The Westerman Bill: The Timber Industry’s Dream

The following piece was written by Andy Kerr and is available on his blog here. Kerr describes himself as a “Conservationist, Writer, Analyst, Operative, Agitator, Strategist, Tactitian, Schmoozer, Raconteur.” -mk

The Westerman Bill: The Timber Industry’s Wet Dream
By Andy Kerr

Who wouldn’t want “resilient” (“able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions”) forests? With the name Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017 (H.R.2936, 115th Congress), what could possibly be wrong with this bill?

Everything. Judge neither a book by its cover nor a bill by its name.

Introduced by Representative Bruce Westerman (R-4th-AR), the bill is the timber industry’s wet dream legislation. In only his second term in Congress, Westerman has received more campaign contributions from Big Timber than any other industry.

The Westerman bill would legislate horrifically harmful public forest policy into law. Among its many sins, the Westerman bill would

· gut the National Environmental Policy Act by giving the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) essentially a blank check to just start logging in many places for no reason other than getting out the cut;

· gut the Endangered Species Act by letting the Forest Service and the BLM—not the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service—judge whether federal logging will harm threatened and endangered species;

· gut the Equal Access to Justice Act so citizens and conservation organizations won’t get their costs reimbursed by the federal government for holding the federal government accountable in federal court to follow its own laws (the timber industry could generally still recover fees and costs);

· gut the Roadless Area Conservation Rule to allow wholesale logging in national forest roadless areas;

· gut the Administrative Procedure Act by allowing the federal forest agencies to avoid judicial review for up to 230 lawsuits each year;

· gut judicial review by making Lady Justice put not just her thumb but her butt on the side of the scale favoring Big Timber;

· make it nearly impossible for federal forest agencies to decommission environmentally harmful and fiscally challenging roads;

· gut the National Historic Preservation Act by short-circuiting procedures designed to protect historical resources;

· gut the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act by converting it to a Secure Timber Industry and Community Oppression Act;

· gut the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow children to work in the logging industry;

· gut the National Forest Management Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act by allowing national forest and public lands to be transferred to tribal control; and

· essentially require salvage logging after any disturbance regardless of any ecosystem benefits.

I could go on. And I will.

Most particular to the Pacific Northwest, the bill would abolish the survey-and-manage requirement of the Northwest Forest Plan and repeal the “eastside screens” that have protected large trees on eastside (non-spotted owl) Oregon and Washington national forests.

The Westerman bill would effectively transfer all road rights-of-way on BLM lands in western Oregon to private timber interests.

The Westerman bill would statutorily require that 500 million board feet of logs be sold each year off of the O&C lands. (The 2016 BLM resource management plan says a maximum of 278 million board feet annually could be logged and that’s only if you don’t mind older forest being clear-cut, scenic views being marred, watersheds being fouled, and wildlife being displaced).

Let’s focus in, in particular, on the part of Sec. 913 that says

All of the public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in the Northwest District, Roseburg District, Coos Bay District, Medford District, and the Klamath Resource Area of the Lakeview District in the State of Oregon shall hereafter be managed pursuant to title I of the Act of August 28, 1937 (43 U.S.C. 1181a through 1181e). [emphasis added]

These fifty-seven words would

· exalt the Oregon and California (O&C) Lands Act of 1937 above any and all statutes that came before 1937 (for example, the Antiquities Act of 1906) or after 1937 (such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act);

· convert 400,000 acres of BLM public domain lands in western Oregon—federal public lands that were never granted away or taken back for noncompliance with the terms of the grant—to be O&C lands and managed exclusively for timber production;

· effectively override the two presidential proclamations—issued under authority granted by Congress to the president in the Antiquities Act—that established (2000) and expanded (2017) the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument;

· effectively disestablish the portion of the Wild Rogue Wilderness on BLM land, the Table Rock Wilderness, and the Soda Mountain Wilderness; and

· effectively disestablish the portions of the Sandy, Rogue, Salmon, North Umpqua and Elkhorn Creek wild and scenic rivers on BLM lands, and the Quartzville Creek Wild and Scenic River.

Will the Westerman bill pass the U.S. House of Representatives? Probably, as the Republicans control that body. Representative Greg Walden (R-2nd-OR) is a cosponsor of the Westerman bill, and the bill is expected to easily pass through the House Agriculture Committee. It has already been approved by the House Natural Resources Committee.

A big question is how the four members of Congress from Oregon who are Democrats will vote on the bill. Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-4th-OR), Earl Blumenauer (D-3rd-OR), Kurt Schrader (D-5th-OR), and Susan Bonamici (D-1st-OR) all need to hear from their constituents now. E-mails, phone calls, personal visits to their offices, attending their town hall meetings, and speaking to them while they are out and about in their home district are all appropriate and necessary.

In stark contrast, last Wednesday the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on Senators Ron Wyden’s and Jeff Merkley’s Oregon Wildlands Act of 2017 (S.1548, 115th Congress). The bill would, among other good things, establish the Rogue Canyon and Molalla national recreation areas, expand the Wild Rogue Wilderness, establish the Devils Staircase Wilderness, expand the lower Rogue Wild and Scenic River, establish the Franklin Creek, Wasson Creek, Molalla, Nestucca, Walker Creek, North Fork Silver Creek, Jenny Creek, Spring Creek, Lobster Creek, and Elk Creek wild and scenic rivers—all entirely or mostly on BLM lands in western Oregon and mostly O&C BLM lands at that.

Big Timber has long had the goal of exalting the O&C Lands Act of 1937 to override any and all other federal law—making it a combination the 11th Commandment and the 28th Amendment, if you will.

The battle for the heart and soul of low-elevation older (mature and old-growth) forest in western Oregon is joined. The timber industry has not been successful in court; will it be successful in Congress?

I am reminded of the words of that great environmentalist Thomas Paine, who said (now I’m recalling this from memory so it may not be exactly how Tom said it):

These are the times that try people’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their planet; but s/he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man, woman, descendant, forest, watershed, viewshed, and wildlife.

Big Timber, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

80 Comments

  1. I don’t know Andy but his rhetoric seems a bit over the top. Not to speak of crude.
    For those who want to hear some other thoughts I found these including Jim Furnish’s.https://naturalresources.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=402130. Don’t know how much the bill has changed since then.

    Here’s what Jim Neimann had to say:
    “We are particularly pleased to see a new, pilot arbitration program proposed in Title III.
    The Forest Service has worked with an administrative objection process since 2011, which
    became the standard administrative review process for all Forest Service projects in 2014.
    Experimenting with alternative dispute resolution – particularly one designed to bring
    parties to the table with pro-active alternatives – is definitely in order. We hope we can
    work with you to retain these important provisions.”

