Impatient Bush Administration Stumbles Again

This week the pro-logging policies of the Bush administration took two hits, as reported on the useful Forest Service Employees for Environmental ethics (FSEEE) site.

First, an extensive study in Science of so-called "salvage" logging in the aftermath of the disastrous Biscuit fire in Oregon found that, contra logging industry and Republican claims, post-fire logging resulting in much higher fuels loads and far fewer surviving seedlings. The researchers concluded:

Therefore, the
lowest fire risk strategy may be to leave dead trees standing
as long as possible (where they are less available to surface
flames), allowing for aerial decay and slow, episodic input to
surface fuel loads over decades.

Second, a Federal judge reinstated the requirement that the Forest Service and other Federal agencies "survey and manage" forest lands before opening them up to logging, a requirement the Bush administration eliminated in 2004 without notice or discussion.

As this laconic AP story on the ruling points out, this will cost the Bush adminstration about $2.7 million dollars from lost sales…which by some strange coincidence is the same number the government would have to pay to survey the 5.5 million acres of forest, much of it old growth forest, for endangered and threatened species, according to this story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Yet another example of the fundamental incoherence of the Bush administration’s environmental policies, which so often seem to boil down to a reckless desire cut, drill, and develop…at any cost.

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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