6 Mar 2008, 11:48pm
Federal forest policy Saving Forests
by admin
24 comments

Fiery Doom Planned for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service is planning to incinerate the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in a catastrophic megafire this coming summer.

WE MUST STOP THIS ILLEGAL DESTRUCTION

Now is the time to flood the process with comments in opposition. Get your name in the legal record. There will be a major lawsuit. We need your participation.

THIS IS AN EMERGENCY

Please make your voice heard. Your forest is at stake. Below is the press release from the RR-SNF. Beware the eco-babble and bureaucratic gibberish. Email your comments in opposition to

comments-pacificnorthwest-rogueriver-siskiyou@fs.fed.us

or mail them to Rob Budge, Deputy Fire Staff-Fuels, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, P.O. Box 520, Medford, Oregon, 97501.

DO IT TODAY — THIS IS AN EMERGENCY — SAVE THE ROGUE

Forest Service Seeks Public Comments on Appropriate Management Response [HERE]

Contacts:

Rob Budge, Deputy Fire Staff, Fuels, (541) 858-2434
Patty Burel, Forest Public Affairs Officer, (541) 858-2211

MEDFORD, OR, March 5, 2008 – Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest land managers are seeking public comments regarding a proposal to amend the Forests’ Land and Resource Management Plans to allow for the full range of Appropriate Management Response strategies for the management of wildland fires.

Appropriate Management Response encompasses the spectrum of possible responses to unplanned fires. Aggressive fire suppression actions would take place where private property or natural resources are likely to be damaged and less intense responses could be considered where resource benefits are more likely.

“The goals of Appropriate Management Response are to allow more acres to be affected by fire where we believe it will benefit forest health, obtain desired ecological conditions, and reduce the risk of damage over the long term” said Scott Conroy, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Supervisor.

Appropriate Management Response encompasses a range of possible responses to unplanned fires, from monitoring (watching the fire burn to ensure objectives are being met) to full suppression (putting the fire out). The same fire may have objectives for protecting values and infrastructure as well as for resource benefits.

Land managers evaluate several criteria before deciding on how to respond to a fire. Where resource benefits are part of the management objectives, fire managers establish boundaries and define weather conditions under which the fire will burn.

“Land managers throughout the West have learned over the last forty years that there are ecological benefits of having fire on the landscape as it can provide for a renewal of the Forest. It is a natural cycle of life in a forest,” said Conroy.

Managers would base their response to an unplanned fire on the conditions and situations present at the time of the fire. Part of all of a fire may be managed aggressively where damage to private property, forest developments, or natural resources is likely. Areas where the fire is meeting Forest Plan goals and objectives could be managed less intensively if conditions allow.

Land managers evaluate several criteria before deciding on how to respond to a fire. Where resource benefits are part of the management objectives, fire managers establish boundaries and define weather conditions under which the fire will burn.

Where a fire threatens life, property, or resources, it is suppressed.

In response to all fires, the Forest Service emphasizes firefighter and public safety and recognizes the need to avoid or prevent damage to property or resources.

The agency is seeking public comment on issues to be considered in amending both of the Forests’ Land and Resource Management Plans to allow for the full range of Appropriate Management Responses for the management of wildland fires. Specifically the agency is proposing to amend both documents to:

modify fire management direction for Appropriate Management Response;

provide Standards and Guidelines that are consistent with federal fire policy and direction; and

replace outdated fire terminology and direction in the current Forest Plans.

The agency would like to hear any comments, concerns, ideas, or issues the public may have regarding this Proposed Action by April 4, 2008. The Forest Service would review all input and anticipates publishing an Environmental Assessment in May 2008.

Comments regarding this project may be sent to Rob Budge, Deputy Fire Staff-Fuels, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, P.O. Box 520, Medford, Oregon, 97501; FAX (541) 779-3098 or electronically to comments-pacificnorthwest-rogueriver-siskiyou@fs.fed.us. Please include the name of the project, “Appropriate Management Response” in the subject line. For further information, or questions please contact Rob Budge at phone (541) 858-2434 or by e-mail at rbudge@fs.fed.us.