    I think this is a good idea.. does anyone know what the details of this are and whether they are still in the bill?

    • Anyone is welcome to read the text of the bill right here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2936/text

      Also, thanks Sharon for pointing out Jim Furnish’s testimony at the hearing.

      In case anyone was wondering, like Andy Kerr, Jim Furnish is very much opposed to H.R. 2936.

      In fact, according to the very conservative Washington Times:

      At a June 15 hearing, former Forest Service deputy chief Jim Furnish blasted the bill in his testimony, saying it set up a “false choice between commerce and our environment” and calling the view that regulations have increased fire danger “simplistic and incorrect.”

      And, according to Andy Stahl’s FSEEE (Forest Service Employees for Environmental Responsibility) in an article titled “Bill Would Roll Back Environmental Rules on Logging Projects:”

      “Jim Furnish, former deputy chief of the Forest Service, was the lone witness to testify against the bill at this morning’s hearing. ‘Speaking bluntly, the bill before you seeks to enact legislation that is an affront to well-entrenched pillars of our democracy,’ Furnish said.”

    • The Forest Service wants to keep dispute resolution “in house” because they often lose when an actual independent third-party reviews their shenanigans.

      The FS benefits from accountability, because when they are not accountable they drift too far from the public will and end up getting bit in the ass hard. (See spotted owl)

        • Hi Chris. Should we go back and remove all the un-civil comments on this blog over the years? And yes, I’m pretty sure my mom has heard the term/phrase ‘wet dream’ before. Once again, do you have any specific comments about the substance of the bill Andy is commenting on? I removed the word ‘wet’ so perhaps you have nothing left to say.

          • Your Organizations Comment Policy

            “This is a moderated blog. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other with respect. We will not post comments that contain vulgar or abusive language”

            When I see such a vulgar tittle I find it hard to trust what follows.

            • Give it a rest dude. Like I said, I removed the word wet. You must have lots of time on your hands to be the moderation cop on a blog you’re not even the moderator for. And this is not my organization. If you have any substantive feedback on H.R.2936 let’s here it. Otherwise…

              • I appreciate your humorous spin Andy

                My underlying point is about having civil discourse… a rare item in these days. Those that start with vulgar statements do nothing to promote a rational discussion.

                My last words on this.

              • I’m with Chris on this one, in terms of needless vulgarity. But that’s what Andy Kerr titled it.
                I personally would not have approved it if one of our own had said it. As to headlines, I had one of my own pieces headlines “vulgarized” by the editor of a magazine- it seems to be a common thing nowadays. I think it’s all related to more clicks. More heat less light IMHO.

        • 2nd- it’s interesting that you should say that because when the FS had independent auditors reviewing their actions on the ground when they were experimenting with EMS’s, the law professors didn’t like it at all. It seems that accountability through transparent independent audits of projects are bad, but accountability through courts are good?

          But the actual text of the legislation is not “in-house” that I can tell, and that is worthy of its own post.

  2. Money talks like never before. The republicans of this admin would sell their mothers if the price is right. How could any human on this planet think this bill is worthy of so much as casual conversation? This bill sets aside every safeguard that has been fought for for the past century…for what? The almighty dollar. When the dollars have been spent, let’s take a look around at the legacy of this administration and these people who have participated. All I can see is shame. RESIST THIS MADNESS

  3. Eco-lawyers will be licking their chops, on this one, if it passes (which I expect it will, eventually, in some form). It doesn’t really address timber project funding, expertise or workforce problems, so, implementation will be problematic, even if it does get past the courts. There is good, and not-so-good in the bill. There is a bunch of stuff I would remove but, I would keep the rest.

    Maybe an important question to ask is; Should the Forest Service shift gears, even though they know that maximum timber production isn’t the right path?

  4. As recreation areas close, structures crumble, roads and trails deteriorate, rangelands decline, and smoke darkens western skies, our national forests face a crisis. Perhaps most significantly, the forests’ signature resource, timber, is dying from neglect. The hundreds of millions of dead trees that now characterize our western national forests give silent testimony to this fact.

    As unmanaged, aging, over-dense, and unhealthy timber stands have become more vulnerable to drought, fire insects and disease, the volume of dead trees has steadily increased. During the last decade, in response to climatic stress, this loss has escalated. On our national forests today, 67% of the annual growth dies while 8% of the growth is harvested.

    These numbers do not reveal the economic and social effects of non-management: jobs lost, workers idled, families disrupted, communities dying, and local governments and schools struggling to survive. For the past several months I’ve been working on a paper for the SAF/USFS proposed book “173 Million Acres”. In that effort I have gathered a formidable array of statistics from all Forest Service regions, scores of counties and dozens of forests relating to national forest’s growth, mortality and harvesting, timber management intensity, national forest acreage as a percentage of county land area and poverty level of forest-dependent counties. It is with great assurance that I make the statement that at least 95% of national forest counties have poverty levels well above the national average of 13.5% as calculated by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Some forests are harvesting as little as 2 or 3% of the annual growth while their counties are experiencing poverty rates of 35 to 45%.

    Forest Service inability to manage may not be the principal cause of all national forest community poverty. However, it is a contributing cause in all cases, and is a major cause in parts of the west, the southeast, Appalachia, and elsewhere where national forests make up a significant part of the county’s area. Under the existing constraints, the U.S. Forest Service cannot and does not fulfill its obligation to “Care for the land and serve the people”.

    Observers have cited many causes as contributing to this systemic management failure, including:
    • under-funding
    • over-regulation (a tangle of shifting, restrictive, unclear, and often conflicting laws, regulations, executive orders, written and unwritten policies, and judicial mandates)
    • serial litigation, engendered by this regulatory maze.
    • Congressional dysfunction.
    • over-planning and analysis
    • agency politicization
    • centralization of decision making
    • ignorance of or disregard for local conditions and local needs
    • consolidation of forests and ranger districts
    • fund diversion to fire control
    • lack of leadership
    • Canadian lumber imports
    • housing market collapse

    The Resilient Forest Act of 2017 HR 2936 now being considered by congress addresses many of the issues. As evidenced by the comments on this website, there is strong opposition to this bill. Environmental activists will label it as a timber grab by the rapacious forest industry; timber theft on a grand scale that will result in massive clearcuts, degraded ecosystems, mono-culture biological deserts, endangered species extinction, old-growth extirpation, cultural and esthetic heritage abandonment- and much more!

