6 Oct 2008, 1:07pm
Politics and politicians Saving Forests
by admin

How Wrong They Are

I prefer to post about cutting-edge forest science and its application to real world events, such as preventing the unnecessary incineration of forests. I rarely post about the latest dumbo eruptions from the enviro-nazis. If I drifted into that morass, I would never get anything else done because the enviro-nazis spew idiocy every day.

However, as an object lesson in civil disrespect, I offer the following example for edification and discussion.

Last weekend a bogus news service (actually a propaganda arm of Greenpeace) called BusinessGreen posted a twisted “news” article. BusinessGreen is published in the UK. They call themselves “a multimedia publication for firms intent on improving their environmental credentials.” That’s garbage. They don’t give a hang about business, in fact they are anti-capitalist commies. There are no such things as “environmental credentials.” If there were, BusinessGreen is in no position to grant them. It’s all commie clap-trap.

All that is preface for the following article that BusinessGreen posted [here]:

Government and green groups set for regulation fight

James Murray, BusinessGreen, 03 Oct 2023

A forestry lawsuit could have huge ramifications in the Supreme Court this week
An obscure forestry lawsuit has developed into a major legal battle to be played out in the Supreme Court next Wednesday, which could have major repercussions for the future shape of US environmental legislation and the regulatory risks faced by businesses.

The US Government will try to persuade judges that regulations cannot be legally overruled. Federal attorneys will argue that “facial” challenges, in which a government regulation is overturned on a nationwide basis, are invalid, and should instead only be overturned in individual cases.

Green groups are concerned that this could mean that public interest bodies wanting to challenge a regulation would have to repeatedly sue the Government each time it was applied, draining their funds.

The case stems from a 2005 court judgement against the US Forestry Service. That judgement dismissed regulations introduced in 2003 that prohibited public review and appeal of decisions relating to forest management. These decisions included the sale of up to 250 acres of timber salvaged from national forests.


So far so good. The story is partially correct, although much is missing. For instance, the issue is “categorical exclusion,” a clause in NEPA that allows federal agencies to be indemnified against judicial review for inconsequential actions.

When NEPA was written, the drafters realized that agencies undertake many routine activities, such as mowing the lawn, that are “environmental” in nature but too picayune to warrant lawsuits. Congress did not want every single minor action to be reviewed in the courts. That would tie up the court system with frivolous lawsuits designed to sabotage government rather than improving the environment.

As it has transpired, NEPA has been used extensively for sabotage, and the federal court system has been choked with frivolous suits, categorical exclusion notwithstanding.

Congress realizes that, sort of. Hence in 2003 when Congress wrote and passed the Healthy Forest Restoration Act, they granted categorical exclusion to small UFSF fuel reduction projects, those less than 250 acres. They did so in full compliance with NEPA. Congress created NEPA, after all, and has the power to fine tune it if they wish.

Radical sue-happy enviro-sabotage groups got their knickers in a twist over that. The enviros hated the HFRA from the get go. They absolutely do not want any fuels management or forest restoration because that might prevent total forest incineration. The enviros want to burn America’s forests to the ground. It is part and parcel of the anti-American commie way. If the USA can be destroyed or severely weakened, the one bastion of freedom that stands in the way of world communism will falter. The radical enviro Left desires that, and so promotes as much environmental and economic sabotage as they can.

More from the decidedly anti-business BusinessGreen:

Environmental groups and federal government representatives challenged nine regulations and got five of them overruled by the court in a “facial challenge” , meaning that the regulations can no longer be applied anywhere in the US. The appeals court then upheld the decision.

But now the Government is asking the Supreme Court to rule that the facial ruling on the regulations were invalid, and should be applied only to the particular cases in question.

Again, that part is sort of close to the truth. Much is missing. But let’s get to the rotting meat of the propaganda piece:

Rolf Skar, senior forest campaigner for Greenpeace, argued against the sale of timber from old growth national forests on ecological and economic grounds. “It’s important to realise that the whole timber industry isn’t banging on the door asking for national forest access,” he said. “There’s a segment that wants that, and they haven’t adapted to new economic and social realities, and simply expect a national subsidy for their industry.”

Old growth forests need preserving, he added, arguing that their makeup helps to mitigate wildfires and more effectively sequesters carbon.

Rolf is dead wrong, utterly wrong, has it backassward, and is jabbering nonsense. He is not a moron; he is a liar.

