Tuesday :: Nov 11, 2003

If Bush is so Green, why is he always clearing dead brush?


by Duckman GR

by Duckman GR

You have to laugh when George Bush puts on his ‘Green’ shoes (not Ralph’s, please). Well, actually, you don’t, but it’s cheaper than buying a new TV or replacing windows, if you know what I mean. In the last few days we've had the bushies repudiating Clean Air and Clean Water, as reported here and elsewhere, but I wanted to talk about the Healthy Forests Initiative, HR 1904 since that has also become a current topic of discussion.

The Background in the bill is nothing more than PR fluff. There are no definitions of what forest thinning actually is, no explanation of why those darned bureaucratic rules and regulations exist (hint: Los Alamos Fires May, 2000-more below), and precious little support or evidence that this remediation is effective, sound, proper, or realistic.

Two main issue arise in the bill. One concerns what federal lands are covered, and the other deals with what oversight, alternatives, protests, and review are available for administrative and public use.

Here’s the first issue, and this is the operative paragraph, because you can drive both Bill O'Lielly's and Rush Can’tRememberHisName mouth's right through it.

"Under H.R. 1904, authorized hazardous fuels reduction projects on federal
lands are limited to: wildland-urban interface areas; areas located in proximity to a municipal watershed or water supply system with significant risk that a wildfire would adversely affect water quality or the system; areas where “windthrow,” “blowdown,” ice storm damage, or the existence of insects or disease poses a significant threat to ecosystems, or forest or rangeland resources; and to areas that contain threatened or endangered species habitat."

As we have seen in their interpretation of the coal industry’s mountain top slice, dice, and dump not being pollution (take action here and note that the deadline has been extended to Jan. 6, 2004) , words like “significant, forest or rangeland resources, proximity, water quality, adversely, hell, even existence of insects or disease (doesn’t mention how many, live or dead, for instance) are open to that same sort of self serving interpretation. In other words, despite their claims of it being “limited,” there really are no limitations, if they are clever about the wording. And nobody is suggesting that they aren’t clever, just Eeee ville.

The second issue, the one covering protests, oversight, alternatives, is more complicated, and yet, more of the same. It starts in the “Environmental Analysis” section. EIS's on a fuel reduction project are limited to 1) the project itself, 2) not doing the project, and 3) one additional alternative. Hey, nothing like keeping your options open, right? And further in that graph, no thinking outside the box, either.

The review process is even better, a process whereby you can’t sue unless you’ve gone through their hoops, in which case you’ll probably be subject to finding yourself futile, inadequate, and exhausted. Read the section titled “Special Administrative Review Process”-you’ll see!

And why should we care if they “streamline” the review process? Full coverage here (really full coverage!), good opinion here, another good article here, all describing the destruction from a proscribed burn gone very, very wrong. Makes you think that maybe oversight, alternatives, and challenges have a point in the system after all.

Having listened too our local Pols and Spew Radio bashing the bureaucrats, the Governor, the CDF, the Forest Service, all in the name of their Wurlitzer Points, even as fires continued to darken the SoCal skies, it’s comforting to know that the Bush administration wants to make things better.

Oh, wait, I think that “better” might not be the best choice of words here. Perhaps “worse” would be more appropriate. More dismal. Maybe they just want to be more irresponsible, more derelict in their duties and responsibilities. Whatever. Here's the Defenders of Wildlife analysis that supports everything I've said!

Healthy Forests indeed. They should rename it The Healthy Profits for My Timber Crony Capitalist Buddies Raped from the Forests Initiative.

You just have to wonder what the Bush Crony Capitalists are planning on drinking and breathing when all of their short sighted, destructive, greedy, filthy, disgusting, oh I could go on and on, policies come home to roost.

Jeebus.

Duckman GR :: 3:43 PM :: Comments (4) :: Digg It!