DeFazio Opposes Bailout

My Congressperson, Rep. Peter DeFazio, Fourth District, Oregon, and I rarely see eye-to-eye on most issues. But on this $700 billion bailout scam, Pete and I are on the same page.

DeFazio opposes the bailout for various reasons, as he states in the email (below) sent to me today. I take certain pause at his wording in places, but I am otherwise in total agreement.

(For instance, DeFazio calls the investment bank bailout “the Bush Administration bailout.” However, Dems like Reid, Pelosi, Frank, and others are pushing hard for the bailout with repellent vigor. Hence, wherever it started, the bailout plan is now a D.C. baby with many illegitimate parents. I can rise above DeFazio’s petty partisanship in this case. I hope you can, too.)

DeFazio’s email of 09/28/2008:

Dear Mr. Dubrasich:

Thank you for contacting me about the Bush Administration bailout. I am vehemently opposed to this bailout.

I was the first Member of Congress to take to the House floor and stand up in opposition to this $700 billion bailout. The financial crisis we face today does not need to be resolved by forking over $700 billion from the taxpayer to the “Masters of the Universe” on Wall Street.

The fundamental premise of the $700 billion Bush Administration bailout is flawed, reckless, and foolish. It is flawed because it is not clear it will achieve its stated objective of injecting commercial banks with liquidity and it ignores the needs of main street America, it is reckless because there are better alternatives, and it is foolish because giving away $700 billion will limit our ability to deal with the myriad of other problems we face such as healthcare, energy independence, and job creation.

To put the sheer audacity of this bailout plan in perspective, a compromise has been talked about that reduces the initial payments to “only $250 billion”. $250 billion would more than double our investment in bridges, highways, transit, and rail in the United States for five years. Investing in infrastructure creates jobs and stimulates the economy. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, for every $1.25 billion we invest in infrastructure, we will create over 30,000 jobs and $6 billion in additional economic activity. In President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration, we invested in building roads, bridges, dams, hydroelectric systems and other public works projects to mend our nation’s broken economy. That money trickled up to Wall Street from Main Street and rebuilt our economy. We did not just throw money at Wall Street with the hopes that the taxpayer might some day be paid back.

I think Congress should respond, but the basic premise of the Bush Administration bailout is flawed. Almost 200 economists wrote to Congress stating “As economists, we want to express to Congress our great concern for the plan proposed by Treasury Secretary Paulson” [here]. The letter went on to raise the issues of fairness, ambiguity, and the long-term effects.

The former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp in the Reagan Administration wrote, “I have doubts that the $700 billion bailout, if enacted, would work. Would banks really be willing to part with the loans, and would the government be able to sell them in the marketplace on terms that the taxpayers would find acceptable?” [1] And James Galbraith, an economist at the University of Texas, has asked “Now that all five big investment banks — Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — have disappeared or morphed into regular banks, a question arises. Is this bailout still necessary?” [2] I believe the answer is No. I have called on my colleagues to slow down this debate and seriously debate the alternative proposals.

[1] Washington Post. A Better Way to Aid Banks. William M. Isaac. Sept 27, 2008. A19.

[2] Washington Post. A Bailout We Don’t Need. James K. Galbraith. Sept. 25, 2008. A19

For example, many economists have argued that directly helping mortgage holders save their houses would be astronomically cheaper and a more effective in resolving this crisis. And helping working Americans restructure their homer mortgage will increase the value of Wall Street’s depreciated assets. As the New York Time opinioned recently:

“We could make a strong moral argument that the government has a greater responsibility to help homeowners than it does to bail out Wall Street. But we don’t have to. Basic economics argues for a robust plan to stanch foreclosures and thereby protect the taxpayers .” [3]

[3] New York Times. Editorial. What About the Rest of Us? Sept., 26, 2008. A26.

Another serious consequence is the $700 billion hole in the budget deficit this bailout will create. The next administration, Democratic or Republican, will be unable to initiate new proposals as it charts a new course for our nation. The Bush tax cuts blew the surplus created by the last Democratic Administration and the Bush Administration bailout will prevent the next administration from implementing its mandate.

My biggest concern of this bailout is who pays the $700 billion tab. The $700 billion is to protect Wall Street investors, therefore the same Wall Street investors should pay for this infusion of taxpayer money. I have proposed a minimal securities transfer tax of one percent. A securities transfer tax would have a negligible impact on the average investor and provide a disincentive to high volume, speculative short-term traders. Similar tax proposals have been supported by many esteemed economists such as Larry Summers, John Maynard Keynes and Nobel prize winners Joseph Stiglitz and James Tobin.

There is considerable precedent for this. The United States had a similar tax from 1914 to 1966. The Revenue Act of 1914 levied a 0.2% tax on all sales or transfers of stock. In 1932, Congress more than doubled the tax to help finance economic reconstruction programs during the Great Depression. In 1987, Speaker of the House Jim Wright offered his support for a financial transaction tax. And today the UK has a modest financial transaction tax of 0.5 percent. This is a reasonable approach to protecting taxpayers and ensuring the federal budget doesn’t fall further into the fiscal hole.

I will continue to challenge this bailout every step of the way. Again, thanks for reaching out to me. Please keep in touch.

Klamath Co Commissioners Angry Over Conditions in National Forests

Beetle-kill areas are a last step in a sick forest’s evolution

by Pat Bushey, editor, Klamath Herald and News Tuesday, September 23, 2008 [here]

Klamath County Commissioners are right to be angry over the lack of support by the federal government for Oregon’s national forests.

Commissioners are primarily concerned about the Fremont-Winema National Forests in Klamath and Lake counties, but the points they made last week could be made about national forests throughout Oregon.

Commissioner John Elliott raised the issue of trying to get the federal forest lands ceded to the state if the federal government can’t take proper care of them. That concept has logic behind it, especially with the cutoff of the county payments program that compensated Oregon counties that have federal forest lands. Federal lands aren’t taxed, and thus don’t produce property tax revenue for such things as schools, roads and law enforcement provided from local funds. But the proposal for local or state control of federal forest land has come up before and never got much traction.