6 Mar 2008, 11:05pm
Climate and Weather
by admin
2 comments

It Is Not About Climatology — It Is About Freedom

by the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus

From his address to the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, March 4, 2008

What I see in Europe (and the U.S. and other countries as well) is a powerful combination of irresponsibility, of wishful thinking, of implicit believing in some form of Mathusianism, of a cynical approach of those who themselves are sufficiently well off, together with the strong possibility of changing the economic nature of things through a radical political project.

As a politician who personally experienced communist central planning of all kinds of human activities, I feel obliged to bring back the already forgotten arguments used in the famous plan versus market debate in the 1930s in economic theory (between Mises and Hasyek on the one side and Lange and Lerner on the other), the arguments we have been using for decades - till the moment of the fall of communism. Then they were quickly forgotten. The innocence with which the climate alarmists and their fellow travelers in politics and media now present and justify their ambitions to mastermind human society belongs to the same “fatal conceit.” To my great despair, this is not sufficiently challenged neither in the field of social sciences, nor in the field of climatology. Especially the social sciences are suspiciously silent.

We have to restart the discussion about the very nature of government and about the relationship between the individual and society. Now it concerns the whole mankind, not just the citizens of one particular country. To discuss this means to look at the canonically structured theoretical discussion about socialism (or communism) and to learn an uncompromising lesson from the inevitable collapse of communism 18 years ago. It is not about climatology. It is about freedom. This should be the main message of our conference.

These extracts were posted by Joseph D’Aleo, CCM at ICECAP [here]

SOS Forests will post the full text when it becomes available (soon). For more reports regarding the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, see Forest, Fire, and Wildlife News [here]

6 Mar 2008, 4:13pm
Federal forest policy
by admin
1 comment

A Digression on Darwin, Wilderness, and the Balance of Nature

Note: much of this essay is cribbed from an earlier one that appeared on SOS Forests last Equinox, September 21st, 2007.

The debate between evolutionists and creationists has been going on ever since Charles Darwin published his 1859 tome, On the Origin of Species. It has been a rancorous debate, with Monkey Trials, walking fish bumper stickers, and irreconcilable differences that have been erupting for nearly 150 years.

The evolution/creationism debate is often characterized as one with scientists on one side and religious fundamentalists, or Fundies, on the other. The insulting appellation reflects the animosity in the dialog.

There is another, similar debate going on that pits Fundies against Darwinists. It is the debate about Wilderness and the Balance of Nature. The Fundies in this case often describe themselves as Pagan or Atheist Fundamentalists. And many scientists (so-called) have planted themselves squarely in the Pagan Fundie garden.

The Pagan Fundies maintains that Wilderness is the historical and appropriate condition of Nature in Harmony and Balance. This is a matter of religious faith, although modern Paganism is mostly an unofficial religion these days. Modern Pagans believe that God, in the personage of Mother Nature, created and desires a natural world where human beings are absent or a minor, irrelevant species at most, and that Mother Nature seeks balance.

The best science, on the other hand, has revealed that our terrestrial landscapes have been profoundly altered by humanity since our species first evolved in Africa approximately 150,000 years ago. Human beings created vast savannas in Africa via anthropogenic fire. Then about 50,000 year ago humanity migrated eastward through the Indian sub-continent to Southeast Asia and Australia, again altering the vegetation and animal populations along the way.

At some point during the Wisconsin glaciation, no less than 13,500 years ago and possibly before then, human beings migrated to the Americas. The first arrivals swept across the New World (and it really was new then, to people) in a matter of a few centuries. They brought tamed fire with them, and burned landscapes from the sub-Arctic to Tierra del Fuego. They hunted the easy-prey megafauna and drove a few dozen mammalian species to extinction.

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5 Mar 2008, 10:38pm
Saving Forests
by admin
11 comments

Burn, Baby, Burn

I highly recommend that you read Wyoming Attorney Harriet Hageman’s exposition on Clinton’s Roadless Rule [here]. She discusses the origins of the Roadless Rule:

It was developed in the waning days of the Clinton administration to deny access, management and use of, 58.5 million acres of National Forest lands (30% of the National Forests; 2% of the total land mass of the United States; 3.2 million acres in Wyoming). It was adopted following what was arguably the most truncated, superficial and scientifically-devoid NEPA rulemaking in history. The alleged “public process” associated with the Roadless Rule was politically driven rather than scientifically supported…

She discusses how NEPA lawsuits forced a suspension of the Roadless Rule. This is important. The Bush Administration did not suspend the Rule, federal judges did, responding to suits that arose outside the federal government. Bush’s Justice Department defended Clinton’s Rule, but lost in court:

The current dispute is a continuation of the State of Wyoming’s 2001 lawsuit, and stems from Judge Brimmer’s 2003 decision (found at 277 F.Supp.2d 1197 (D.Wyo. 2003)) to enjoin enforcement of the Roadless Rule based on the fact that it violated NEPA and the Wilderness Act.

