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Zoethe

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Jesus is coming; cut down all the trees [Aug. 31st, 2005|01:59 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |cynicalcynical]

Stuff me down the rabbit hole one more time, Alice.

Three Western States Sue Over Forest Rules

SAN FRANCISCO - California, New Mexico and Oregon sued the Bush administration over the government's decision to allow road building, logging and other commercial ventures on more than 90,000 square miles of untouched forests.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, attorneys general for the three states challenged the U.S. Forest Service's repeal of the Bill Clinton administration's "roadless rule" that banned development on 58.5 million acres of national forest, mostly in western states.

The administration's move puts at risk "some of the last, most pristine portions of America's national forests," California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said. "Road building simply paves the way for logging, mining and other kinds of resource extraction."

In January 2001, just eight days before he left office, Clinton put almost one-third of the nation's 192 million acres of national forest off-limits to road construction, winning praise from conservation groups and criticism from the timber industry.

But in May, the Bush administration replaced the regulation with a new policy requiring states to work with the Forest Service to decide how to manage individual forests. Governors were given 18 months either to petition the agency to keep their states' forests protected or to open the undeveloped areas to roads and development.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco, alleges that the Bush administration's repeal of the roadless rule violated federal law because the government did not conduct a complete analysis of the new regulation's environmental impact.

The attorneys general who filed the suit are all Democrats.

Mark Rey, the Agriculture Department's undersecretary for natural resources and environment, called the lawsuit "unfortunate and unnecessary."

"The quickest way to provide permanent protection is through the development of state-specific rules, not by resuscitating the 2001 rule," Rey said.

He pointed out that the Clinton-era rule has been struck down in federal court. In 2003, a federal judge in Wyoming ruled that the executive branch had overstepped its authority by effectively creating wilderness areas on U.S. Forest Service land. In July, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed environmentalists' appeal of that ruling, saying the new Bush rule made the issue moot.


Now, most of you are probably too young to remember this, but for years western states sued the Feds for overstepping their bounds with enthusiastic protectionist environmental policy. It was, frequently, war - the Spotted Owl crisis comes immediately to mind.

So when the states are flinging themselves before the juggernaut of this administration, trying to protect forest lands from cutting that would benefit the state economy, you know something is radically wrong with the picture. For the situation to be reversed is dire beyond what I have the skill to convey. But, like a wifebeating husband, the administration insists that it's all the fault of the states.

Right....

This is not an isolated incident. As this article discusses, former Park Service employees are appalled by the plans to develop the heck out of our national heritage.

Given their druthers, Bush and his cronies would just as soon eliminate all wild, peaceful places in the name of modernity and profit.

And here I was earlier, wondering from whence people developed the looter mentality. Appears they're getting it from their fearless leaders.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: xforge
2005-08-31 06:11 pm (UTC)
This was the President last year, standing at a podium and practically giggling to himself with glee at the thought he'd finally be allowed to cut down all the trees under the pretense it would control forest fires. Gosh I hate that guy.

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[User Picture]From: zayja
2005-08-31 07:06 pm (UTC)
Certain, carefully executed cutting programs would help control forest fires by drastically reducing the fuel load. It would also reduce the chance that a fire would spread to the canopy of the forest, where it does the most damage. However, taking perfectly sound science and distorting it to meet their own agenda to pretty typical of politicians in general. As a soon-to-graduate forester, this is unfortunately going to be one of the great banes of my existence.
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[User Picture]From: wdomburg
2005-08-31 06:33 pm (UTC)
In January 2001, just eight days before he left office, Clinton put almost one-third of the nation's 192 million acres of national forest off-limits to road construction, winning praise from conservation groups and criticism from the timber industry.

It's worth noting that this isn't the whole story. Clinton certainly signed it in 2001, but it didn't go into effect at all until 2003, because of nine seperate lawsuits opposing the rule. And as the article points out, it was invalidated in the courts before Bush repealed it.

Given their druthers, Bush and his cronies would just as soon eliminate all wild, peaceful places in the name of modernity and profit.

The new legislation isn't simply reclassifying the land en masse for commercial development; it's allowing states to petition for reclassification.

It also only applies to the 50 million acres of land in the limbo classification of "roadless". That leaves another 140 million acres of forest system, 38 million of which are classified as wilderness, plus another 68 million managed by other agencies.

There will still be a heck of a lot of trees in this country regardless. :)
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[User Picture]From: ruka_
2005-08-31 06:56 pm (UTC)
I dunno. The only pace in the country where there ARE tree's are in those westernstates.
And you think the area's HUGE until you look at a map and relaize how small and isolated they are. Most park lands seem to be where it's pretty darn isolated and hard for humans to live. And of those park lands not up high and isolated and frankly lacking in trees, most have logging companies in them. Or oil companies.
There's a road within five hours in all directions except on top of mountains or plautau's.
In the east it's within a ten minute drive.

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[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2005-09-01 12:25 pm (UTC)
The only pace in the country where there ARE tree's are in those westernstates.

Surely you jest. Or are you setting some sort of acreage minimum for something to be classified as park land, a forest, or "trees"?

We have park land all around us where I live, and we're definitely not in an isolated region.
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[User Picture]From: donkey_hokey
2005-08-31 07:39 pm (UTC)
People have asked the question, "Well, how much damage CAN a president do in his years in office?" This rule, and the Patriot Act (to name 2) are their answer. Some may argue that it's not Bush, it's his administration, but, well, they're all sorta in bed together. And Bush is allowing it to happen. He DOES have veto power, y'know. I could say I was glad I didn't vote for Bush, but it doesn't really matter.
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[User Picture]From: tormentedartist
2005-09-01 03:54 am (UTC)
I don't know what is wrong with these shortsighted fucks. Even if they are greedy and don't care about anyone else, don't they at least want to leave a planet behind for their grandkids ?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-01 11:07 am (UTC)
Wild places mean nothing to them. The world they want to leave their grandkids is one of pavement and convenience.

Except the ones who think that the Second Coming is just around the corner. They don't think they need to worry about leaving anything.
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[User Picture]From: tormentedartist
2005-09-01 12:33 pm (UTC)
It boggles my mind how these people are so stupid. My brain hurts. But short sighted greed does that to me.
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