The Impact of Catastrophic Forest Fires and Litigation on People and Endangered Species: Time for Rational Management of our Nation’s Forests

Thanks to Bob Berwyn for finding this in time for some of us to watch..here’s the link to the site.. they may post the video later.

Observing this, I think we need to move beyond partisan blathering, snarkiness and grandstanding to do good public policy. I’m simply embarrassed by our elected leadership on both sides. There really is middle and common ground- but the 4FRI people spent the time to figure it out. It looks like all national pols want to do is use the latest public problem to bash the “other side,” in my opinion simply defaulting on their true responsibilities as elected officials.

PS I can’t believe they asked Joe Romm to talk about climate bark beetles, forest and wildfire. If you follow the climate debates, you might want to check on some of what he says and of course, how careful he is about what he says. Here’s a link to one debate. We have people who actually spend their lives studying these things..I don’t agree always agree with their perspectives (and they disagree with each other), but at least they are studying our situation here.

What we should agree to do about the situation we’re in is a different question than what caused it..we may never know the percentage of the situation caused by fire suppression, non climate change droughts, and climate change. Markey seems to be arguing that westerners should not be concerned about what’s happening in their backyards, and how that is influenced by federal land policy, because other people have problems also..???

Joe Romm and applied silviculture assessments in HFRA in the same hearing… Gaia must be smiling somewhere at our antics!
Mary Wagner is a class act, IMHO.

Just wanted to point out that Massachusetts got $41.5 million in 2010 to deal with Asian Longhorned Beetle, which I believe was more than the new money all of Region 2 (Wyoming, Colorado, S. Dakota, Nebraska) received to deal with bark beetle. Here’s the link. But perhaps ALB is not affected by climate change, so that’s OK.

10 thoughts on “The Impact of Catastrophic Forest Fires and Litigation on People and Endangered Species: Time for Rational Management of our Nation’s Forests”

  1. Yep,

    Knee jerk reactions as predicted….can’t wait to see the legislative fixes that will be rolled out as a result.

    I think Derek said it best….everything is working according to plan

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  2. I don’t think that’s what Markey is saying. I think he’s saying that we need to at least consider the underlying cause, rather than just the symptoms. Interesting about the ALB, though.

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  3. That’s only one year, I didn’t have time to look up the rest.. it has been a pretty serious financial commitment every year. My in-laws live near Worcester, so I’ve been following it, and comparing it to the quest for bark beetle funds in the West.

    I think in some cases considering the underlying cause is a good idea. If this was a hearing on cap’n’trade, they could list wildfires and droughts as bad things to be avoided through policy.

    But we can’t change it in time to get rid of the problems we have today so we have to deal with them. And the difference is that these are public lands so everyone everywhere is involved in our policies, not like Massachusetts. In fact, I think you could call public lands states “the DC of the west.” In some cases, we become instruments to carry out national partisan squabbles rather than makers of our own future.

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    • You’re right, we have to deal with what we’re facing now in the best way, and I don’t think that hearing helped very much. The baseball stuff was particularly annoying. Witness testimony and links to the bills are at the committee website:

      http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=302930

      I think the video may be posted at the committee website later. They usually put them up at some point.

      Personally, I was embarrassed by Cory Gardner and glad he doesn’t represent my district.

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      • Someone needs to give the Congressman who gets his info from flying over Caribbean islands a field trip to a western national forest. IMHO.

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  4. Wildfires become political footballs after EVERY bad year. Most recently, the Texas and Arizona wildfires a few years ago had people saying “Let it burn! They deserve it!!!” The easiest political response is to throw more money at the problem, in the form of more fire engines, air tankers and hand crews. Yep, keep treating the symptoms while ignoring the disease.

    I’m hoping that something worthwhile can be enacted to reach more common ground, while marginalizing the preservationist intolerance.

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  5. The end of the video was difficult to watch, as the Democrats tried to hijack the agenda, placing all blame for forest health problems on “climate change”. Regarding Markey, and his ridiculous baseball/steroids analogy, Henry Aaron hit 40 or more home runs 8 times in his career, well before the steroid era. That fact surely has to mean something in the climate science arena, maybe?

    Watching Joseph Romm fiddle and kvetch was very reminiscent of Woody Allen. You would think that he would mention at least SOME forest science, instead of solely blaming climate change. His claim of being a medium and longterm forest expert is highly questionable. Also notable is his lack of a solution to our forest health problems, other than a magical “fixing” of our lifestyles and emissions.

    I see Markey’s bill as a way to “codify” things to the Democratic Platform. One might also say that about the other bills and the Republican Platform, as well.

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  6. You know, I think if we want solutions. rather than hyper-partisan bickering and grandstanding (of course, hearings are essentially theatrical productions, but still..) we are going to have to think of them ourselves, and then sell them to the politicos.

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