Despite the injunction, the USFS has continued to uphold the Rule. Tearing out roads continues to take place on every National Forest in the country. The effect of this contempt of court is to decrease fire protection and increase the size of forest fires:

At the time that the Roadless Rule was being considered, the Federal Governmental Accounting Office (GAO) and numerous National Forest Managers warned that, because of its prohibition on treatment and management, the Roadless Rule substantially increased the risk of catastrophic forest fires and devastating insect infestations within the National Forests, as well as within the adjacent State and private lands.

Indeed, the largest forest fires in recorded history have happened since the imposition of the Roadless Rule. A prime example is the 2002 Biscuit Fire in Oregon.

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4 Mar 2008, 7:09pm
Climate and Weather
by admin
2 comments

Global Warming Debate Rages On

Guess what? The debate about global warming is not over. The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change took place March 2-4 in New York City, and 100 global warming skeptics made their case.

Sponsored by the Heartland Institute of Chicago, the 2008 conference included the top names in the skeptics’ circle [here].

It is too early for this reporter to relate what transpired. I am 3,000 miles away and am not wired into the Conference proceedings. Various news outlets have given cursory reports, but none I have found report on the specific talks that were given. Various blogs have spouted off, though, and I see no reason not to do so myself.

The following are my opinions, based on my reading of all the major climatology sites and discussions with experts I know personally. I do not pass off the responsibility, however. This is what I think:

1. Climate change within the Holocene has been a relatively slow process. If the Earth’s temperature has risen 0.5 degrees C in the last 100 years, as is claimed by many, that change is very minor and difficult to separate from statistical error (noise). The very idea that the Earth has a measurable temperature is a rather vague one.

2. Paleoclimatology evidence indicates that we are still in the Ice Ages, albeit in an interglacial hiatus between deep cold periods. Interglacials have been as regular as clockwork for the last 1.6 million years, occurring 16 times at 100,000 year intervals. Each interglacial began with a sudden rise in temperatures and then a slow descent back into glaciation. The warm periods have lasted about 10,000 years, and the cold periods about 90,000 years.

3. The interglacials correspond exactly to Milankovitch Cycles, in particular to the eccentricities in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Our orbit swings from nearly circular to more elliptical and back again in a 100,000 year periodicity. The interglacials correspond to the more circular orbital condition.
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3 Mar 2008, 11:45pm
Saving Forests
by admin
4 comments

The Ironic Warm Fire Recovery Project DEIS

The Warm Fire Recovery Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement notification letter came in the mail today. The Warm Fire (2006) was a whoofoo (Wildland Use Fire) that blew up and burned 60,000 acres of the Kaibab NF, two-thirds of which were old-growth ponderosa pine. You can read about it [here].

The DEIS lists three different “action alternatives” for recovering economic value from the burned timber, reforesting burned conifer stands, and breaking up the fuel continuity in the burned areas. The goal is to “move” the incinerated stands toward the “desired future condition.”

The EPA will soon publish a Notice of Availability (NOA) for the DEIS in the Federal Register. All comments must be received within 45 days of the NOA. Only those persons providing timely comments to the Kaibab NF Supervisor’s Office will have eligibility to appeal the subsequent decision under 36 CFR 215.

No doubt, whatever alternative is chosen, there will be a lawsuit filed.

The irony is that the whoofoo that destroyed the Kaibab NF was planned and carried out with absolutely no EIS, no action alternatives, no public comment, and no NEPA process at all. Destroying the forest, burning it to a crisp, was done with no legal guidance or authority required.

