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It is easy to see why anything touched by Walt Disney Productions lends itself to comic speculation. But the question of the development of Mineral King is deadly serious. While the total environmental impact of this relatively small area is hardly as important as other eminent tragedies— say, the trans-Alaska pipeline—it is a symbol of the jeopardy of America's ecology. Not since John Muir's historic fight to save the Yosemite Valley from private development has there been a conservation battle of such watershed proportions. For Walt Disney Productions is being aided in its attempted rape of this beautiful area by the U.S. Forest Service itself. At the core of the Mineral King controversy are issues such as the right of the Forest Service to license such development without holding prior public hearings; the right of developers to build ugly resorts within a National Game Refuge; the right of the government to lease large tracts of national forest land to developers; the propriety of the government lobbying through a highway across a national park for the convenience of a private resort; and the right of government agencies to string an unsightly power transmission line across a national park without congressional approval. When the Sierra Club challenges the Mineral King plan in the Supreme Court this fall, these questions and others will be raised; and the answer will tell much about the future of America's environment.
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