The Association of O&C Counties tried something along those lines in 2006. It offered a plan which would have put 1.2 million of the 2.4 million acres of O&C lands permanently off limits to logging and sold the rest to private buyers to create four trust funds that would have supported: Oregon schools; schools across the nation that have shared in forest receipts; Oregon counties; and management expenses for the 1.2 million acres being preserved. The proposal didn’t go anywhere.

The O&C lands were a land grant more than a hundred years ago to the Oregon and California Railroad Company. After the railroad didn’t resell the land to settlers as promised, the land was reclaimed by the United States in 1937, with the understanding that it would be managed primarily for timber production.

Disaster threatens

Last week, Klamath County commissioners railed at the potential disaster in eastern Klamath County and Lake County as an infestation of the pine beetle turns thousands of acres of once-green forests an ugly red. They’re full of tinder and only a lightning strike away from an inferno.

Meanwhile, the Forest Service is being forced to curtail thinning operations in order to find money for fighting wildfires, the cost of which has soared from 13 percent of its 1991 annual budget to almost half.

There’s more wrong than the pine beetle, though. Insect infestations usually are one of the final steps that a sick forest evolves through. Unfortunately, there’s no way to undo the past forest practices that encouraged development of large stands of even-aged lodgepole pine trees crowded together competing for water and nutrients. The forests have to be thinned. Failing to do so creates more kindling for disastrous wildfires.

The Fremont-Winema had to cancel five thinning projects along with projects reducing hazardous fuels this year so the money could be used for fighting fires.

Let’s hope next summer we aren’t staring through smoke-filled air at the eastern horizon’s red glow while flames roar through a tangled mess of dead timber.

26 Sep 2008, 10:19am
Politics and politicians
by admin
1 comment

No to the Bailout

The proposed $700 billion bailout of NYC investment bankers is the largest graft event in world history. It must be stopped. Please email your Congressional delegation today.

Tell them that if they vote for mega-graft, you will not vote for them.

This country and our economy will be fine. There is no reason to tax every man, woman, and child $3000+ to give to crooks and politicians.

How does this deal affect forests? Please recall that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is the former president of the Nature Conservancy, a multi-billion dollar multinational real estate corporation whose stock-in-trade is gobbling up private property at a discount and reselling it at a premium to the government.

That is exactly the program offered by Paulson today, with the usual 25% “finders fee” attached. At least $200 billion of the “bailout” will go directly into the pockets of fats cats who are already millionaires and whose ill-gotten gain came from gaming the system.

Paulson, Obama, Frank, Reid, Pelosi, et al have become wealthy not from hard work but from payoffs. The slush fund they wish to create will rob from poor and give to the rich.

Our public forests and private homes are the resource bases that are the real equity of this nation. The grafters wish to destroy that equity and have been destroying it at an alarming pace. That catastrophic destruction must be halted or the wealth of the USA will be dissipated and transferred into the hands of traitors.

Email and/or call everyone you can think of. Stop the graft, stop the corruption, stop the bailout of billionaires. Do it today!!!

BLM - Enviro Lobbyist Scandal Probed

E&E Daily, a subscription-only Web news service, has broken a story regarding illegal collusion between Bureau of Land Management officials and environmental lobbyists groups:

IG investigating coordination by BLM and enviro groups, congressman says

Noelle Straub, E&E Daily reporter, Sept 20, 2008

The Interior inspector general is investigating possible illegal coordination between lobbyists for environmental groups and federal officials of the National Landscape Conservation System, Rep. Rob Bishop said yesterday.

Interior officials informed his office about the investigation into the NLCS, which is a division of the Bureau of Land Management, the Utah Republican said in a statement.

E-mails and other documents show extensive coordination between top NLCS officials and environmental lobbyists, said Bishop, the top Republican on the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee.

The main groups involved appear to be the Wilderness Society and the National Wildlife Federation, a House GOP aide said. At some point NLCS officials had weekly meetings with these and other groups, often at the Wilderness Society’s office, to coordinate lobbying strategy and messaging, the aide said.

E-mails show that NLCS officials requested environmental groups to write budget language, the aide added. E-mails also talk about coordinating lobbying efforts, setting up NLCS events, sending out draft memorandums for each other to review and preparing for congressional hearing.

The federal and advocacy officials exchanged resumes and job announcements in their respective organizations and BLM, the aide said. Travel documents are still being collected and reviewed and will be part of the investigation, the aide added.

Federal law generally prohibits federal employees from using appropriated funds or their official positions to lobby Congress.

The National Landscape Conservation System is a sub-agency of the BLM. The NLCS website is [here].

The NLCS was established in 2000 by Interior Secretary Babbitt

The System contains more than 850 federally recognized units

It encompasses approximately 27 million acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Managements

The NLCS has four categories of federally designated areas:

National Monuments, National Conservation Area (NCAs) and similar designations. ‘Similar designations’ includes National Recreation Areas, Cooperative Management and Protection Areas, Outstanding Natural Areas, and Forest Reserves

Wilderness. This category includes Designated Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas

Wild and Scenic Rivers

National Trails. This category includes National Historic Trails and National Scenic Trails

more »

Algore the Domestic Terrorist

Former VP and nearly POTUS Al Gore has called for rioting in the streets in the name of Global Warming. From Reuters yesterday:

Gore urges civil disobedience to stop coal plants

By Michelle Nichols [here]

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmental crusader Al Gore urged young people on Wednesday to engage in civil disobedience to stop the construction of coal plants without the ability to store carbon.

The former U.S. vice president, whose climate change documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” won an Academy Award, told a philanthropic meeting in New York City that “the world has lost ground to the climate crisis.”

“If you’re a young person looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now, and not done, I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration,” Gore told the Clinton Global Initiative gathering to loud applause. …

In the proud tradition of Sinque, Abby Hoffman, Vladimir Lenin, and Hussein Obama confidant William “Weather Underground” Ayers, Nobel Peace laureate Albert Gore is fomenting civil disobedience, monkey wrenching, fire bombing, Communist revolution, and mass insanity.

Shut down the power grid today in the name of carbon dioxide! Take it to the streets! Especially you young people!

The Clinton Global Initiative? It’s a Clinton thing? Why am I not surprised?

Drop whatever you are doing, grab your milk jugs full of gasoline, and burn baby burn. Rioting, looting, pillaging! Crush the West!