Fixing the mess afterwards does require all those things, and none of the proposed action alternatives will ever occur because “environmental” organizations will sue, and sue, and sue, and sue.
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3 Mar 2008, 6:49pm
Saving Forests
by admin
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Many Benefits to Biomass Plant

from the New Mexico Biomass Blog [here]

Elected Commissioner of Public Lands, Patrick Lyons, just published a powerful op-ed in New Mexico’s largest newspaper, the Albuquerque Journal, wherein he defends the Estancia Biomass Project and concludes that with this project “Everybody wins.” His article—Many Benefits to Biomass Plant—follows:

I applaud Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Secretary Joanna Prukop for granting a tax credit to Western Water and Power Production, which plans to build a $90 million, 35-megawatt biofuel plant on nearly 44,000 acres of state trust lands in Torrance and Socorro counties.

New Mexico’s legislative and executive leaders continue to drive an agenda that calls for utilities to meet renewable portfolio standards. Incentives, credits, exemptions, and mandates are passed, not only to attract new business to the state, but to make green energy sources affordable and readily available to New Mexico families and businesses.

The state Land Office is playing a pivotal role in the development of clean renewable energy supplies, including leasing trust lands for the state’s first large-scale biomass power plant.

In order to restore a natural equilibrium in a region that was once sparse woodlands and savannahs, we must reduce the ecological degradation created by the encroachment of piñon and juniper. Land analysis reveals that there are 250 to 520 trees per acre in the area now leased to Western Water and Power Production. According to staff biologists, the ideal number of trees per acre is 20.

Overgrown forests and rangeland are a direct threat to life and property, wildlife habitat and overall woodland health. For example, last November the Ojo Peak fire in the Manzano Mountains destroyed 7,500 acres and forced the evacuation of about 100 families. Decades of fire suppression, combined with years of drought and insect damage, created a tinderbox.

As a landowner from rural New Mexico, I believe that healthy lands and economic stability are directly related. Western Water and Power has guaranteed up to 150 jobs during the construction phase and 20 to 30 permanent full-time jobs over the lifetime of the facility. The average annual payroll has the potential to exceed over $1 million.

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3 Mar 2008, 6:22pm
Saving Forests
by admin
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Guest View: Biomass Plant May Prevent Fire

By David S. Cohen

from the Mountain View Telegraph, December 6, 2007 [here]

“Mega-fires are torching America as never before, with towering infernos scorching more than 1.5 million acres this year, consuming homes block-by-block, and forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee,” the Chicago Tribune recently reported. “And as numerous large fires barrel over Southern California, experts warn things will likely only get worse, especially across the West.”

Recently, the residents of the East Mountains got a mild taste of what’s to come.

At a time like this, New Mexicans expect forceful and responsible government action, not foot-dragging, in addressing the looming catastrophe. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Sandia District Ranger Cid Morgan recently warned: “Don’t be surprised if we have a large, catastrophic wildfire in the East Mountains.” Given low moisture next year and the great number of dead trees lying at the floor of our overgrown forests, Morgan says “you’re talking explosive conditions, and if we get a fire in there (the Sandias) we will not be able to put it out.”

The Edgewood Independent added more bad news: “… the National Weather Service is now predicting a dry winter and a hot, windy spring— the worst possible conditions for potential wildfires. Add the climate forecasts to the (bug) infestations and you have the makings of a disaster.”

As evidenced by the California fires, the impacts could well be awful: loss of life and property, death of wildlife and habitat, water pollution and enormous plumes of dirty wildfire smoke traveling hundreds of miles, putting human health at grave risk.

Already the Manzano Mountains have suffered. During the Thanksgiving holiday, a fire destroyed 7,500 acres and at least three houses, while 100 families were evacuated from their homes.

So what’s our government’s response?

Important tax credits, which create incentives to clean up forest waste, are being arbitrarily delayed and withheld. The state government, contrary to the direction of the Legislature and the governor, is attempting to deny needed tax incentives on ever-changing, unreasonable and unlawful grounds to biomass projects seeking to clean up the dangerous forest and brush waste, which fuels these wildfires.

This is more than odd. The Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department categorically asserts on its Web site that biomass energy development would reduce the wildfire threat. Yet bureaucrats in this same department would now recklessly make biomass impossible.

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3 Mar 2008, 12:15pm
Saving Forests
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Eco-Terrorists Strike Again

This story was NOT printed in the Missoulian today.