    You will note that, while condemning the bill, opponents offer no alternatives as solutions to the problems. Some go so far as to deny that there are problems and that we “MUST RESIST THIS MADNESS”, apparently by opposing change and maintaining the status quo as described in the above bullets.

    I have read and re-read this bill. In my opinion the bill, while not perfect, is a giant step toward improved, people-sensitive management of our national forests. It will strengthen the health and resiliency of the forests, better the welfare of the millions of citizens who live within and adjacent to their boundaries, and ensure our public lands’ lasting benefits to those who will use them in the future.

    Can it be improved? Of course. Does it contain many urgently needed provisions for change? Absolutely.

    Read again the 2nd and 3rd paragraph of this commentary. Careful evaluation of the bill demands consideration of the many impacts that would continue to occur and intensify should Congress reject this bill in its entirety. H.R. 2936 deserves that thoughtful consideration, your constructive comments, and, should you disagree with the bill’s provisions, your alternative solutions.

  5. Mac great review of the bill, although a few of the stats are optimistic. Currently there are forests that have actual harvest less than 1% of their annual growth. (And supervisors that are satisfied with that)
    The bill is extreme, but in response to the extremism that has been destroying the forests for 25 years, it’s much needed. There are a few tweaks that will probably be done before final vote. My bet is the existing wild & scenic rivers will remain, but the newest proposed wild & scenic corridors and expansions may not.
    Hopefully the abuse of the antiquities act is reined in and the most recent reallocations are reversed.
    There is smoke filling SW Oregon and it will probably be here for the next several months, an annual sign of our current management practices.
    There truly should be a middle ground from management styles of the early 1900’s and almost complete lack of management today, but when the timber industry sat down to discuss the NWFP and went towards the middle ground, the environmental community simply moved the starting point to the left. That method of compromise hasn’t changed. Now the results and proof are on the ground and in the communities. Rhetoric only goes so far, continuing the fear mongering like Kerr and many others are doing probably does more to provide support for bills like this, especially as the pendulum swings back the other direction.
    It’s pretty easy to see what actually results from lack of management. Lots of people who use to enjoy the National Forests by taking Sunday drives, hunting, hiking and general recreation that utilized sites and roads funded by the results of timber dollars are losing that opportunity. Their tax dollars are getting consumed by fire, just as the forests are. More people are paying attention to comments on social media, then seeing the facts on the ground, and the smoke in the sky. They can actually see what is true and aren’t concerned with “scientific” facts that don’t align with what they see. Even those previously disconnected from the forests are beginning to connect the poor air quality, continual requests for fire funding, and the visual wall of brush on their drives between cities.
    Personally, I promote articles from Kerr and others like him.

    • For whatever it’s worth…While Mac is certainly entitled to his own opinions, the opinions he expresses above really don’t equate to a ‘review of the bill.”

      Seems like Andy Kerr did provide a review of the bill, based on the actual text, and found that the Bill would:

      The Westerman bill would legislate horrifically harmful public forest policy into law. Among its many sins, the Westerman bill would

      · gut the National Environmental Policy Act by giving the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) essentially a blank check to just start logging in many places for no reason other than getting out the cut;

      · gut the Endangered Species Act by letting the Forest Service and the BLM—not the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service—judge whether federal logging will harm threatened and endangered species;

      · gut the Equal Access to Justice Act so citizens and conservation organizations won’t get their costs reimbursed by the federal government for holding the federal government accountable in federal court to follow its own laws (the timber industry could generally still recover fees and costs);

      · gut the Roadless Area Conservation Rule to allow wholesale logging in national forest roadless areas;

      · gut the Administrative Procedure Act by allowing the federal forest agencies to avoid judicial review for up to 230 lawsuits each year;

      · gut judicial review by making Lady Justice put not just her thumb but her butt on the side of the scale favoring Big Timber;

      · make it nearly impossible for federal forest agencies to decommission environmentally harmful and fiscally challenging roads;

      · gut the National Historic Preservation Act by short-circuiting procedures designed to protect historical resources;

      · gut the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act by converting it to a Secure Timber Industry and Community Oppression Act;

      · gut the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow children to work in the logging industry;

      · gut the National Forest Management Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act by allowing national forest and public lands to be transferred to tribal control; and

      · essentially require salvage logging after any disturbance regardless of any ecosystem benefits.

      Furthermore, Andy Kerr found that the 57 words in Sec 918 of the bill would:

      · exalt the Oregon and California (O&C) Lands Act of 1937 above any and all statutes that came before 1937 (for example, the Antiquities Act of 1906) or after 1937 (such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act);

      · convert 400,000 acres of BLM public domain lands in western Oregon—federal public lands that were never granted away or taken back for noncompliance with the terms of the grant—to be O&C lands and managed exclusively for timber production;

      · effectively override the two presidential proclamations—issued under authority granted by Congress to the president in the Antiquities Act—that established (2000) and expanded (2017) the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument;

      · effectively disestablish the portion of the Wild Rogue Wilderness on BLM land, the Table Rock Wilderness, and the Soda Mountain Wilderness; and

      · effectively disestablish the portions of the Sandy, Rogue, Salmon, North Umpqua and Elkhorn Creek wild and scenic rivers on BLM lands, and the Quartzville Creek Wild and Scenic River.

      What’s Mac’s response to those substantive and policy-related concerns to the bill? Is Andy lying? Making stuff up? Mistaken? Let’s hear it.

      I have a feeling that Jim Furnish shares many of Andy Kerr’s concerns too.

      Finally, regarding Mac’s statement, “You will note that, while condemning the bill, opponents offer no alternatives as solutions to the problems.”

      Of course, that’s entirely not true, but whatever. Perhaps you just don’t like our proposed solutions, just like many of us don’t like Mac’s ‘solutions.’

      Anyway, I took I stab here, with my comments in [brackets].

      • under-funding [Enviros have long called for increased funding to federal land management agencies for things like trail work, road work, habitat restoration, etc. Maybe Mac hasn’t noticed.]

      • over-regulation (a tangle of shifting, restrictive, unclear, and often conflicting laws, regulations, executive orders, written and unwritten policies, and judicial mandates) [As Andy Stahl has pointed out here a few times, please tell us what federal laws are conflicting and unclear?]

      • serial litigation, engendered by this regulatory maze. [USFS/BLM, etc gets sued by lots of folks, not just enviros. Enviro lawsuits get all the news from some quarters, but ‘serial litigation’ it is not. Maybe USFS/BLM should follow the law? Maybe industry groups should stop suing to overturn laws they don’t like?]

      • Congressional dysfunction [Plenty of enviros have been talking about this for decades]

      • over-planning and analysis [One person’s over-planning and analysis is another person’s due diligence.]

