In an anonymous e-mail sent to the Warren Times Observer this weekend, the Earth Liberation Front claimed credit for an August 11 fire that did more than $700,000 in damage to a U.S. Forest Service facility in Pennsylvania.
Work is already underway to repair damage to the 40-year-old federal Forest Sciences Laboratory. Susan Stout, project leader at the laboratory, described the sort of heinous research the laboratory conducts that the Earth Liberation Front probably objected to,
We perceive ourselves as doing research to promote sustainable stewardship of hardwood forests in Pennsylvania and surrounding states. It seems like an agenda people should be in favor of.
The laboratory has, for example, studied the impact of deer on hardwood forests and has a 20-year old ongoing study of the effects of acid rain on the decline of sugar maple trees.
In the anonymous e-mail, the ELF threatened to return and destroy the building if it were repaired. In addition the group said,
While innocent life will never be harmed in any action we undertake, where it is necessary, we will no longer hesitate to pick up the gun to implement justice, and provide the needed protection for our planet that decades of legal battles, pleading, protest and economic sabotage have failed so drastically to achieve.
A reward of $5,000 is being offered for anyone with information on the culprits, and a 24-hour hotline has been set up at 1-888-283-3473 for reporting any leads or tips in the case.
Radical group says it set fire at Forest Service research facility. Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 4, 2002.
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