The phony AGW hoax is dying. Now is the time to go completely insane and destroy America. Move on, move out, and up the Revolution!

Did you vote for Crazy Al? Are you ashamed yet?

Bloated mega-millionaire Algore was deeply partnered with Lehman Bros, the investment bank that plunged into receivership last week. No bail out for Al. Now he’s pissed. Riot On!!!!!!!!

Show your allegiance to Al’s corrupt bank fraud! Burn your local branch today!

Or better yet, commit to 50 years of punitive taxes to stuff in the pockets of NYC investment bankers who gambled away a trillion dollars. They need new 3-piece suits and limousines. You should be poor so they can be rich. You work while they play with your money.

Here’s the Plan of Congress, Algore, GW Bush, and all the fat cats: burn baby burn the equity of the USA in colossal megafires so that the entire world goes bankrupt. We could all live like they do in Kenya where Hussein Obama’s family scrabbles for a dollar a day in the dust.

Come the Revolution gonna be no more limousines! And no more forests, and no more USA. One World poverty and social upheaval because Mother Nature is mad at the human race. Follow your fearless leaders. They know what they’re doing. They have your best interests at heart. Riot on, America!

What is this country coming to? Did we already drink the koolaid? Has the entire populace gone nuts? If you are not insane, please let me know. I need some reassurance.

24 Sep 2008, 10:38am
2007 Fire Season Politics and politicians
by admin

The Idaho Conflagration League

The 2007 fire season in Idaho was the worst in nearly 100 years. Almost 2 million acres burned, including 800,000 acres in one block stretching across the Salmon Mountains in Central Idaho. More than a quarter of a billion dollars were spent on fire suppression, and 10 times that amount in resource damages were suffered.

Just this month the Idaho Conservation League issued a report calling those fires “natural” and a boon to the state. From Fire in Idaho: Lessons for Human Safety and Forest Health, A Review of Idaho’s 2007 Fire Season, Idaho Conservation League, Written and Prepared by Jonathan Oppenheimer, Senior Conservation Associate, September 2008:

Idaho’s 2007 fire season represented a clear shift in how we manage wildfires. This shift is paying benefits that include better safeguarding of homes, property and human life, as well as wiser use of tax dollars and real benefits on the land. …

These Wildland Fire Use fires carried several benefits. Money that would have been spent fighting them could be directed to more destructive fires. Firefighters were kept out of harm’s way. And dead trees and brush that had built up for years were cleared, making the forest healthier and reducing the odds for a major blow-up in the future.

The Idaho Conservation website is [here]. Their stated goals include ending “commercial logging, roadbuilding, and phosphate mining” in Idaho. Ostensibly they also seek to preserve “Idaho’s clean water, wilderness, and quality of life.” The ICL works to “safeguard communities against agricultural activities that threaten public health and the places we live” and to “defend communities against polluting power generation facilities.”

The ICL is opposed to smoke:

Microscopic bits of material, called particulate matter (PM), are carried up in the smoke and carried by the wind. The by-products may cause health effects such as:

irritated eyes, nose, mouth
increased coughing and wheezing
increased respiratory illness
decreased lung function
possible development of lung disease

These inversions cause serious health consequences, especially to those people who suffer from chronic lung diseases including asthma, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, and other types of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The ICL wants clean streams:

We must also protect the quality of our lakes and rivers as more and more people move here. Streamside areas serve as important habitat for wildlife as well as buffer zones that protect our water and help keep it clean. We must maintain these important areas as a way to preserve clean water and beautiful places that contribute to the excellent quality of life we enjoy as Idahoans.

The destruction by fire of over a million acres of Idaho forests did not yield clean water, clean air, or quality of life. The 2007 megafires that ravaged Idaho’s forests fouled air, polluted streams, destroyed habitat, caused massive erosion, uglified scenery, and degraded the “quality of life” for thousands of residents.

Yet the Idaho Conservation League is blind to that destruction and celebrates the incineration of Idaho’s forests. They call forest holocaust “natural” as if “natural” justifies disaster.

In fact the fires were not natural. They were far outside the historic norms. For thousands of years Idaho has been home to human beings who modified the fire regimes so that mega disasters could not occur. The ICL is in utter denial about that, instead claiming that Idaho was untrammeled wilderness before the white man arrived. The fires of 2007 were larger, hotter, and did far more environmental damage than historical fires.

ICL’s historical/scientific revisionism is quite racist. The paeans to “naturalness” also smack of Luddite sensibilities. The ICL board and staff do not run around naked. They live in wood-framed houses. They eat food grown by agriculturalists. If they get sick they go to medical doctors, not “natural” healers. There is even a MD on their Board.

Proper forest management includes thinning forests so that fires drop to the ground and do not become canopy fire storms. The ICL opposes such treatments. They oppose commercial logging. They favor fire storms because they believe such fires are “natural.”

In their recent report they display a photograph of a 100 percent mortality snag patch, formerly green trees killed by the 2007 fires. The caption reads “Pine needles on the forest floor can significantly reduce erosion after fires.” However, no pine needles can be seen in the photo because they were incinerated.

The erosion caused by the 2007 Idaho fires has been horrendous and is ongoing.

The ICL reported contributions, gifts, and grants in the amount of $1,208,035 in 2006. The recent report was funded by the Wilberforce Foundation [here] and the Wyss Foundation [here]. It is interesting to note that both those foundations are bankrolled by high tech fortunes. Perhaps the wealthy techies feel that incinerating forests in megafires is appropriate penance for their sins of “unnaturalness.”

After all, the type of irrational and flaming hypocrisy demonstrated by the ICL can be described as religious fanaticism. What their religion is, exactly, is less clear.

For future reference, the Board of Directors of the Idaho Conservation League consists of:

Pat Haas (Chair), Boise
Mike Richardson (Vice Chair), Naples
Sharon Steiner (Secretary), Ketchum
Perry Brown (Treasurer), Boise
Matt Bullard, Boise
Claire Casey, Challis
Brad Chilton, Pocatello
Maureen Finnerty, Idaho Falls
Elaine French, Ketchum
Walt Minnick, Boise
Rick Price, Sandpoint
Gayle B. Poorman, Meridian
Janice Simpkin, Twin Falls
Jerry Sturgill, Boise
John Warren, Boise
Michael Wise, Ketchum

A Holocaust Party

The USFS is planning to celebrate megafires and the wholesale destruction of America’s forests. It’s a Party!!! according to Brett French of the Billings Gazette:

New method of fighting wildfires to get airing

By BRETT FRENCH Of The Gazette Staff, September 23, 2008 [here]

In a conference at Jackson, Wyo., dedicated to wildfire issues, Timothy Engalsbee sees a “coming-out party” of sorts for the Forest Service’s latest means of directing responses to wildfires.

