Tuesday :: Aug 12, 2003

Bush's Healthy Forest Point Man


by Mary

Posted by Mary
Bush's month-long vacation plans contain two primary goals beyond his recreating by clearing brush on his Faux Ranch in Crawford: 1) raise funds for his war chest while schmoozing with his supporters, and 2) convince voters of his environmental credentials by selling his Healthy Forests initiative.

When investigating the Healthy Forests initiative, one question I had was, where the hell does Bush come up with his appointees? Allan Fitzsimmons, the guy that Bush appointed to formulate forest policy is someone who doesn't believe in ecosystems! What he does believe in is the magic of the market place to solve all human problems.

In "The Illusion of Ecosystem Management," published in 1999 by the Political Economy Research Center, which says it applies market principles to environmental problems, Fitzsimmons says ecosystems exist only in the human imagination and cannot be delineated. Federal policies, therefore, should not be used to try to manage or restore them, he wrote.

Once again, Bush's appointment of individuals whose goal is to totally subvert the mission of the agency with which he or she is charged, is a frontal attack on our form of government where Bush cynically hands the debt to our descendents. For some of those appointees, their actions are close to treason as they attempt to undermine the constitution. (I'm looking at you, John Ashcroft.)

Ecosystems have an essential place in our world. As Mike Dombeck, chief of the US Forest Services under Clinton, said in a NYTimes oped last January:

My daughter, Mary, is a Peace Corps volunteer in a village in Mali. Each day she gets a small amount of drinking water, which she must purify, plus two buckets of water for bathing. We are far more fortunate here in the United States, a relatively water-rich nation. Yet even here, water restrictions have become the norm in some parts of the country in the East, where supplies once seemed inexhaustible, and in the arid West, where a number of states, along with Mexico, routinely fight over the trickle from what is now the parched Colorado River.

Given such realities, I am puzzled that water rarely enters the debate as the Bush administration and interest groups argue about roadless areas, logging and forest fire management. For water is perhaps the most important forest product.

Forests generate most of the water in the country, providing two-thirds of all the precipitation runoff the water that comes from the sky in the 48 contiguous states. Some 14 percent of all runoff comes from the roughly 190 million acres of our national forests, which take up only 8 percent of the land. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 60 million people in 3,400 communities in 33 states rely on national forests for their drinking water. Millions more depend on state and private forests to facilitate the refilling of aquifers from which they draw their water.

Bush is selling our future to the highest bidder. And who will pay? Our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I think they will curse his name as they try to survive the world that he and his cronies have bequeathed them.

[Thanks to Palamedes who provided research for this story.]

Mary :: 11:22 PM :: Comments (2) :: Digg It!