      • agency politicization [Yes, please blame enviros for this.]

      • centralization of decision making [Again, not sure why enviros need to solve this, or what they can do about it. These are federal public lands.]

      • ignorance of or disregard for local conditions and local needs [One could say that plenty of resource extraction corporations have a disregard for local needs.]

      • consolidation of forests and ranger districts [Blame GOP and “Contract On America” not enviros.]

      • fund diversion to fire control [Blame the Fire Industry Complex, housing developers, etc… not enviros]

      • lack of leadership [Sure, fine. Solution? More leadership.]

      • Canadian lumber imports [Many enviros were anti-NAFTA and have tried to fight imports from Canada. U.S. Timber Industry was too busy blaming enviros and calling for more public lands logging and less regs in U.S. National Forests to notice I guess].

      • housing market collapse [Enviros warned you all for decades that this was coming down the pipe. Did the timber industry in the U.S. say one peep? Nope.]

        • Hi Larry. Just to be clear I hope your comments are directed at Andy Kerr and not me. Why? Because none of those words are mine.

          Oh, and I suspect that the civility cop Chris Cadwell will come after you for your comment, right?

          Anyway, earlier in this thread Larry did say the bill “doesn’t really address timber project funding, expertise or workforce problems, so, implementation will be problematic, even if it does get past the courts. There is good, and not-so-good in the bill. There is a bunch of stuff I would remove but, I would keep the rest.”

          Would like to know more details. Andy Kerr shared his, let’s see yours.

  6. And the forests burns. Probably more trees have gone up in smoke in the last week then have been harvested in last 10 years on our pubic lands. Are we just going to keep doing the same thing over and over? The fire fighting people haven’t changed a thing. It’s basically let it burn and then burn some more when it is basically to big to control.
    Andy’s comments sound like out forests will be destroyed if a bill like this went through. Well our forests are all ready being destroyed and becoming major contributors to global warming.

  7. My final comment on the Westerman Bill (??).

    Just for fun, let’s assume that all the causes bulleted in my comment are invalid or are not the concern of, and certainly not the fault of, enviros . The fact remains that the conditions listed in the first 3 paragraphs of my post are real problems that demand a solution. Matt, I don’t believe that you contend that the the national forest timber resource is well managed, that mega-fires and beetles epidemics are “fake news”, that millions of trees are not dying, or that national forest counties’ economies are booming? If, indeed, you agree that these condition do exist then you agree that there is a problem, or more accurately, a complex set of problems.

    HR 2936 is attempt to solve these problems. While the bill may be flawed and over-reaching, it recognizes change is needed and proposes specific actions to bring about that change. It is easy to oppose an action (repeal and replace the ACA) but hard to formulate a workable alternative to that action. You oppose the bill, specifically Sec. 918, thereby supporting the status quo, but I hear no alternatives. The problems remain and will continue and multiply without action. What say you to joining with other interests in correcting the bill’s weaknesses and working towards its passage in hope of a bettering what is now an intolerable situation?

      • Steve- maybe that’s a problem is that some of us think things are fine and others do not. But if we don’t agree on what’s wrong, we’re unlikely to agree on solutions. I’m up for posting guest posts on “what they think is wrong and how it could be fixed” with specific examples..lots of times we end up lost in seas of abstractions..

    • Hi Mac. I disagree which much of what you claim to be problems in our forests. While some of the things you pose as solutions, I do consider a problem.

      I don’t know what a ‘mega-fire’ is and personally I don’t see wildfire burning in grasslands, brush or forested landscapes to be the huge problem that you and others clearly believe it to be. The same can be said of bark beetles, and some of the recent epidemics. For whatever it’s worth, I also don’t see “people clamoring for ‘larger and more intense wildfires'” as Larry claims. But then again, I think that’s just another one of Larry’s made up claims that he makes on this blog regularly.

      Over the past 15 years, going all the way back into the administration of Bush II, the executive branch and Congress have signed and passed a lot of bill and orders to give the U.S. Forest Service and other federal land management agencies broad new authorities to cut more trees. For example, how many different types of CE’s have been put into place to facilitate logging in the past 15 years? Perhaps as many as 10. The Farm Bill that passed a few years ago resulted in the USFS having the authority to ‘fast-track’ logging on over 42 million acres of National Forest lands. These are just some examples.

      I disagree that any more ‘tools’ or laws are needed to facilitate logging of our National Forests. The main problem, as most everyone in the USFS seems to agree (at least in private), is a lack of funding from Congress for the staff and resources needed to pull off all the logging that people like Mac and Westerman apparently dream of. If your goal is more logging, why not march up to Congress and demand more funding for all that ‘fast-track’ logging on the 42 million acres already available for logging ‘categorically excluded from the requirements of NEPA?’ I suspect that once all those 42 million acres are logged, that everyone participating in this blog, including myself, will be dead…because that’s how long it would take to pull it off.

      But if you think for one second that I’m going to work hand-in-hand with a Congress and an administration that seems entirely intent on destroying this country, its people, the environment and our public lands legacy, you are mistaken.

      Again, the “workable alternative” you seek is literally right before your very eyes, but just really needs more funding and resources. If you want to keep passing laws that gut and undermine our nation’s key environmental, public participation and wildlife laws…go for it, I guess. Like I said, we will fight you all on that and even if we lose, without a huge amount of cash thrown to increasing industrial logging on National Forests, I suspect the cut levels will never reach your dream (wet or otherwise) level.

        • Calm down Larry. You have a well-documented history of making stuff up on this blog.

          Please give me evidence of where Dr. Chad Hanson is supposedly “clamoring for larger and more intense wildfires?”

          Can you also provide evidence that Dr. Hanson has “sued for huge profits?” You should be able to document this, if it’s a fact, right?

          • $175,000 is a nice chunk of change for minimal work, on just ONE of his litigations. Yes, I would call that a huge profit. Hanson consistently says that Sierra Nevada forests need larger and more intense wildfires. It is one of his core concepts.

            Here’s a fresh doozie from the Chadster: “When the logging industry says ‘thinning’, they are really talking about intensive commercial logging projects that would destroy the giant sequoia forest ecosystems and associated forests in the monument,” Hanson says.

            Again, fake statements seem to dominate the “Resist”ance, these days. Remember, Hanson’s ultimate goal is to end all commercial logging, everywhere!