Appropriate Management Response (AMR) will be discussed by its authors Thursday at “The ‘88 Fires: Yellowstone and Beyond.”

Engalsbee calls it a coming-out party because AMR has largely been drafted in secrecy, he said.

Tim Engalsbee of Eugene, Oregon was featured in a series by the Eugene Weekly, Flames of Dissent: The local spark that ignited an eco-sabotage boom — and bust [here].

But Tim has graduated from all that and is now allegedly a spokesperson for firefighters. At least, the Billings Gazette thinks so:

As executive director of Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics and Ecology [acronym: FUSEE, like the pyrotechnic device also called a flare] and a former wildland firefighter [among other pursuits, read Flames of Dissent], Engalsbee sees AMR as the best way to guide fire management in the future.

But all that aside, the USFS is having a party, a festival of fire. There will fun and games. Fire is the new toy of the USFS, according to Brett French:

The Forest Service has toyed with AMR for years. It was employed in 2007 on fires in southwestern Montana, where it met with mixed reviews by firefighters, the public and fire managers.

The idea behind AMR is that a fire is allowed to burn in areas where it’s deemed ecologically appropriate, such as a wilderness area, while being fought if it is next to valuable resources, such as homes, or where it threatens lives.

As it was initially written, under AMR one fire could be managed for both scenarios if it were burning on the edge of a wilderness area near a community. But directives implemented by the Bush administration in 2003 overrode that scenario, requiring that a fire either be suppressed or allowed to burn. The directives also required suppression of all wildland fires if they were human-caused - again defying the original intent of AMR.

Fun and games with fire, that is, and AMR has replaced whoofoos as the arsonistic game of choice. The “original intent” of AMR is a matter of some speculation, but French is right in that the Bush Administration did not create it and tried to put the kibosh on it.

The decision to rewrite AMR and turn it into a Let It Burn program was made this year, not by the Bush Administration per se, but by the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC), the federal advisory board that oversees the National Fire Plan [here]. The WFLC has been captured by radical environmental groups, none of whom support or have ever supported George W. Bush. Sadly, GWB has lost control over the Executive Branch and pro-holocaust crazies have subverted the WFLC.

More from Brett French and the Billings Gazette:

With implementation of AMR, the Forest Service would do away with Wildland Fire Use - or allowing naturally ignited fires to burn in remote and roadless areas where they don’t threaten property, lives or other valuable resources. Managing a fire for such ecological benefits is based on fuels, weather forecasts and the terrain in which the fire is burning.

What ecological benefits? That contention is so far off the mark as to be from the Planet Neptune. There are no ecological benefits from catastrophic fire. None. Zip, zero, nada.

Catastrophic mid-summer fires in dense and overgrown forests cause massive biological death, erosion, air and water pollution, and lingering effects such as conversion of forest to fire-type brush. The impacts to vegetation, wildlife habitat, recreation, scenery, fisheries, downstream water users, and forest-based communities are deleterious and debilitating.

Fire hazard is not abated by burning forests. Often there is more dead fuels after the fire than before. Instead of being precluded, future fires are made more frequent and more catastrophic. The Silver Fire (1987, 100,000 acres) was followed 15 years later by the Biscuit Fire (2002, 500,000 acres). The Marble Cone Fire (1977, 187,000 acres) was followed by the Indians/Basin Fire (2008, 244,000 acres). And so on.

The USFS has NEVER made the scientific case for ecological benefit from fire. The process to do that is via NEPA, but AMR (like WFU) has never been subjected to any NEPA examination. No Environmental Impact Statement has ever been written for AMR. No scientific analysis of the alleged benefits and/or obvious detriments of AMR has seen the light of day.

The USFS is toying with AMR. They are not experimenting. There has been ZERO scientific evaluation. All the pro-AMR contentions are specious nonsense without foundation in the environmental sciences.

In full realization of the above, the USFS wants to change the subject of the AMR debate from science to economics. From French’s article:

Yet AMR would contain many of the same tenets as Wildland Fire Use. In 2007, federal firefighting agencies defined AMR as moving “from aggressively attacking wildfires of all sizes to a more risk-informed performance-based strategy that will reduce costs by increasing flexibility in wildland firefighting decisions.”

Saving money is one of the main reasons for implementing AMR. As wildfires have grown in size and intensity because of drought, climate change and reduced logging, the costs of fighting them has also increased dramatically. Last year, more than 85,700 wildfires burned 9.3 million acres at a cost to the Forest Service of $1.4 billion. The Interior Department spent an additional $450 million.

The plan to “save money” (if in fact there ever was one) has failed utterly and miserably. In 2008, the year of AMR implementation (new fangled version), the USFS has spent over $2 billion dollars on fire “suppression” when only 4.7 million acres have burned. That does not include DoI expenditures. Toying with AMR has resulted in a 40 percent increase in expenditures despite burning only half the acres!

It doesn’t take an economist to see the bankruptcy of the “save money with AMR” notion.

What about those glaring facts that contradict the Government babble? French has an answer:

The increasing number of homes being built near public lands has also escalated suppression costs. This year, almost half of the Forest Service’s budget was dedicated to fighting fires, an amount that has been exceeded in part because of large fires in populated areas of California.

False. The expensive megafires in California were mostly in UNPOPULATED areas. Megafires burned 640,000 acres in NorCal in the least populated area of the state at a “suppression” cost of nearly $400 million and not one home has burned. That’s AMR for you.