Associated Press [here]

WOODINVILLE, Wash. — The radical environmental group responsible for the 1998 fires at Vail’s Two Elks Lodge apparently has struck again — in the form of fires that gutted three multimillion-dollar show homes north of Seattle.

Crews battled fires early today at the homes in a suburb north of Seattle. A sign connected to the environmental group Earth Liberation Front was found at the scene, officials said.

The sign — with initials E.L.F. — mocked claims the luxury homes on the “Street of Dreams” were environmentally friendly, according to video images of the sign aired by KING-TV.

“Built Green? Nope black!” the sign said.

Who are the arsonists, people? Is it those of us trying to halt the incineration of our forests, landscapes, homes, and communities? Or is it the Far Left eco-terrorist movement?

Make their case. Tell us again how the Sierra Club et al are merely making “political statements” and are not directly responsible for the HATE AMERICA arsonism they so strongly support.

3 Mar 2008, 8:36am
Saving Forests
by admin
5 comments

Eco-Terrorists in Our Midst

The American domestic eco-terrorist network is alive and well, and they present a greater danger to this country than Al-Qaida. Eco-fascism imperils the U.S. vastly more than Islamo-fascism, illegal immigration, and “climate change” combined.

Make no mistake about it. The Far Left espouses an eco-theology more fanatical than any major religion, including Islam. Theirs is not a humanist religion either, but one in which the entire human race is seen as evil and deserving of destruction. Eco-terrorists are not tree-hugging nature lovers despite what their propaganda cloak implies; they seek destruction of nature as well as civilization.

Eco-terrorist organizations in the U.S. today include Earthjustice, Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, the Humane Society of the United States, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands Project, Earth Liberation Front, Animal Liberation Front, Audubon Society, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and hundreds of others. The largest of these are the big, international NGO’s: the Nature Conservancy, the Wilderness Society, Conservation International, the World Wildlife Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and others.

These eco-terrorist organizations are well-funded by large globalist foundations motivated by power, greed, and an endless lust for more. Large capitalist foundations such as the Rockefeller Fund, Pew Trusts, Packard Foundation, and the Ford Foundation that fund eco-terrorism are not acting out of guilt or shame for amassing obscene fortunes; on the contrary they are acting to expand their profits and control over the wealth of the world.

It is global warming alarmism that has quadrupled the price of oil in the last five years, not global warming skepticism. When millions of acres of U.S. public forests burn to the ground every year, globalist multinational timber interests benefit.

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Montana Forest Owners Comment on Fire Hazards

The Montana Forest Landowners Network [here] posted the following comments they received from a survey they undertook in 2006. The comments speak for themselves, and quite eloquently:

Comments received from Aug. ‘06 Action Alert Survey to Family Forest Landowners:

* The State Wildlife management property adjacent to me is a fire hazard that threatens me and all my neighbors.

* The State land School Trust Sec 6 was selectively logged 3 years back. This was a great improvement removing beetle killed lodge pole and improving the remaining stand of larch and doug fir. The forest service land was logged four years back but not up to the boundary 300 to 500 yards buffer remains with very high fire hazard as a result of dead and mature lodge pole. The federal land’s forest is very thick with brush and trees.

* After more than two decades of forest and fuel management on several hundred acres of private property bordering national forest, in 2003 a wildfire, which started on public land (which had undergone NO forest/fuel management) raged into our wildland/urban interface and died out on managed private lands, but only after destroying two homes. If public land is handled in a negligent fashion, to disproportionately tax private landowners to defend themselves against their own government’s mismanagement is just plain wrong!

* The reason that State property fire risk is so high is because they cut trees and left them and because the county sprays weeds in such concentrations that highly flammable cheat grass grows on the slopes or other grasses in the borrow pits that are flammable when dry late in the summer. This is mainly a problem for south-facing slopes, which I have. I don’t have livestock so the grasses and ferns get pretty high. My neighbor to the west has a lot of cleared land that dries up in the summer. The USFS has no access, so they haven’t logged anything. They have lots of bug-killed trees in spots, but the trees are mixed species. We haven’t had a fire since 1910, but that was a big one—hit nearly all of my 65 acres. I am mainly worried about cigarette butt flippers, or vehicle accident fires. We hardly ever have lightning caused fires, except high in the mountains.

