Chuck Roady on Budget Cuts

Gil suggested posting this...

I don’t believe that people litigate for the money. I think they believe that they are doing good. However, it does seem that some people’s opinions count more than others and there are issues of justice involved in who has access to these decisions, as we’ve pointed out on this blog before.

My curiosity was aroused by his figure of $350 million for NEPA and where it comes from. As Fred Norbury used to say, how can we say NEPA takes too long and costs too much if we don’t track how long it takes or how much it costs? And I don’t think we actually know. Further, I have opinions (and I’m sure you do) about some NEPA investments being worth more than others. For example the latest Colt Summit redo required by the courts has 0 value. Whereas the GMUG and White River oil and gas leasing decision has substantial value. In my opinion. How about you?

I agree with Chuck, and so does the GAO report, that something is different in region 1 and in Montana, at least compared to Wyoming and Colorado. And if I had to give any impressions from the last couple of years of observations on projects in Montana, I would have to say it has to do with specific groups, such as Garrity’s, who do business there. I also agree with Chuck that it is not a partisan issue..

3 thoughts on “Chuck Roady on Budget Cuts”

  1. Good morning everyone. It certainly looks like it’s “FACT CHECK TIME” around here, so here it goes.

    “We need to invest more resources up front to keep our forests green and healthy, rather than wait until they are dead and dying, or on fire,” -Chuck Roady of F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber

    That’s a good example of a pollyannish statement that has no basis in actual forest ecology and science.

    “Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said another problem hampering the federal government’s ability to manage forests is an onslaught of frivolous lawsuits filed by environmental groups against the Forest Service.”

    Filing of “frivolous lawsuits” is illegal, Congressman, and any attorney that files an actual “frivolous lawsuit” would be punished by the Courts and possibly even dis-barred. There has never been one single “frivolous” lawsuit filed in Montana, or elsewhere, concerning Forest Service timber management. I’d challenge anyone to provide one concrete example.


    “onslaught of frivolous lawsuits?” Or Daines claim that: “He said about 40 percent of the 124 management projects in Region 1, which includes Forest Service land in Montana and Idaho, have been appealed or litigated.”

    Fact is, according to the GAO, that of all the Forest Service “fuel reduction” projects in the US Forest Service’s Region One, only 8% were litigated. Fact is, the public appeal process is part of the official public review process established by the US Congress. Complaining that some people or groups filed an “Appeal” is the same as complaining that people participate in the process at all.

    Jim Hubbard, deputy chief of state and private forestry for the Forest Service, said “such suits have ‘virtually shut things down’ on national forest land in Montana, ‘and so environmental clearance there … has been difficult.’”

    Hmmmm….”Virtually shut things down” Hubbard? Really?

    Here’s a link to the Forest Service’s Timber Sale Program Cut and Sold Reports for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 in the U.S. Forest Service Region One.

    Please note that over the past five years the Forest Service in Region One (which includes all national forest in Montana, northern Idaho and the Black Hills in SD) has sold enough timber to fill 239,000 log trucks, which if lined up end-to-end, would stretch 2,048 miles, or nearly from Missoula, Montana to New York City.

    According to the Forest Service’s Cut and Sold report, here are the numbers over the past five years for the Forest Service’s Region One:

    • FY 2012 Region One sold 208.3 MMBF, cut 219.4 MMBF (“Virtually shut things down?”)

    • FY 2011 Region One sold 211.9 MMBF, cut 202.0 MMBF. (“Virtually shut things down?”)

    • FY 2010 Region One sold 253.4 MMBF, cut 188.7 MMBF. (“Virtually shut things down?”)

    • FY 2009 Region One sold 292.9 MMBF, cut 186.0 MMBF. (“Virtually shut things down?”)

    • FY 2008 Region One sold 229.2 MMBF, cut 167.4 MMBF. (“Virtually shut things down?”)

    As you notice, the volume of timber sold by the US Forest Service in our Region has stayed pretty steady, while the volume of timber cut per year has actually gone up slightly during the past five years. But, hey, “Virtually shut things down,” right Hubbard?

    To help put these numbers into perspective, consider these facts:

    • Over the past five years, the Forest Service in the US Forest Service’s Northern Region has sold a total of 1.195 billion board feet of timber. (“Virtually shut things down?”)

    • If cut and loaded onto a typical logging truck (which holds 5,000 board feet of timber) that 1.195 billion board feet of timber sold over the past five years from our Region’s national forests would fill 239,000 log trucks. (“Virtually shut things down?”)

    • If those 239,000 logging trucks, full of that 1.195 billion board feet of timber, would be lined up along I-90 end-to-end those full log trucks would stretch for 2,048 miles, or almost between Missoula and New York City. (“Virtually shut things down?”)

    So, consider these actual numbers and this image of log trucks lined up end-to-end across the country in the context of those calling for more logging of our national forests and spreading false, misleading and self-serving lies about “Virtually shut things down.” Thanks.

  2. Keep in mind that NEPA requires that agencies “avoid duplication” and combine NEPA requirements with other review and documentation requirements. Lots of analysis, collaboration, and public involvement are accomplished using NEPA as the vehicle. When people count the cost of NEPA they may not realize they are really counting many things, and they almost certainly don’t realize that streamlining NEPA (or getting rid of NEPA) would not avoid all those costs or delays. Other similar documentation requirements remain under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Historic Preservation Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, as well as various executive orders, etc., etc.


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