On the Central Coast behind Big Sur the Indians/Basin Fire burned 244,000 acres at a “suppression” cost of $120 million where 28 residences were burned. But the bulk of the money was not spent defending residences in the Ventana Wilderness where there are no homes. In fact, when the fire reached homes the federal firefighters turned tail and ran, and homeowners had to crash road barriers to defend their own homes without federal assistance. It was Katrina all over again. (Surprising that the Mainstream Media was so agog about the lack of federal assistance in New Orleans during Katrina but so nonchalant about it in Big Sur during the Basin Fire).

The doubletalk jabber coming from the Mainstream Media could explain a problem the USFS is having: they can’t seem to communicate the wonderfulness of AMR:

Explaining Appropriate Management Response to the public, firefighters and fire managers poses its own problems.

A Forest Service study found confusion over exactly what AMR entails, outlining the difficulty the agency has in explaining the program to the public, as well as to its own personnel and cooperators.

“Describing AMR as new, or as a significant policy change, had confused agency personnel, interagency partners, and the public,” a 2007 report stated.

The report goes on to state that “many unresolved issues remain,” including getting state agencies to buy into the concept.

Buy in? We have already bought into the tune of $2 billion. The buy-in is so enormous that the 2008 budget of the USFS has been shredded and blown away on Let It Burn. With no public oversight whatsoever. Just like the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fiasco. Taxpayer dollars heaved into a burn barrel by secret conspirators holding secret meetings, jamming their pockets with our money and jamming the gears of good government.

But let’s have a party to celebrate all that. Whoopee. Have some cake. The peasants can eat fire.

Where Did the USFS Fire Budget Go?

I have written about the depletion of the USFS 2008 fire budget before, [here] for instance. Today the Billings Gazette printed yet another article about it [here], one of hundreds that have appeared across the nation.

The BG article brings up a couple of interesting points:

Fire costs limit forest budgets

by Brett French, the Billings Gazette, 09/11/2008 [here]

Even though Montana has had a mild wildfire season, the state’s national forest budgets have been scorched a bit.

Wildfires that burned more than 4.5 million acres across the U.S. so far this year - 1.2 million acres in California alone - have left the Forest Service mandating cost savings from forests to cover the agency’s over-budget fire suppression costs.

“The way we view the whole fire transfer thing is sort of like when a family suffers a family emergency, you tighten your belt,” said Dave Cunningham, information officer for the Lewis and Clark National Forest, which had to trim $475,000 from its budget.

That amount included $95,000 for three bridges proposed north of Martinsdale to protect Daisy Dean Creek’s native fish from ATV traffic. The project is one of many across the nation that will be put on hold or cancelled as the Forest Service struggles to pay a record firefighting tab estimated at $1.6 billion. …

What is of interest is that the 4.5 million burned acres to date (4.67 million actually) is not a record. In fact, it is small potatoes compared to prior years. From the NIFC’s National Fire News today [here]:

Year-to-date statistics

2008 (1/1/08 - 9/11/08) - Fires: 66,162 - Acres: 4,669,330
2007 (1/1/07 - 9/11/07) - Fires: 69,320 - Acres: 7,407,669
2006 (1/1/06 - 9/11/06) - Fires: 81,518 - Acres: 8,694,479
2005 (1/1/05 - 9/11/05) - Fires: 47,786 - Acres: 8,037,248
2004 (1/1/04 - 9/11/04) - Fires: 56,318 - Acres: 7,674,218
2003 (1/1/03 - 9/11/03) - Fires: 47,220 - Acres: 3,029,677
2002 (1/1/02 - 9/11/02) - Fires: 63,294 - Acres: 6,373,709
2001 (1/1/01 - 9/11/01) - Fires: 59,525 - Acres: 3,017,463
2000 (1/1/00 - 9/11/00) - Fires: 76,742 - Acres: 6,653,068

5-year average 2003 - 2007 - Fires: 64,221 - Acres: 7,296,589

10-year average 1999 - 2008 - Fires: 64,557 - Acres: 6,018,707

As you can see, 2008 fire acreage to date is the lowest since 2003 and only the third highest in the last 9 seasons. This year’s acreage to date is only 64% of the five-year average and 77% of the 10-year average.

Yet a record amount of money has been spent. This is curious, since the USFS has adopted WFU, Appropriate Management Response, and the Accountable Cost Management Strategy, all designed to reduce fire suppression expenditures. In fact, reduction of per acre costs has been the stated goal.

Other mandated USFS goals, such as protecting forests from incineration, preventing destruction of old-growth and endangered species habitat, enhancing watersheds, water quality, and air quality, maintaining scenic beauty, etc. have been cast aside in the name of fire suppression cost efficiency.

The USFS has claimed that their Let It Burn policies are driven by budget constraints, yet they have overspent their fire budget, and $400 million to $700 million besides, while burning a fraction of the acres that burned in prior years.

What’s going on here? The lip service has been about saving money, yet the money has been squandered (incinerated) in record amounts.

The idea behind Let It Burn, as stated in a variety of USFS, OMB, and OIG documents, has been to minimize fire cost per acre. Yet costs per acre have soared to record levels. Less acres burned have cost more money than ever before.

Evidently Let It Burn is not as cheap as promised.

Evidently Let It Burn costs an arm and a leg, because it has broken the budget while incinerating only 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the average acres.

Now we all know that minimizing costs per acre is an irrational and fiducially incompetent goal. The rational purpose should be to minimize total costs. But the USFS has failed on both counts!

The Basin/Indians Fire consumed 244,000 acres and was the 3rd largest fire in California history. With more than $120,000,000 spent on fire “suppression,” it is the most expensive fire in California history, and the 2nd most expensive in U.S. history (the Biscuit Fire in Oregon in 2002 cost $150,000,000). The effort there was to burn as much acreage as possible for the least cost per acre, but it ended up costing $490 per acre anyway.

Similarly, the Iron Complex has been allowed to burn all summer, with lots of backburning to expand the acreage. So far (it’s still going) $75 million has been spent to burn 106,000 acres. That’s $707 per acre.

The Siskiyou/Blue2 Complex is still raging away. Yesterday another 500 acres of spotted owl habitat were incinerated. After almost three months of burning, more than $65 million has spent spent to destroy over 80,000 acres of prime western forest. That’s $812 per acre. Of course, considering that at least $10,000 per acre of timber value was destroyed, and watershed and habitat values worth more than that, the real losses on this one fire alone are well over $2 billion.

