know what's going on."

More than 433,000 miles of logging roads have already been carved out of our National Forests -- enough to circle the globe sixteen times. Plans to further this immense network of logging roads continue. This alarming threat to wilderness areas prompted the musicians to request a meeting with the Vice President to voice their concerns and pledge their commitment to preserving these lands for future generations.

"We can no longer afford to sit idly by as our government gives in to thelogging industry" said REM's Peter Buck. "The stakes are too high and the damage already done too great."

While the group applauded the Vice President's environmental leadership, they challenged the Administration in a letter to do more to protect these lands. They also requested that any new long-term policy exclude roads and logging from all ecologically sensitive areas.

"Right now, our public lands are being attacked from all angles -- chain saws, logging roads and legislative riders," said John Leary, Executive Director of the Washington Wilderness Coalition. "When Pearl Jam, REM and Chris Cornell expressed their interest in working with WWC to protect some of the last remnants of our ancient, old growth forests, we were thrilled about the partnership and its potential to make a real difference in saving our nation's wild areas."

The musicians' request is simultaneous to a report released by the Wilderness Society that identifies 24 examples of precious national forest areas threatened by unnecessary logging and road building. These areas all demonstrate the host of public values wild, unroaded forests provide -- clean water, fish and wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation opportunities. Unfortunately, the listed areas are among millions of acres of northwest wild lands left out of the Clinton administration's temporary road building moratorium in national forests. The issue has galvanized a broad effort of activists and citizens who are concerned that the remaining forest wild lands in our region need strong, permanent protection.

The Washington Wilderness Coalition is a statewide coalition dedicated to preserving wilderness and biodiversity for the benefit of future generations. WWC works to protect and restore wild lands and waters through public outreach and education, organizing and support of grassroots conservation groups. For more information, please call 206-633-1992, or see www.wawild.org.


Letter to the Vice President

September 2, 1998

The Honorable Al Gore, Jr.
Vice President of the United States
Old Executive Office Building, Room 274
Washington D.C., 20501

Dear Vice President Gore,

We are writing to request a meeting with you to discuss our deep concern for America's disappearing forests and wild lands. As Congress continues to mountattacks on our National Parks, Forests and other public lands, your leadershipis needed more than ever.

As musicians, our work reaches millions of young voters through radio, television and live performances across the country, and we feel a sense of responsibility to heighten awareness of the dire state of our National Forests. We urge you to use your power to safeguard our country's unprotected wilderness lands. Time is of the essence, and we are eager to help in this important task.

Many of us live in and enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest, a region still under siege by industrial logging. We have seen for ourselves the destruction caused by logging roads and clearcuts. Across this country there are already more than 433,000 miles of logging roads bulldozed through our forests -- enough to circle the globe sixteen times. With so many roads previously built, with so little of our National Forests left intact, it is time to end the "chainsaw welfare" tragedy that forces taxpayers to subsidize the destruction of their own National Forests.

In Washington state alone, there are roughly three million acres of threatened, unprotected wilderness. These are among the last of what remains of America's once rich legacy of wild forests. Protecting wilderness and roadless areas is key to preserving sources of clean water, wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation. We are encouraged to learn that the Administration and the U.S. Forest Serviceare taking the first steps towards better protecting our roadless wild lands. However, we urge you and the White House to include all National Forests, specifically the Pacific Northwest, in the proposed moratorium on new roads. Moreover, we ask that any new long-term policy be in keeping with the spirit of excluding roads and logging from all ecologically important areas.

Again, we call upon you, our elected Vice President, to use your leadership toprotect permanently the wild lands we should leave behind for future generations. We, along with Chris Cornell and the members of R.E.M., look forward to the opportunity to discuss these issues with you in person.

Sincerely,
Pearl Jam, REM and Chris Cornell from Soundgarden


Written by: Washington Wilderness Coalition


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