Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Commentary by Jim Beers: The Same Tired Nostrums

Am I the only one seeing the fatally-flawed EU bureaucratic processes in the never-ending reporting of increasingly horrific and unmanageable wildfires in the western US? Your article, “Dead Trees Intensify Wildfire Risk” is but the latest in recent years of the government land-owning bureaucrats (USFS, NPS, USFWS, BLM, States, et al) blaming “Drought, extreme heat and high winds” and American journalists busily copying down their words and calling it “reporting”.

I submit it is intentionally misleading to blame “Bark beetles, heat and California’s five-year drought” for “66 million” dead trees.  Think about, ask about and then report about:
  • All of the expanding government land ownership (and private property eased with government funding) where forest management of trees and range management of forage plants (fuel for fires) have been eliminated by regulations, policies, and philosophies of agencies that have vilified logging and sawmills; grazing and ranching; access roads (used for access to fight fires and make breaks) just as they have hunters, trappers and other legitimate users, uses of and generators of revenue for management from Renewable Natural Resources from the land and the economic lifeblood of rural communities.
  • The effects of radical environmental policies and programs adopted by government land-managers and the bureaucratic workforces in recent years from Wilderness and Roadless Areas to “Critical” Habitat Declarations (think Spotted Owl) and government bureaucracies as tyrannical enemies (the correct word) of rural residents, rural communities, Local governments and the revenues that they must have to exist.
  • The philosophical and human values in both bureaucracies and Universities underpinning current government land non-management and former government Renewable Natural Resources management.  Examine the rural worlds they once were, and now are, responsible for creating in addition to fewer catastrophic fires and widespread destruction of Rural America within, around and near these government fire pits.
“66 Million Dead trees” were once live trees that if carefully managed through logging would be far more resistant to beetles, drought and other natural mayhem.  Fires are much more manageable to contain when roads (logging, access, et al) exist and water is not off-limits because of some fish.  Fuel is what burns, and fuel is much more limited (and fires less intense and difficult to fight) when forest and range plants are limited by logging and the grazing of healthy wild and domestic animals.

If there was a “BREXIT” vote for Rural Americans (unencumbered by urban idealists’ votes and political majorities that are insulated from their government-enforced imaginings) Americans would all be even more surprised than the British and European “establishment” was by the results of “BREXIT”.
Jim Beers is a retired US Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades. 

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

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