Some fires are difficult to figure, because the numbers have been juggled and hidden. My best estimate for the Ukonom Fire is that $30 million have been spent to burn 60,000 acres, quite deliberately. That fire could have been put out in June, but it’s still blazing away. The Ukonom Fire is a bargain at only $500 per acre to destroy a priceless, heritage, westside forest worth $tens of thousands per acre.

What’s going on here? The USFS seems to be a) lying about true fire costs and losses, and b) deliberately incinerating both public forests and the Public Treasury.

Why would they do that?

Is the USFS barkingly incompetent, or is all this a deliberate strategy to bankrupt the agency and destroy the property at the same time? Why would they do that? Who or what benefits?

I’ll let you ponder those questions. Ask your Congressperson and his or her challenger. Email SOSF their answers. And send in your own speculations as well.

I think this is a worthy topic for group discussion. After all, it’s your money and your forests. How, and more particularly why, did a record amount get spent not suppressing fires on a fraction of the average incinerated acres?

CA Forests Carbon Flim-Flam Scam

File this one under Extreme Absurdity. California has a new program to sell carbon offsets for not logging trees. Here’s the con game: landowners promise not to harvest certain trees, and then are paid $10 to $15 per ton for the growth. The buyers are mainly power companies who pass on the costs to their customers.

The details are murky, but the San Fran Chronicle tried to cast some light in an article that appeared last Sunday [here].

Forests break green ground by selling offsets

Ilana DeBare, Chronicle Staff Writer, September 7, 2008

Evan Smith wrapped a forester’s measuring tape around the trunk of Tree 10525, a towering Douglas fir, to figure out its diameter. Then he used a screwlike device to remove a thin wood sample from the trunk so he could measure its rings.

The bigger the fir, the more it would be worth to Smith. But not as lumber - as carbon.

Tree 10525 is part of the Garcia River forest in Mendocino County, one of two privately owned California forests that have been recruited into the war against climate change as certified sources of carbon offsets.

Carbon offsets - which have become popular among environmentalists over the past several years - are voluntary payments made to initiatives that reduce the level of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Most U.S. offsets so far have supported technology-based projects such as solar power. …

There are so many absurdities in this scam that it is difficult to enumerate them all.

1. There is no global warming — the Earth has been cooling for the last 10 years

2. Carbon dioxide is a trace gas that has no effect on global temperatures

3. Warmer is better, anyway

4. Carbon dioxide is the key nutrient in photosynthesis, essential for Life As We Know It here on Planet Earth

5. Fixed carbon is stored more safely in boards than in trees. Just in case no one noticed, California has experienced 1.3 million acres of wildlfires so far in 2008, most of that in forests. At an average CO2 emission level of 75 metric tons per acre, an estimated 100 million metric tons have been emitted so far, approximately the amount of CO2 produced by 20 million cars driven all year.

6. Most of the forest fire acres were burned deliberately by the government at a cost of more than $500 million. Meaning that they got you coming and going. You pay for burning, for not burning, for boards, for not boards, for this, for that, and for everything until your wealth is transferred utterly and completely into the pockets of flim-flam artists.
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29 Aug 2008, 7:07am
Politics and politicians
by admin

Palin to Run With McCain

This is not a politics blog. I don’t really care who runs for what. Issues are our thing, and natural resource issues exclusively, not personalities. Whomever gets elected, we’ll deal with it when the time comes.

But it is nonetheless a hopeful sign that John McCain picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate this morning. Sarah Palin is very well respected by conservationists.

Under Palin’s leadership Alaska has adopted non-nonsense policies regarding wolves and other predators. Alaskans understand that predator control is necessary to sustain prey populations like moose, elk, and caribou.

Alaska recently sued to overturn the listing of polar bears as a threatened species. Because they are not threatened. There are three times as many polar bears today as there were forty years ago. See [here].

Alaska is a resource producing state. They are a net giver, not a net taker. That is an admirable thing, although the net taker states don’t like to think about it.

East Coasters are probably scratching their heads wondering who Sarah Palin is, but not around here. We like Sarah. Good choice, John.

Court Throws Out Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment

In a bitter and overtly cynical decision issued Aug 19, US District Judge Morrison C. England threw out the 2004 Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment.

The suit was brought by Marxist-Fascist panderer Bill Lockyer, former Atty General of the State of California, on behalf of the Pipple and Worldwide Communist Domination. Despite the absurdity and malicious destructiveness expressed by raving pyscho nutwad Lockyer, Judge England was forced to rule against all logic and rationality because Judge Pol Pot Noonan of the Ninth Communist Circuit Court had a Commie arsonist brain failure last May [here].

The entire Aug 19 England decision is [here]. In it Judge England carefully lays out all the arguments barfed up by Lockyer and rips them to shreds.

By way of background, Judge England describes the process and reasoning that led to the creation of the 2004 Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment.

The Sierra Nevada contains some 11.5 million acres of National Forest Service land with eleven National Forests and encompasses “dozens of complex ecosystems each with numerous, inter-connected social, economic and ecological components.” SNFPA 1920. In the late 1980s, the Forest Service began developing a comprehensive strategy for managing the myriad resources found within the region. In 1995, the Regional Forester for the Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service issued a draft Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) outlining its management proposal. SNFPA 229.

After extensive public participation and the preparation of a Final EIS (“FEIS”) responding to public concerns, the Regional Forester issued, in 2001, a Record of Decision (“ROD”) which adopted management objectives in five major areas: old forest ecosystems; aquatic, riparian, and meadow ecosystems; fire and fuels; noxious weeds; and hardwood ecosystems on the lower westside of the Sierras. Id. at 231-35.

Among the thorniest issues confronted by the ROD was striking the appropriate balance between balancing the excessive fuel buildups occasioned by decades of fire repression and conserving key habitat for wildlife species dependent on old forest environments. …

In order to protect old forest conditions within its specific areas of emphasis, the 2001 Framework generally prohibited logging that would remove trees over 12 inches in diameter or logging that would reduce canopy cover by more than 10 percent. SNFPA 328.

Even within the “general forest” areas, the 2001 Framework prohibited logging of trees over 20 inches in diameter. SNFPA 336. It was only within the intermix zones that no canopy restrictions were imposed and logging of trees up to 30 inches was permitted. SNFPA 333, 315.

