25 Jun 2008, 7:11pm
Latest Forest News
by admin

Senator Domenici assails forest plans

Cibola Beacon, June 23, 2008 [here]

Restrictions on forest management have led to the loss of more national forest lands and personal property to wildfires. U.S. Senator Pete Domenici made the comments last week at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the preparedness of federal land management agencies-primarily the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management-for the 2008 fire season.

In a statement to the Senate, Domenici asserted that almost 155 million acres of forest have burned since he entered the Senate in 1973, with 58 million of those acres burning in the past seven years. Nationally, more than 1.7 million acres have burned this year since Jan. 1, including about 20,000 acres in New Mexico. The Dripping Springs Fire in the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces continue to burn as of Monday.
“I note that the trend of acres burned versus the number of acres managed by the Forest Service through timber sales and pre-commercial thinning is troubling. As the number of acres that have been treated has decreased, the number of burned acres has increases,” Domenici said.

“We are spending more, managing less, burning more and, as a result, having to cut funds to other important resource programs such as recreation, fisheries and wildlife to battle these wildfires. In addition, we’re increasing the carbon dioxide and other pollutants that get pumped into the atmosphere by these fires,” he said.

Domenici said Congress and the administration, both now and in the future, should work to rebalance forest management policies to make them safer.

“We seem to be willing to allow our forests to be destroyed by fires like the Trigo Fire in the Manzano Mountains, and all too frequently these fires escape the national forests and destroy our citizens’ homes and businesses,” Domenici said.

“We can’t seem to find it in our hearts and wallets to allow land management agencies to harvest, thin or treat even half a million acres a year,” he said. “By not allowing our land management agencies to use the most cost-efficient means of management, we are destroying the very forests we treasure. We are wasting tons of money fighting fires and we are laying waste to our forests. And yes, people are making money off the fire game too.”

“I believe Congress should get beyond the timber wars and focus on ways to reduce wildfire severity, increase the utilization of products our forests can produce, and reduce the amount of money we are forced to spend to fight these fires,” Domenici said.

2 Jul 2008, 5:16pm
by John M.

Good for the retiring Senator to say what needed to be said. It is too bad he won’t be in the Senate to help make the needed changes. However, after reading Eco-Imperialism: Green Power-Black Death, but Paul Driessen (recommended on this web site) I am afraid that making any significant forest or environmental policy changes will require getting many of the BINGO’s off the Hill. Some of these Non Governmental Organizations have political power that is absolutely frightening.

There are some other organizations working the Hill that are attempting to do what they were chartered to do. But those of us out in the sticks have difficulty telling the players without a program. If you haven’t read Driessen’s well documented book, I recommend you find a copy.



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