Politicians vs science

Ideology was on display at a grandstanding event on the Lolo Peak Fire. Secretary Sonny Perdue, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Congressman Greg Gianforte and Senator Steve Daines got a briefing from the fire management team, and then held a short press conference. Senator Daines repeated a refrain that Montana Republicans have been saying for years: …

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Forest “Christmas tree” bill out of House committee

No, not that Christmas tree (they are searching the Kootenai National Forest for that one).   This one.  This is the Westerman bill that the House hung all the hopes of active forest management on:  “the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017.”  Similar legislation in 2015 passed the House, but died in the Senate. “To expedite …

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The beginning of state management of national forests

A group of Western senators, including Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, both R-Idaho, have introduced a bill to allow states to implement their own conservation plans to protect sage grouse and their habitats, in lieu of federal management. Congress would be allowing states to override the decisions by the Forest Service and BLM to …

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Post-Election Thoughts About Our Forests?

With a new Republican President and a Republican-controlled Congress, how will this affect the Forest Service and the BLM? Regarding the picture: I did some processing with a High Dynamic Range (HDR) program to get this artsy view. It is interesting that it enhanced the flames better than in the original scan, from a Kodachrome …

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“Patriot” attack on public lands (and its users and employees)

Some members of Congress are trying to shine a spotlight on the threat to public land from armed militias.  They point out the direct threats, but also link them to the attempts to transfer federal lands to states: “Anti-government extremists didn’t always direct their ire at public-lands agencies. That changed, in part, because a group …

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Politicizing science – the view from the front lines

A survey from the Union of Concerned Scientists included employees of CDC, FDA, FWS and NOAA. A significant number of scientists (46 to 73 percent of respondents across agencies) reported that political interests at their agencies were given too much weight in their agencies.  Many scientists told us that scientific decisions were being swayed by …

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Career Ladders for Temps?!?! Maybe Soon!

More interesting news for “disposable” employees! http://nffe.org/ht/display/ArticleDetails/i/105694 NFFE-Backed Temporary Employment Reform Legislation Approved by Senate Committee There may come a time when temporary employees actually have a career ladder! “Thousands of wildland firefighters and other dedicated seasonal workers have been stuck for too long in dead-end jobs, not because of a lack of merit on …

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Sleeping With the Enemy?

Timber industry people who don’t trust forest collaboration believe that those of us who participate in collaboratives are sleeping with the enemy. Environmentalists who would rather sue than participate in collaboratives think that environmentalists who collaborate with us are sleeping with the enemy. So it’s unanimous. We’re sleeping with our enemies. I don’t care what …

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Congress supports unloading national forests

From a New York Times op-ed by the president of the Trust for Public Land: Last week, the United States Senate voted 51 to 49 to support an amendment to a nonbinding budget resolution to sell or give away all federal lands other than the national parks and monuments. This was bad enough. But it …

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The Forest Service: Fighting climate change since 1974

(In memory of the Keystone Pipeline) As you know, the Senate recently voted to acknowledge that climate change is real.  In this story,  one senator called it ‘a step forward’ for Republicans.  What is most remarkable is that they must have been marching backwards since a much wiser Congress passed the Forest and Rangeland Renewable …

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