Although the Forest Service ultimately affirmed adoption of the 2001 ROD despite receipt of approximately 200 administrative appeals, it nonetheless directed the Regional Forester to conduct an additional review with respect to specific concerns like wildfire risk and the Forest Service’s responsibilities under the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act (“HFQLG Act”), a congressional mandate which established a Pilot Program for fire suppression through a combination of fire breaks, group selection logging and individual logging. SNFPA 1918. A management review team was assembled by the Regional Forester for this purpose.

In March 2003, the team concluded that the 2001 ROD’s “cautious approach” to active fuels management had limited its effectiveness in many treatment areas. The management review team further found that revisions to vegetation management rules would decrease flammable fuels while protecting critical wildlife habitat by guarding against the risk of stand-replacing wildfire. See SNFPA 1918, 1926. …

Following receipt of the team’s findings, the Regional Forester ordered that management strategy alternatives in addition to those considered in the 2001 FEIS be considered. A draft supplemental environmental impact statement (“DSEIS”) was thereafter released to the public in January 2004. While the same five areas of concern were targeted in the DSEIS as in its 2001 predecessor, in 2004 a new action alternative was identified (Alternative S2), in addition to the alternative selected by the 2001 Framework (Alternative S1) and the seven alternatives that had previously been considered before adoption of the 2001 Framework (Alternatives F2-F8).

Following the public comment period after dissemination of the DSEIS, the SEIS in final form also included response to various issues raised, including comments by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, by California resources protection agencies, and by the Science Consistency Review (“SCR”) team.

By adopting the SEIS on January 21, 2004, the Regional Forester replaced the 2001 ROD with its 2004 successor and amended the forest plans for all eleven national forests situated in the Sierra Nevada. SNFPA 2987-3061. The 2004 ROD reasoned that the 2001 Framework “prescribed technical solutions that do not produce needed results, or offered methods we often dare not attempt in the current Sierra Nevada.” SNFPA 2995. The 2004 Framework reasoned that the methods as adopted in 2001 fail to reverse the damage, and growing threat, of catastrophic fires quickly enough.

To review, the USFS, as directed by Congress, created a plan to save Sierra Nevada forests from catastrophic incineration. That plan was originally issued in 2001 and amended in 2004 after extensive scientific research and public involvement. Despite the fact that eco-Nazi holocausters sued over 200 times, the Plan was found to pass every legal test imaginable. All proper procedures were followed and all standards met.
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‘Let It Burn’ Isn’t Right

But before we get to solutions, we are pleased to post this guest essay by Dan Adair that appeared in the Trinity Journal today, Aug. 20, 2008 [here].

I was very interested in the article in last week’s Journal regarding the effect of the forest fire smoke on the grape crop. Many of us in the county have been scratching our heads for weeks, wondering why tomatoes which were supposed to ripen in July are still showing only tiny, green fruits. It’s kind of amazing when you think about it. The Forest Service , with their “burn, baby, burn” policy has actually managed to create their very own ecological disaster.

The story gets even more bizarre as you continue to look into it. The leading proponent of the let-it-burn policy is an organization called The Wilderness Society. They’ve got a national membership of about 365,000 and their stated goal is to have as much land as possible declared wilderness areas. To that end, they’ve spent $2.5 million lobbying politicians over the last few years and have worked extensively with our own Barbara Boxer.

Now, the snag in turning all of this land into wilderness areas is that we don’t have the money to maintain them. The solution that they came up with is the let-it-burn policy. Rather than aggressively jumping on fires, we should simply let them burn themselves out, thus saving a large amount of money in fire-suppression activities.

To that end, they have some interesting proposals. One is to offer financial incentives to fire managers who let it burn. In other words, the more acreage you burn up, the more you get paid. Another is to allow the Forest Service to claim burned acreage as credits toward their fuel-reduction budget. In other words, rather than having to actually go out and clear that pesky brush, the Forest Service can simply burn it up and say they’ve fulfilled their budgetary obligations for clearing.

No one really seems to know the extent to which the Forest Service is implementing these ideas. We do find in their 2008 budget that they want to “promote the increase of wildland fire use, consistent with land and resource management plans and public and firefighter safety and report these acres annually in future Budget Justifications.” And in discussing the previous year, they state that they “emphasized increased wildland fire use in land management planning with the long-term objective to increase the utilization of wildland fire use to accomplish resource objectives.”

Of course, our local Forest Service press officers deny that they’re just letting it burn. Which is technically true, I guess. They’re not just letting it burn; they’re actively setting it on fire. Your tax dollars at work, folks.

Forest Apocalypse Now

The US Forest Service has gone out of it’s freaking mind. Oregon is now the new Let It Burn Laboratory, and our watersheds are targeted for incineration.

The horrendous new “plan” to incinerate Oregon forests was accidentally exposed by Oregonian reporter Matthew Preusch yesterday, the very day that the Mitchell watershed was deliberately incinerated by insane nutwads from the Ochoco National Forest. Some revealing excerpts [here]:

Some Oregon wildland fires, rather than being suppressed, are allowed to burn

MATTHEW PREUSCH, the Oregonian, August 18, 2008

Concerns about budgets, forest health and overstocked woods lie behind the interest in the management technique

BEND — When a lightning storm rolled across central Oregon this month, firefighters quickly mobilized to quash the scores of new wildfires.

But on a handful of fires they chose to hold back, using instead a new tool that allows them to designate certain low-risk blazes as beneficial to the forest.

“We really like it,” said Chris Hoff, fire management officer for the multiagency Central Oregon Fire Management Service. “It gives us the opportunity to treat areas with natural fire that before we couldn’t.”

Last month, the Ochoco National Forest completed a plan for managing wildland fires, the fifth national forest in Oregon and Washington to do so. Others are the Okanogan-Wenatchee, Wallowa-Whitman, Deschutes and Willamette national forests, said Glen Sachet, regional spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.


No “plan” was vetted through any NEPA process by the Ochoco NF. Nothing appears on their website regarding any “plan.” That kind of clandestine activity is patently illegal. But the “Little Hitlers” apparently have some secret document that they think justifies their deliberate incineration of Oregon watersheds.