            • Hi Larry. Can you provide more details about the supposed $175,000, please? Like what was the name and date of lawsuit? How do you know there was a minimal amount of work? All EAJA fee requests follow simple rules and protocols regarding hourly rate for work, etc. Are you saying that Dr. Hanson stole money from the government? Did the money go directly to Dr. Hanson? I wasn’t aware that he was still a practicing attorney. Perhaps you should contact the U.S. Dept of Justice and ask Sessions to open an investigation in Dr. Hanson?

              I agree that “When the logging industry says ‘thinning’, they are really talking about intensive commercial logging projects…” But whatever really. Any regular blog follower is well aware of your incessant, and often childish, attacks on Dr. Hanson.

              • We already looked it up. From the Power Fire salvage project. Luckily, Hanson has been running into tough luck pushing his ‘owls need dead forests’ strategy. Let’s hope that trend continues.

                Hanson is claiming that the Forest Service will bring “intensive commercial logging” to sequoia groves. He is playing upon people’s emotion with things that just aren’t happening, or going to happen. No one is proposing to log Giant Sequoias, or within the groves, or within the planned ample buffers, which would all stay within the Monument. It is the Eco-Extraction Industry which is removing money from people’s pockets, using fake news.

                From my actual experience within the boundaries, I can verify that the protections that would be in place if those 200,000 acres were to revert back to the Sequoia National Forest. The Sierra Clubbers insist that clearcutting, old growth harvesting, strip mining, fracking, oil drilling and sales of Federal lands would occur if National Monument protections are gone. They also propose that the Sequoias would be exported, or burned for power. Their followers also think that Trump is just “destroying America”, for fun and profit.

                THAT is not how you fight against such a regime. It’s like signing a useless online petition, qualifying you for a cloudburst of spam for donations, without doing a damn thing for the environment.

                Yes, some people are getting so incredibly desperate. They seem to want the Sierra Club’s message to be true…. just so it can support their political narrative. (BTW, I did not vote for Trump… I voted for the lesser of four evils, and not just the standard two!)

                • Hi Larry,

                  The Power Fire happened in 2004, 13 years ago.

                  The lawsuit that John Muir Project and the Center for Biological Diversity filed against the Power Fire Salvage Project was decided in March 2006, more than 11 years ago.

                  I can’t find anything about $175,000 in EAJA payments. Can you please provide documentation of that? Since the Center was a co-litigant, I seriously doubt that $175,000 went to Hanson.

                  Do you have anything more recent than something that took place 11-13 years ago?

                  • Also, it’s probably worth remembering the origins of the Power Fire….. (This info was posted on this blog in Feb 2014)

                    Utility Company Pays $50 Million for Causing Fires in National Forests

                    http://www.allgov.com/news/where-is-the-money-going/utility-company-pays-50-million-dollars-for-causing-fires-in-national-forests-130611?news=850257

                    Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and its contractors have agreed to pay more than $50 million for causing two wildfires last decade that burned thousands of acres of national forest land in California.

                    In 2004, about 13,000 acres were consumed in the Power Fire in the Eldorado National Forest, east of Sacramento, which began after a crew of workers were careless with their cigarettes in a heavily wooded area with extreme hazardous fire conditions. The workers were employed by VCS Sub Inc., which PG&E had hired to trim trees and brush around a utility distribution line.

                    ——————-

                  • Oh, dear! He can’t ‘follow the money’. Keep searching, Grasshopper, keep searching. Sorry that the truth makes you so uncomfortable, defender of devastation and supporter of lies. Remember, Hanson and his folks wrongly claimed that there was clearcutting in the USFS salvage efforts in the Rim Fire. It it WERE true, he would surely have brought it to court, for an injunction but, no, he was lying. AND, I proved him very, very wrong, in just a few minutes of looking on Google Maps. Yep, hard to find good help, these days, when your false ends seems to justify the means of lying to the public. I’m not your trained lap dog so, you’ll have to dig for your own damn proof. We always see this, during the summer with Matt. He craves the thrill of killing, which may, or may not satisfy his bloodlust, here in the blog. Let’s hope hunting season comes early this year.

                    (Yep, tired of the insults, Matt, but if you want to battle, I can deliver more)

                    • Grow up Larry. What? Are you going to quite the blog again? And is that a threat that you can insult people more? Wow, such a strong man you are. All you have are lies, insults and an seemingly un-heathy obsession with Chad Hanson, who would mop the floor with you in a debate.

                    • I forgive your angst in these difficult times, Matt. To see the litigation industry in such danger must be awful, just so awful. I doubt you can move to Oakland and work for the Sierra Club. You probably couldn’t afford the rent. I have to keep repeating the truth about Hanson. Thankfully, it looks like his heyday is finally over with. As Greg was saying, the pendulum is swinging. It sure has a lot of momentum. Hmmmm, maybe the Democrats should have voted for that Forestry Bill, back in December, after all, eh? Don’t worry about that thorn in your side, Matt. It has some lovely barbs that ‘naturally’ hold it there. If you would let Hanson defend his ‘stuff’ here, maybe he could convince us that firestorms are just so very peachy, like unicorn farts.

                    • Again, please grow up Larry. I hope Sharon chimes in because it’s quite apparent that you’re going off the deep end and way off the charts of civility here. Jeez, I miss earlier in the week when the big problem was using the word “wet dream.” Maybe it’s time for you to quit the blog again. And why would I want to move to Oakland? I’m more of a Village/rural person than an urbanite.

                      P.S. What’s so bizarre is that Larry has said himself, earlier in this same thread, that he thinks the Westerman bill has a bunch of terrible stuff in it and that the bill would have lawyers licking their chops. Larry’s original comment is below. But, as we can all see, if you mention Chad Hanson, Larry Harrell gets pretty fired up.

                      “Eco-lawyers will be licking their chops, on this one, if it passes (which I expect it will, eventually, in some form). It doesn’t really address timber project funding, expertise or workforce problems, so, implementation will be problematic, even if it does get past the courts. There is good, and not-so-good in the bill. There is a bunch of stuff I would remove but, I would keep the rest.”

        • Chapter 2 of Hanson and Dellasala’s book, Nature’s Phoenix: The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires, is entitled “Ecological and Biodiversity Benefits of Mega-Fires.”

              • I point out Hanson’s beliefs and failure and you attack me. THAT is your pattern. Just because I choose not to jump through your hoops doesn’t mean my point isn’t true. Most of what I present is about my observations and “anecdotal evidence” but, since there are no longterm studies on what I comment on, that’s better than the faith-based beliefs of Gaia worshipers. Regarding Hanson, I like to keep our new viewers educated about the real obstacles to more resilient forests. Narrow-minded preservationists fear and attack my middle-of-the-road viewpoints but, yeah, it’s not convincing the public to love wildfires and hate thinning. In fact, the “Whatever Happens” mindset is becoming very similar to the Chemtrails debate, complete with conspiracy theories and elaborate false storylines. That part of it is quite amusing but, is a bigger symptom of the ‘Resist’ance. I do see some eco-groups holding firmly on to their integrity, and planning a viable strategy. And some see their future legal livelihoods being marginalized right before their eyes. I guess some angst should be expected when some eco-groups aren’t able to sue, “for fun and profit”.

