26 Jan 2009, 2:05pm
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by admin

Senators support logging as stimulus

by Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman, 01/26/09 [here]

Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch joined a bipartisan group of senators urging the stimulus package include $1.52 billion in funding to log and thin national forests to reduce the potential for huge fires.

The money, which would be spent over two years, would go to the $2.75 billion worth of hazardous fuel reduction projects identified by the Forest Service. Sen. Ron Wyden, the principal author of a letter calling for the spending, said it would create 50,000 jobs.

In additional to Wyden, Crapo and Risch, the letter was signed by Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley, Washington Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Montana Democratic Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus, Democrat Tim Johnson of South Dakota, and New Mexico Democrats Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

They said the projects will quickly create jobs and help rural communities. “The projects would also lead to significant cost savings in the long term as the reduction of the hazardous fuel loads and the restoration of forest health would help prevent uncharacteristic and costly wildfires.”

How costly?

Last year the Forest Service and Department of Interior agencies spent more than $1.85 billion on fire suppression. The senators hope that investing in fuels reduction and forest restoration, fire-suppression costs could be reduced by half in five years. That may be optimistic, but if the projects are done right that will make communities feel safer.

Then forest managers can make better fire decisions. That can be good for the budget and for the health of the forest ecosystems.

26 Jan 2009, 5:23pm
by Larry H.

This is encouraging news, but many other Democrats who don’t live in fire-prone areas will probably reject spending money on forests. Hardline liberals like California’s Barbara Boxer have consistently given rural voters the finger.

26 Jan 2009, 5:41pm
by Mike

The bipartisan proposal supporters include hardline liberals. If approved, it could result in internal liberal rifts where the HLL’s sue one another or (possibly) collaborative efforts for the common good.

It is perhaps self-deluding to expect the latter, but theoretically all those politicians work for us. I am delusionally hopeful for the moment.

26 Jan 2009, 5:42pm
by Mike

Or hopefully delusional? One of the two.

29 Jan 2009, 12:29pm
by Tallac

All well and good. It’s only a drop in bucket though.

If Congress were truly serious about stimulating the economy, they would suspend the draconian rules and regs hampering the extraction of OUR natural resources for 10 years. And it would not cost a dime.

That would put at least 500,000 Americans to work right away.

Yeah, I know it isn’t going to happen. I’m just plain delusional.

But I do know why they’re going to spend $300 million for condoms and STD Prevention.

We’re all going to get screwed no matter what they do.

29 Jan 2009, 12:41pm
by Mike

The crazy thing is that restoration forestry is free. The harvests pay for the treatments. Additional billions are saved in the prevention of exorbitant cost-plus-loss economic damages from wildfires.

It’s a matter of intention and leadership, not money. All it takes to prevent the royal screwing of our forests and watersheds is the desire to do so.



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