So our brilliant president has a plan to log forests in order to cut down on fires.
What is he going to do when we have mudslides instead?
After all, the trees keep the soil in one place on the ground instead of flowing away when the rain comes. Flowing away into homes, businesses, roads...
The plan to only cut underbrush and trees near homes seems viable--and yet Mr. Bush would prefer to cave in to timber companies who want to make the clearing of underbrush "economically viable." Is this really about saving people's homes and lives (and the forests too!) or is it about making money for people who are bitter that their livelihoods have been cut back by environmental concerns?
Jay Inslee, a Rep. from Washington State, is quoted in this New York Times article as saying, "They're interested not so much in streamlining the process," Mr. Inslee said in a telephone interview, "but in streamlining the ability of their special-interest friends to take a national asset and turn it into private profit."
The big trees in the middle of the forest aren't the ones that are most prone to fire, yet those are the ones targeted for "thinning" under the new plan.
Not the underbrush. Not the small trees that catch fire easily. Not the trees nearest to towns/homes/etc.
From the same article: "In general, environmental leaders have advocated limited efforts, aimed at small trees and brush near homes and populated areas. They argue that since tinder-dry underbrush and saplings are what fuel fires, it makes no sense to cut the less-fire-prone big trees deep in the forests."
Yes, management is needed so there will be fewer out of control fires in the future. But management is also needed so there will be forests...and so there won't be mudslides...and so there won't be so many out of control people claiming that cutting it all down is the answer.