The Bridge Creek Fire is now 4,900 acres (7.7 sq miles). Most of the ground burned is PRIVATE PROPERTY, not Federal land.

Where is the doc that says the US Government can now burn public and private land with impunity? You know, the one that the Little Hitlers in the USFS really, really like?

Why not come clean and produce the alleged secret document that gives you such a BIG ASS THRILL?

Did the Little Hitlers have a party to celebrate their FOREST APOCALYPSE PLAN? Did they wear little party hats and eat some cake?
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Iron 44 Fallen Firefighter Tribute

A tribute to the firefighters who died on the Iron Complex at Helispot 44 will be held on Friday August 15, 2008 at the Lithia Motors Amphitheater on the Jackson County Fairgrounds from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

More information can be found at Grayback Forestry [here].

From the Associated Press [here]:

Officials work to ID remains from helicopter crash

WEAVERVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities on Sunday finished collecting badly burned remains from the crash site of a firefighting helicopter in the Northern California wilderness.

A day earlier, helicopters carrying flag-draped stretchers that bore some of the remains were greeted by an honor guard of firefighters at a nearby airstrip.

Accompanied by a fire engine escort, the stretchers were taken to the Shasta County coroner’s office in Redding. Authorities there would probably have to rely on DNA analysis and dental records to identify the bodies, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Tom Kroll said.

Nine people were killed in the crash.

The helicopter was ferrying 10 firefighters, two pilots and a U.S. Forest Service employee back to base camp Tuesday after crews battled a fire about 215 miles northwest of Sacramento.

The Sikorsky S-61N helicopter had just been refueled when it lifted off from a remote clearing, struck a tree and plummeted into a hillside, according to National Transportation Safety Board officials. The chopper then erupted into flames.

Two of the four men who survived the crash, firefighters Michael Brown, 20, and Jonathan Frohreich, 18, both of Medford, Ore., were discharged from the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento on Saturday. They suffered facial burns and broken bones.

Brown said Saturday that he couldn’t remember anything about the crash but felt that he was spared because “God had his hand wrapped around me.”

He said he was mourning the loss of friends: “Those guys were brothers to me.”

Pilot William Coultas of Oregon has undergone skin grafting for severe burns. He was in critical condition Sunday, said Martha Alcott, a spokeswoman for UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

The following seven Grayback firefighters lost their lives in the helicopter crash:

Shawn Blazer, 30 from Medford, Ore.
Scott Charleson, 25 from Phoenix, Ore.
Matthew Hammer, 23 from Grants Pass, Ore.
Edrik Gomez, 19, from Ashland, Ore.
Steven Renno, 21, Cave Junction, Ore
Bryan Rich, 29, from Medford, Ore.
David Steele, 19, from Ashland, Ore.

Three Grayback employees survived the crash:

Jonathon Frohreich and Michael Brown were released from UC Davis Medical Center on Sunday August 10. Rick Schroeder, at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, remains in critical condition.
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Mt. Hood Wilderness Expansion Proposal Is Risky

[As the Gnarl Ridge Fire [here] expands in the Mt. Hood Wilderness, causing closure of a large area during peak summer use, threatening Cloud Cap, Tilly Jane, Cold Springs Creek and the Hood River Valley watershed/water supply, Congress is considering the expansion of that Wilderness by 125,000 acres. You might think that some lesson was learned from the Bluegrass Ridge Fire (2006) [here], but apparently not.

Wilderness designation is a kiss of death to forests and forest protection, but you need not take my word for it. Hood River Valley orchardist John Marker has over 50 years of professional forest management experience, is a Director of the National Association of Forest Service Retirees, and is one of the most respected foresters in this country. Here are his recent comments regarding the Mt. Hood Wilderness expansion, submitted to the Hood River County Commission last month.]

by John F. Marker, USFS Forester (ret.)

The goal of protecting Mt. Hood, a magnificent natural resource, is commendable, but proposed wilderness expansion will, I believe, place the mountain at greater risk of damage and increase risk of harm to neighboring lands and communities.

The proposal ignores the 1897 Organic Act’s mandate of sustained production of renewable natural resources from the national forests with water and wood priority. Wood may no longer be critical, since the U.S. now imports most of its lumber and wood products, but water is critical to our ability to live in the West. Recreation, wildlife, solitude and scenery are also important to our quality of life and the engines for a substantial part of our local economy.

The Wilderness Act of 1964 provides little protection for the land from impacts of fire, insects, disease, catastrophic storms, air pollution, or climate change. The Act severely limits the ability to control or prevent damage from such forces by strictly restricting management and treatment options. Wilderness constraints also jeopardize protection of adjacent non-wilderness areas such as Hood River County forests, Bull Run, Government Camp and other lands and communities adjacent to the national forest. And bad things can and do come into and out of Wilderness areas.

Currently many areas of forest inside the proposed Wilderness expansions are threatened by lethal insect and disease activity. Fire danger increases with declining forest health. If, as many scientists predict, the Northwest long term climate pattern continues to grow warmer and drier, the risk of destruction will worsen as ecosystems are weakened by climate changes. Burgeoning human use of the mountain raises the threat of damage to the land from overuse and abuse. To ignore these realities contradicts the stated goal of “protecting” and “saving” Mt. Hood.

An alternative for protecting Mt. Hood is available. It is development of the plan called for in the Walden-Blumenauer legislative proposal, starting with an acknowledgement of the biological and climatic forces constantly at work on the mountain, and an understanding that lines on a map will not save land or resources from damage. Mt. Hood’s critical role of providing clean and abundant water for more than a million people living in its shadow is a paramount consideration for this plan.

Rather than Wilderness, a hard-nosed plan for the mountain’s future can be built by establishing rules for protecting watershed values, recreation and other uses. This process can be expedited by using the existing congressionally-mandated national forest plan to start. If planning determines a specific need for protection beyond existing environmental protection laws, specific legislation can be written.

To my way of thinking, priority for Mt. Hood management is water; other uses come second. Locking up the land is not the way to save or protect against challenges from people and nature’s forces. To care for the mountain and the people depending upon on it requires management that can adapt to changing climate patterns and increasing public needs. Stretching and bending the intent of the Wilderness Act to “protect” and “save” this land does a disservice to Act and the memory of those who created it.

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