              • Matthew

                I’d be interested in knowing what you have to say about Steve’s comment above that states: “Chapter 2 of Hanson and Dellasala’s book, Nature’s Phoenix: The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires, is entitled “Ecological and Biodiversity Benefits of Mega-Fires.”” – my italics

                • Hi Gil, I think you are really interested in a ‘gotcha’ moment.

                  However, above, I simply stated “I don’t know what a ‘mega-fire’ is….”

                  To which, Steve replied: “Chapter 2 of Hanson and Dellasala’s book, Nature’s Phoenix: The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires, is entitled “Ecological and Biodiversity Benefits of Mega-Fires.”

                  Great, that’s cool. But I haven’t read the book so I’m not sure what I’d say about the book, or chapter two. I do know that plenty of scientists and researchers are speaking out about the ecological value of severely burned landscapes, especially those fire-adapted landscapes that historically (and occasionally) burned at a high severity.

                  I do notice that Chapter 2 of Dr. DellaSala and Dr. Hanson’s opens with an explanation of “Just What Are Megafires?”….So I guess I’ll add their book to my reading list. Thanks.

  8. While there may be 42 million acres included in the CE’s, it is obvious that the CE’s aren’t being used. Example- Tiller Ranger District, Umpqua National Forest – Stouts Fire. Less than 1mmbf of decked logs were salvaged. A CE for road side salvage could have salvaged 2-3mmbf of trees cut for fire breaks and dead hazard trees with no equipment leaving existing roads. Additional volume salvaged 0. The same fire could have utilized a CE to salvage 250 acres non road side, acres salvaged 0. This is the typical response from many rangers and accepted by Forest Supervisors. Rogue Siskiyou is also very reluctant to utilize CE’s, Same situation can be found on BLM managed lands. Fire salvage done two or three years out, is as good as not being done at all in most cases.
    There are thousands of acres of timber Throughout the west that are overgrown and laiden with dead trees which have consistently resulted in high intensity catastrophic wildfires. These fires aren’t of “natural” intensity and destroy the very NSO and other critical habitat that has been protected for the last quarter century. KS Wild, Cascadia Forest Defenders, EPIC and several others continually promote letting fires burn to restore the landscape, yet fight commercial harvesting that could also restore the landscape with less destruction. The typical response is much similar to Mathew’s “show me the documents, the date, the time…….”. How about just getting out and looking at the actual landscape, show me the “total destruction” from harvesting in the last 25 years on public land that these groups suggest is happening or will happen if these regulations are “gutted”. Which rule reversal will result in this destruction? Burden of proof goes both ways. Fortunately, the general public, with the help of social media is getting a better understanding of the consequences of following an agenda preached by environmentalists and infiltrated into the agencies by groups like FSEEE and carried out by those who have moved into administrative positions over the last 20 years.

    • “While there may be 42 million acres included in the CE’s, it is obvious that the CE’s aren’t being used.”

      Hi Forester 353,

      I doubled checked and actually it’s 46,700,000 (46.7 million) acres of the U.S. Forest Service’s 193 million acres of land that is available for logging right now under the 2014 Farm Bill Categorical Exclusion authority.

      I agree with you that “CE’s aren’t being used.”

      But why is that? CE’s have no objection or appeals process. They can be quickly ‘fast-tracked’ and pushed out the door.

      The #1 reason (which I mention repeatedly, but nobody who clamors for more logging seems to want to talk about) is a total lack of resources and funding from Congress.

      • Matthew, CE’s aren’t being used for a variety of reasons.. some of caution (necessary or unnecessary). I think someone did a study of “why not” and there was a bit of NEPA practitioner conservatism plus wary OGC folk. Does anyone remember such a study?

      • Matt
        In the areas I have mentioned, the supervisor in one case didn’t want to upset the environmental community “by circumventing the system”, in another case the District Ranger had no desire to harvest, and has shown no initiative as long as they have been the Ranger, more often than not refusing to aggressively suppress fires or salvage any meaningful amount from them. The Supervisor of that Forest has shown no intention of changing this practice.

        • Hi Forester 353,

          Here are some of my thoughts to what you said above.

          “the supervisor in one case didn’t want to upset the environmental community ‘by circumventing the system'”

          Ok, assuming this is true, what is preventing the supervisor from doing an EA or an EIS? In my opinion, the same problem I keep bringing up…a lack of resources and a lack of funding from Congress.

          Also, perhaps the Supervisor is acknowledging and/or admitting that the Farm Bill CE authorities circumvent the system.

          And how about the Westerman Bill? If this supervisor doesn’t want to use the Farm Bill CE authority because they don’t want to upset the enviro community, it’s pretty likely this same supervisor wouldn’t want to implement projects under the Westerman Bill, since that bill circumvents the system far more than even CEs.

          Regarding your statement ” in another case the District Ranger had no desire to harvest, and has shown no initiative as long as they have been the Ranger.”

          Can you please tell us what District Ranger and National Forest this is? If not, and if what you say about this District Ranger is true, that’s certainly not any fault of the enviro community.

          • Matt
            The statement regarding the supervisor not wanting to upset the environmental community was his words, not mine. The supervisor was on the Rogue Siskiyou NF, regarding using a CE for roadside fire salvage. The issue with doing an EA is when challenged Judge Aiken will not even hear a case without an EIS, please review recent challenges and decisions if in question. As everyone is aware, an EIS is time consuming, often requiring at least two seasons to finalize. The bug population in Southern Oregon/Northern California is at a level where infestation is occurring within weeks after a fire, by month 18 the recovery has dropped to 30-40% on merchantable logs. This can be verified by looking at net vs. gross recovery on the Douglas Complex, Stouts Fire, Klamath Complex. I venture to say that part of the game is to hold up salvage long enough to make it uneconomical, then declare that the industry must not need the wood because 2year old salvage doesn’t sell.
            The Ranger District is Tiller on the Umpqua NF. While researching check the PSQ vs. actual sold vs. actual awarded.

            • Hi Forester 353,

              Thanks for the additional info.

              Yes, I knew the supervisor’s statement was from the supervisor, not you. Sorry if there was any confusion about that.