None, zero, not a single project planned under the HFRA has or will cut so much as a single old-growth tree. Rolf is lying about that. Greenpeace are inveterate liars.

Old-growth does not mitigate forest fires; it fuels them. Fires burn fuel, and the more fuel there is, the hotter the fires burn. Old-growth is not fire resistant. Massive destruction of old-growth is the problem!!!

For instance, the Rattle Fire has incinerated 90 percent of the Boulder Creek Wilderness so far. It’s 20,000 acres and still burning. The BCW (19,000 acres) was old-growth. Now it’s a snag patch. The old-growth trees are dead. They could have been saved if fuels management and restoration forestry had been done, but since the radical enviro-commies had the forest declared an inviolate wilderness, no fuels management or restoration forestry was even contemplated.

And now the BCW old-growth is dead, never to be replaced.

The Rattle Fire. Click on map for larger image.

Never to be replaced. That’s right. What was once old-growth is now early successional tickbrush and it will never be old-growth again because the the forest development pathways that engendered the old-growth are no more.

A portion of the BCW was consumed in the 1996 Spring Fire. Twelve years later the Spring Burn burned again. Now there is little conifer seed left. Whatever few conifers do germinate next year are destined to be incinerated in the next fire, which will occur in twelve more years if the past is any indication of the future. Ergo, no more old-growth, ever.

The Middlefork Fire (22,000 acres) has consumed the entire Middle Fork Rogue River watershed. More old-growth was destroyed there. Both the Rattle Fire and the Middlefork Fire could have been contained at less than a thousand acres, but the policy of the USFS is to burn, baby, burn. Let It Burn is not cheap either; the Rattle Fire has cost $30 million to date and the Middlefork Fire has cost nearly $20 million.

Those dollars went into the pockets of firefighters who, like Rolf Skar of Greenpeace, justify their income by claiming that incineration is good for the forest. They are also liars. The old-growth they destroyed will never return.

Is “liar” to strong a word to apply to firefighters? Note this “announcement” from the PNW Team 3 Incident Management Team [here]. (For clarification, the Middlefork Fire is within the Lonesome Complex).

Will The Forest Recover?
Incident: Lonesome Complex Wildland Fire
Released: 6 days ago

Most of the Lonesome Complex has burned in the Sky Lakes Wilderness and Crater Lake National Park. While the Lonesome Complex is being actively suppressed, both of these areas are generally managed to promote natural processes, which include fire as a natural and normal part of a healthy environment. Although blackened now, burned forest areas do provide habitat for many species, and these areas will again develop into older forests as time goes on. Many species are dependent on fires for reproduction and survival.

The PNW Team 3 Incident Management Team is not staffed by foresters or forest scientists. They are staffed by firefighters who know next to nothing about forests. Their pronouncement above is dead wrong. The trees that germinate after the Middlefork fire will NEVER be older than the trees the PNW Team 3 just incinerated. Future Let It Burn fires promoted and profited from by the “fire community” will ensure that old-growth trees will never be a part of the Middle Fork Rogue River forest again.

Rolf Skar also claimed (above) that old-growth “effectively sequesters carbon.” That’s a bald-faced lie and patently so. The old-growth forests consumed by the Rattle Fire and the Middlefork Fire emitted megatons of carbon this summer. The carbon sequestered over the last 300+ years was oxidized and went up in smoke. That’s a plain fact, and even a moron would realize it. But Rolf is not a moron; he is a liar.

Rolf gets his lies from a recent publication put out by the OSU College of Forestry. The authors of that paper are not morons, either. They are liars. You don’t need a college diploma to see the smoke billowing in plumes reaching 20,000 feet to realize, through the evidence of your own eyes, that carbon is being emitted, not sequestered.

More from the anti-forest, anti-American BusinessGreen article:

Matt Kenna, the attorney for the Western Environmental Law Center, who will argue the case on Tuesday, was also concerned over the broader ramifications for future legal challenges.

“If the Government wins as fully as it’s arguing, it will restrict the public’s ability to sue over any illegal regulations,” he said.

Public interest groups opposed to timber sales from national forests would have to sue the Government over each sale, rather than have a single ruling used as a precedent, but that could just as easily apply to regulations on everything from water management through to air pollution and Medicare. “The Government is swinging for the fences with this one. They’re trying to push the envelope,” he warned.

The current administration has aggressively imposed regulations, which are essentially orders for federal agencies to interpret legislation, which are applied without consulting Congress.

