Cancer Drug and Forests

How typical to have two related stories in the May 15 issue without the obvious connection being made. I refer to the Column One story on how the miracle drug taxol is in such short supply because there are so few Pacific yew trees left. The other story is how the Bush White House is fighting to weaken the protections of the old-growth forests where the northern spotted owl resides.

What your articles did not tell was that the Pacific yew is a slow-growing tree that only grows in the shade of old-growth forests. There are perhaps only about 100,000 left and these are being poached by those desperate to save their loved ones. To the lumber companies clear-cutting the old growth forests, the yew was a weed tree to be burned as trash. The same practices that Gov. Pete Wilson tried to perpetuate. But we never learn. We want to protect the jobs of the lumbermen for a few years until the few remnants of our once great forests are gone.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of women will die every year of cancer because of our past destructive practices.

EMIL LAWTON, Sherman Oaks

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