              Also, sounds like a U.S. Federal District Court Judge Aiken has issues with EA’s being used for some types of timber sales. Perhaps she has good reasons for that. I’m also not sure but sounds like your comments are related to just post-fire logging.

                  • I found three reported cases where Judge Aiken upheld a federal land management agency’s decision based on an EA and FONSI: Bark v. Northrop, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39284 (D. Or. Mar. 25, 2016); Lindberg v. United States Forest Serv., 132 F. Supp. 3d 1255 (D. Or. Sept. 15, 2015); and, Cent. Or. Landwatch v. Connaughton, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168683 (D. Or. Dec. 5, 2014).

                    None involved logging.

                    I also found three decisions where Judge Aiken remanded federal land management agency decisions based on an EA and FONSI: Or. Wild v. BLM, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32584 (D. Or. Mar. 14, 2015); Cascadia Wildlands v. BLM, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150818 (D. Or. Oct. 18, 2013); and, Cascadia Wildlands v. United States Forest Serv., 937 F. Supp. 2d 1271 (D. Or. Mar. 21, 2013).

                    All involved logging.

                    • Well there are consistencies in the cases involving logging – “… the actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment..” appears to be the judges requirement for EIS vs. EA, which seems to have a fairly broad interpretation. Under her various decisions any agency would be hard pressed to not have an effect on the quality of the human environment when proposing a harvest operation of any significant degree. Therefore she requires an EIS not an EA.
                      The other interesting stand out is the use of the accusation that the agency “failed to take a hard look” which was used as a common claim even when there appeared to be a significant amount of analysis done in each case. This carried over to the cases that did not involve logging, but a recreational path, etc.
                      I guess there really is a play book used to stall and stone wall projects regardless of the actual facts of the project.
                      So my question is this. If litigation will be brought regardless of the attributes of the case – i.e. “Failure to take a hard look when, as mentioned before, there are 350+ pages of analysis, how do we get to a workable solution?” Or is it that there is really no desire for a workable solution and the we are at status quo in our current situation?

          • Hmm. Matthew a couple of things.. if a forest supervisor did “acknowledge that the Farm Bill CE’s are circumventing the system”.. I think the “system” is the Congress, which passed the Farm Bill with the CE’s in it. So CE’s are legitimate based on most people’s thoughts of how the government works. Just as legitimate as NEPA or ESA.

            Now because “giving” people CE’s is not “requiring” people to use CE’s, then people can exercise their good judgment, including the RF, the Forest Supe and the DR. Often these folks are conservative.. they would rather not tick off environmental groups and it’s easier just to not do things that would irritate them (or if they have environmental groups that are likely to litigate, go in with all the protection they can muster). We used to have two schools of thought on that..(1) go with the statutes and regs say, and take a risk with the judge, then do more later if required by the judge or (2) bullet proof to start. I tend to go with (1) but it does delay things. Which option is best depends on people’s read of the specifics of the project, the litigants and the circuit, for sure.

          • What I’m curious Matt, how would you suggest that fire salvage be accomplished in a timely manner, that allows for economical and viable use of the material? Do you believe that continued litigation and current trends in forest management will improve forest health and provide truly multiple use of our public lands?

            • Hi Forester 353,

              In general, I’m not supportive of post-fire logging, unless it’s directly related to removal of hazard trees near roads, campgrounds, etc.

              Also, while I’m not supportive of CE’s also, I do know that the USFS has various CE authorities that they could use related to post-fire logging. Also, in the past, the USFS was quite successful doing EA’s, or even full EIS’s, for post-fire logging.

                • Since 84% of all U.S. wildfires are human-caused, how about a huge effort to bring that number down? I also can’t help noticing that once again this year, a huge amount of total acres burned isn’t even forested, but instead is grass, sage and brush. The other day I looked at the largest fires in Nevada this year (3 fires that total 500,000 acres) and I’m not sure that even a single tree burned in any of these fires. Same thing with the largest fire in California this year and Oregon. Montana’s largest fire also burned mainly in grass, brush, fields and sage, not forests.

                  Maybe if someone could figure out how to greatly reduce wind speeds across a landscape or increase humidity, that would be helpful too. Maybe we shouldn’t be burning so much coal and so many fossil fuels, either. However, I’m not at all sure that 10,000 acres of ‘thinning’ here, and a 10,000 acres of ‘thinning’ there will have any measurable impact at all in terms of the wildfires, even if it will have a measurable impact in terms of other forest-related values such as clean water, wildlife habitat, nature processes, etc.

                  Also, I keep coming back to the fact that 100 years ago the amount of acres burned in the U.S. was far, far greater than any of the ‘record-breaking’ wildfire seasons we see now.

                  • There in lies a major problem in the follow thru of discussions on the topic of forest management.
                    Carbon matters when connected to harvesting and will have worldly impacts, it is of no apparent relevance when connected to wildfire, nor are the toxic gases released during fire.
                    Clean water and wildlife habitat that is protected during harvest activities is critical, it is just a fact of nature when destroyed by wildfire.
                    Impacts by wildfire – critical habitat, RMA’s, LSR’s etc. when compared to harvesting, is overwhelming. Yet we are spending Billions every year for wildfire suppression instead of increasing expenditure on land management.
                    Pick almost any NF in the nation and the acres burned far out number the acres harvested annually. I’m not advocating free for all harvesting, but I would say that a five to ten fold increase would result in more habitat protected or enhanced than is currently being destroyed by wildfire.
                    If the issue is truly protecting habitat and improving forest health, the current path seems to have enough proof of failure on the ground, it’s time to change the process which is what the Bill is intended to do.
                    As for money spent on reducing man caused fires, there are millions spent on fire prevention every year. It would be interesting to see the actual numbers of unsolved fires and man caused fires that resulted in large fires vs. natural causes that resulted in large fires.

                  • Matthew

                    A) re your 1st paragraph:
                    1 “Since 84% of all U.S. wildfires are human-caused, how about a huge effort to bring that number down?”
                    –> Significant thinning and control burning with efforts prioritized on proximity to human access and number of visitors wouldn’t change the number of human caused fires but IT WOULD significantly reduce the acreage burned by slowing the fires takeoff before it produced its own winds giving the firefighting forces more time to react or by allowing the ignition to fail soon after start. Consider also the possibility of of human started fires being closer to suppression resources might be why acreage loss to human fire is proportionally less than for other ignition sources. http://forestpolicypub.com/2017/03/04/humans-sparked-84-percent-of-us-wildfires-increased-fire-season-over-two-decades/
                    2) “once again this year, a huge amount of total acres burned isn’t even forested, but instead is grass, sage and brush.”
                    –> Lightning caused prairie/grassland fires are one of the primary reasons for the existence of the prairies/grasslands. However, I believe that hot exhaust pipes from people parking their vehicles in 6″ and higher grasses, shrubs and brush rather than over bare ground have had an exponential impact on the occurrence of such fires. The solution = increasingly severe restrictions on access to forests, grasslands, brush and etc. except when moisture is high.