* One of the best forestry programs is the old 1960 to 1990 ASCS prune and thin payment program. A landowner could receive a per acre payment to thin the understory and then prune to best leave trees to a height of 18 feet. Yes, thinning put a lot of slash on the forest floor but in a few years it was flat on the ground and not much of a fire hazard. The pruned trees with no branches lower than 18 feet was a reduced fuel ladder. When combined with a logging thin first the fire danger was reduced by a big factor. The problem is cost. First federal funding has been cut or reduced. Second it is a lot of hard work for the landowner. Ten acres is a two to six month project. However, a lot of forest health and production is improved and in two, three years the fire danger is reduced. These are my thoughts on the subject. P.S. My wife & I were MT Tree Farmers of the Year in 1992. John Bowdish.

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29 Feb 2008, 6:44pm
Federal forest policy
by admin
7 comments

The US Forest Service is losing the war

By Allen Schallenberger, Sheridan, Montana

District Rangers in the US Forest Service no longer range and supervise their districts, but instead tunnel through never-ending piles of paperwork in offices and fight huge forest fires. Since 1990 the USFS has lost 2/3 of its employees, including many of the ones who knew how to accomplish things outside on the actual forest. Morale is very low amongst the remaining ones, and many want to retire or find another job.

The forest products industry associated with our US national forests is all but dead. The large loss of skilled employees and a tremendous loss of equipment and milling capacity may be impossible to replace. The USFS — which is supposed to have a multiple-use mandate — has alienated many former supporters by systematically restricting access to public USFS lands and resources.

How did the once proud and efficient Forest Service become people standing in a soup line?

The answer lies with Congress, which has passed many laws restricting wise use; a thicket of Presidential executive orders; budget cuts; radical environmental groups desiring power and control over the land; abuse of the court system by these groups; and finally, apathy on the part of all of us. The original mission of the USFS was to produce water and wood products for domestic use. Over the years the USFS has strayed widely from that mission.

Now our forests are badly overgrown, home to dense tree stands with 10 to 100 times as many trees compared to when the Indians managed the forests years ago. Many trees are dying due to competition for groundwater and thus are impacting stream flows. That currently results in 1/2 of the USFS budget going to the fighting of fires. Hot, catastrophic fires have burned 90 million acres since 1993 in the US. Total cost of these fires is not considered, including costs like trees burned, watersheds damaged, homes, ranches, wildlife, and livestock burned, and streams boiled. The GAO and the USFS only consider the cost to put fires out. They don’t consider that the government is responsible for the other damages.

Make no mistake: the Indians managed our land for at least 10,000 years with relatively small, cool fires they intentionally set, usually in spring and fall. They also felled and used a surprising number of trees. The first white settlers encountered open forests with large trees, savannahs and prairies, abundant water and wildlife, all resulting from Indian management.

The current chief of the USFS is a woman engineer. Promotions within the agency which used to be based on merit now sometimes seem to be based on gender quotas. One of her goals is to increase the burning — with huge, catastrophic fires allowed to burn at the least cost per acre, which is a very poor accounting and management practice.

Recently she came out with an open lands project in which she wants to take over 400 million acres of private lands adjacent to the 193 million acres of USFS lands and stop the development or clear the development from the private lands. One way she would do that is with catastrophic fires burning from USFS lands onto private lands. Also, she wants lots more wilderness where the land is basically unmanaged and unused. And, yes, she would incinerate it with huge, very hot fires called Wildland Use Fires, or whoofoos. Also in the news is that she plans an 8% budget cut, and the USFS workforce will be reduced by another 2,700 workers. Many of them will be people who work on the land. Forest fires are allotted 48% of the budget.

We need to turn around this USFS war and get them moving again on wise management on the ground. Perhaps the best way to do that would be to bring in, as the Forest Service chief, a very smart US combat general with the toughness, political savvy and management foresight to get the USFS back on track. Restoration forestry — as defined by Thomas M. Bonnicksen, PhD, retired forestry professor, in his DVD “Protecting Communities & Saving Forests 2007″ — would be an excellent management guide. This DVD is available free from your local library.

We all must help this new proposed USFS chief get the needed top staff people in key positions. The slackers, the fence riders, and the “can’t do it” types should all leave. Congress must help on this by cutting the red tape load and improving and explaining the budgets with which they’ve burdened the USFS. Radical environmental leaders filing more than one lawsuit every five years against the USFS should find themselves on forestry work gangs learning the value of forest management and hard physical labor.