                    Here is a great overview on “Wildfires” looking at them from an investigative point of view – http://www.interfire.org/features/wildfires.asp

                    B) re your 2nd paragraph:
                    “However, I’m not at all sure that 10,000 acres of ‘thinning’ here, and a 10,000 acres of ‘thinning’ there will have any measurable impact at all in terms of the wildfires”
                    –> Agree, but when combined with controlled burns and opportunistically letting some fires run and doing these things over significant acreages as part of an ongoing year over year program will make a world of difference. But, even then, it will take years to build up to a sufficient critical mass and bring the trend down. But it will be worth it with cleaner air to breathe, healthier forest habitat for all dependent species, cleaner water, more carbon storage, better soil conservation, and funds freed up to meet other needs.

                    C) re your 3rd paragraph:
                    “Also, I keep coming back to the fact that 100 years ago the amount of acres burned in the U.S. was far, far greater than any of the ‘record-breaking’ wildfire seasons we see now.”
                    –> I’m not sure that you have the context right here – I’d be interested in getting a link to your source. If your data comes from this graph https://www.fs.fed.us/research/sustain/criteria-indicators/indicators/indicator-316.php then we don’t have an apples to apples comparison (the original source for the U.S. Forest Service graph was “America’s Renewable Resources: Historical Trends and Current Challenges,” which was published in 1991 by the non-profit organization Resources for the Future. The original graph is located on page 117 of Chapter 3, and the author (R. A. Sedjo) cites “U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, 1926–1967, Forest Fire Statistics, various annual issues,” as their data source).
                    The incompatibility between the pre and post 1960 data is that acres burned is not the same as wildfire acreage with the pre 1960 numbers explained as follows: “Between 1930 and 1950, in excess of 10 million acres were burned by wildfires annually. Most of the area burned during this period was in the Southeastern United States (South RPA Region) and were primarily incendiary fires (intentionally set).” – https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/10/30/the-mysterious-wildfire-chart/
                    My own experience in the south was that incendiary fires were set to clear land and to punish large landowners for interfering with the local communities’ perceived right to hunt wherever and whenever they wanted so my insights gained from living in various small southern rural communities from 1971 on supports the above reference and the inappropriateness of your statement when used to compare wildfire acreage pre and post 1960.
                    The history of set fires in the SE continues as can be seen here: https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_stats_human.html

                    • Matthew

                      OK, So we are talking about the same USFS data that I mentioned above.

                      Care to address the problem with your comparing the pre 1960 data to the post 1960 data that I pointed out in item “C” in my previous post.

                    • Hi Gil,

                      Regarding: “Between 1930 and 1950, in excess of 10 million acres were burned by wildfires annually. Most of the area burned during this period was in the Southeastern United States (South RPA Region) and were primarily incendiary fires (intentionally set).”

                      OK, so even if that’s true, and even if you end up subtracting 10 million acres from each year between 1930 and 1950 (subtracting 10 million also seems excessive as it doesn’t say ‘all’ of the 10 million acres, but just ‘most,’ which could mean as few as 5.1 million acres) you can clearly see from the U.S. Forest Service chart that the period from 1930 to 1950 saw quite a lot of wildfires, right?

                      By my calculation even subtracting 10 million acres from the totals in the chart from 1930 to 1950 would put the bulk of that two-decade-long period in the 20 million to 30 million acres burned annually.

                    • Matthew

                      You have misread the quote: “in excess of 10 million acres”. The approximately 50 million acres in 1930 decreasing to approximately 15 million acres of mortality in 1950 is total acres of fire of any kind which is in excess of 10 million acres every year between 1930 and 1950. The “10 million acres” is not wildfire acres for years 1930 to 1950 nor is it acres burned from incendiary fires (intentionally set). In fact, pre and post 1960 numbers are totally uncomparable since they measure different entities.
                      Mis-labeled Misleading Graph - Joining Two Incomparable Data Sets
                      2) Note that the full quote given as item “C” in a previous comment above says: “Between 1930 and 1950, in excess of 10 million acres were burned by wildfires annually. Most of the area burned during this period was in the Southeastern United States (South RPA Region) and were primarily incendiary fires (intentionally set).”
                      So “Most”, in my book, means at least 50% and quite probably significantly more was in the South East. It wasn’t in the West. In addition, the fires in the SE were primarily incendiary fires (intentionally set). So your misreading of “excess of 10 million acres were burned by wildfires annually” is way off base since the “Y” axis label “Wildfires” doesn’t mean “Wildfires” as we think of the word but prior to 1960 includes fires purposely set for land clearing for agricultural and other purposes.
                      So we really don’t know what the wildfire acreage was prior to 1960 and shouldn’t be using the graph, as you do, to claim “that 100 years ago the amount of acres burned in the U.S. was far, far greater than any of the ‘record-breaking’ wildfire seasons we see now”. There is insufficient information to make any kind of supposition by you, me or anyone else.

            • I’m hoping that recent cases involving the Ninth Circuit Court are supporting the ‘snag-thinning’ type of salvage logging, so prevalent today. While I’d like to see more ground-based salvage logging, helicopter logging seems pretty expensive if they have to fly out just the marginal small diameter wood. Yes, there needs to be a way to exempt salvage projects, meeting certain criteria, from Judicial actions…. IMHEO

  9. Here’s some more insight as to why there is support to Westerman Bill. After 3 BA’s were done for the Lower Grave Project on Medford BLM, a total of over 350 pages of analysis were done. After 3 indepth analysis, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, & KS Wild files a lawsuit claiming the agency failed to take a hard look at the projects environmental impacts.
    This type of continual stalling and stonewalling abusing various rules and regulations, is why the bill has support and why the support for this bill and others will continue to grow. Another unintended consequence of this abuse is that it will push the pendulum back past the middle where we all benefit, to the far opposite of where we sit now……… This attitude/practice is also why the idea of collaboration and the lack of widespread support for a collaborative effort is slow to gain traction. IMO

  10. This ceaseless, counter productive repetition of what has been said countless times before on this site by the same people reminds me of two things:

    1) A dog chasing its tail.
    2) The loud Zsork/Tsork! that the Russian bird cries out as it meets its demise after flying in circles of ever decreasing radii.

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