Reprinted from Agri-News, Tami Jo Arvik Blake, ed., February 22, 2008 [here]

28 Feb 2008, 10:51pm
Introduction
by admin
3 comments

S. 2593 - The Forest Landscape Restoration Act of 2008

Linked below are suggested amendments to S. 2593, the Forest Landscape Restoration Act of 2008 and an explanatory letter. These documents were crafted by members of the Western Institute for Study of the Environment.

Suggested Amendments [here]

Explanatory letter [here]

Your comments and suggestions for submitting this testimony are most welcome. No hearing has been scheduled yet, to my knowledge, but I am far out of the loop. Your help is sincerely requested.

27 Feb 2008, 1:14pm
Federal forest policy
by admin
3 comments

Let Burn Fires Wreak Destruction In Their Paths

Interim Legislative Fire Suppression Committee-Solicited Comment, January 30, 2008

From: Montana State Senator Aubyn Curtiss, SD 1

To: Members & Interested Persons

Lincoln County is my home and apart from times away for schooling at UCLA and a brief time following job opportunity in Alaska, almost all my adult life I have been privileged to live adjacent to the Kootenai National Forest. My husband before his disability retirement, served as fire control officer on the Murphy Lake District on the Kootenai, and because of his dedication to his job, our family life during fire seasons revolved 24 hours a day around fires and fire suppression. Early on we learned that early response determines the size and eventual cost of any fire. That is reality.

In recent years too many fires, because of federal policies, including let burn policies, and locked gates restricting access when fires were small, have been allowed to grow until virtually uncontrollable. I have communicated with some of the committee members before, but want to reiterate and emphasize the fact that Montana needs to re-examine any existing memorandums of understanding with the federal agencies to ascertain that policy differences will no longer contribute to excessive suppression costs. There must be an assumption that liability must be assessed when bad policy decisions of agency personnel allow fires to grow to catastrophic size, increase the costs of suppression and endanger the public.

Before leaving the regular session this year I requested information on the origin of fires and associated costs. I have a report from the fiscal analyst’s office, which though incomplete, indicates that cost of fires originating on federally managed lands in Montana is costing the state millions of dollars annually. In the four year period reported, the chart details costs in excess of 61 million dollars on these

Specific fires, alone. If cost statistics are now available, the committee should examine carefully the cost to Montana of federal “let burn” policy fires which start in wilderness or on federal property and wreak destruction in their paths when burning their way on to private or state owned property.

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27 Feb 2008, 10:43am
Saving Forests
by admin
8 comments

Required Reading

Flames of Dissent: The local spark that ignited an eco-sabotage boom — and bust

STORY BY KERA ABRAHAM. PHOTOS BY KURT JENSEN. The Eugene Weekly, Nov-Dec 2006

In a high-profile sweep that began on Dec. 7, 2005 and continues into the present, the federal government indicted 18 people for a spate of environmentally motivated sabotage crimes committed in the West between 1996 and 2001. No one was physically hurt in the actions, mainly arsons against corporate and government targets perceived to be destroying the planet. Yet the FBI is calling the defendants “eco-terrorists” and seeking particularly stiff sentences for the five remaining non-cooperators, whose trials are pending. Eight defendants have pled guilty, four are fugitives and one committed suicide in jail.

Segments of the American public have glanced at the mug shots inked into newspapers and seen dangerous eco-fanatics who belong behind bars. But here in Eugene, where most of the alleged saboteurs have lived, those faces are familiar to hundreds and dear to many. In recent months, EW spoke with more than a dozen local people who described the accused as compassionate, Earth-loving people, influenced by a time that also shaped Eugene.

Five years after the last act of arson, the so-called Operation Backfire arrests have sparked the national media’s curiosity. That attention, beaming like a headlight through a fog of paranoia, tends to obscure the other regrowth that sprouted from the ashes of Eugene’s eco-radical era.

This five-part series attempts to tell that story.

Part I: In Defense of Cascadia: The Warner Creek campaign [here]

Part II: Eco-Anarchy Rising [here]

Part III: Eco-Anarchy Imploding [here]

Part IV: The Bust [here]

Part V: The Ashes [here]

 
  
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