“This case represents another attempt by the Bush Administration to change agency regulations in an attempt to decrease substantive protections and reduce public oversight for projects on our public lands, instead of more openly seeking these important changes through Congress,” said Marc Fink, a senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, which is one of the plaintiffs in the suit.

More lies. Congress wrote and voted in the majority for the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, as well as NEPA, both of which specified categorical exclusions. Congress makes the law. By definition Congress cannot act illegally. Individual congresspeople can act illegally, and Congress itself can act unconstitutionally, but when Congress passes a law, that law is the law and is perforce not illegal.

Matt Kenna and Marc Fink makes their livings suing the government. Lawsuits against the government are their bread and butter. Naturally, as greedheads, they are opposed to anything that might limit their ability to sequester taxpayer dollars into their own pockets via their lawsuits. Matt Kenna and Mark Fink are not morons; they are profiteers.

They couch their arguments in legalese but essentially they are saying they should be allowed to sue the government over anything, and be payed by the government for doing so. The actual condition of our forests is NOT their concern. They could care less how much old-growth burns up. Heck, they are happy to see forests burn. That’s the obvious outcome of their lawsuits to block fuels management and forest restoration, after all.

Note that they try to pin their unrighteous indignation on alleged actions of George W. Bush. That’s the style these days. Bush did it. Anything Bush did is bad, or more properly, anything the government does that is undesirable is Bush’s fault. It’s a political ploy. Again, it has nothing whatsoever to do with actual forests.

Rolf Skar, Matt Kenna, Marc Fink, and the PNW Team 3 IMT have ulterior motives. Their forestry expertise is less than none. Their concern for forests is a sham. They seek forest destruction because they profit by it, politically and especially financially.

Greenpeace also engages in and promotes civil disobedience. They advocate lawbreaking for advancement of their political agenda. So does Al Gore [here]. So does B. Hussein Obama [here, here, here]. Lawbreaking is standard operating procedure for many on the extreme Left.

Note that there is nothing civilly disobedient about this post. We tell the truth about what we know. This post may be disrespectful toward forest killers, but we do so civilly. No property was damaged in the posting of this essay. It was not written on someone else’s smokestack, wall, or sidewalk. The cops did not have to come in to break up a riot. I did not paint my hands purple or shout at anybody in a public meeting.

Civil disrespect. That’s our method. Saving forests is our goal.

6 Oct 2008, 2:18pm
by bear bait


so you have to wonder how the elitist fly fishers, the Steamboaters, feel about the USFS and this fire. They had for years, 20 or more, first Frank Moore and then Jim Van Loan on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Board of Commissioner to protect the North Umpqua for unweighted, no strike indicator, purist fly fishing, catch and release only. And they were vocal in any action they felt would impact the North Umpqua River and diminish the fisheries. This mud bath from every rain event watershed will certainly be a wake up call. There is every chance the Diamond Lake Highway will be closed at times due to landslides and rock falls from this fire… even where it burned lightly on the ground. The Spring fire left a legacy of white snags. There are going to be new ones in different areas. And, outside the Wilderness, in the Spring Burn, they did no salvage logging. Gotta protect those steelhead in the North Umpqua for fly fishers. Nothing else counts. Those aren’t loggers and townspeople from Roseburg fishing that river. Those are important people from all over the world enjoying the River and fine dining, comfortable accommodations, and single use public lands.

6 Oct 2008, 2:18pm
by Bob Zybach


Mike:

These people are dingbats, albeit powerful dingbats. They’ve demonstrated the capability to destroy forests, destroy rural economies, redefine “science,” and write law, among other actions. That’s power.

Whether they are “commies” or not, is another matter. One of my heroes, Paul Robeson, was a Communist, and declared himself as such. And faced consequences for doing so. These people declare themselves “scientists,” and “green businessmen,” and “conservationists,” and are paid by the public as “educators,” and “lawyers,” and “politicians,” and “professors.” Not communists.

Maybe if they were more ethical or more introspective, like Robeson, they might call themselves commies, but they aren’t and don’t. Instead, they might claim you are calling them names, and that name-calling is uncivil, and so you are also being a hypocrite. They’ve been know to twist words to promote their ends.

The same set of arguments might be used to cast doubt on your claims of conspiracy, whether accurate or not. My suspicion is that most of these powerful dingbats are operating almost solely for self-interest, but I’m not certain.

As a forest scientist (and why I’m signing my full name and not using a pseudonym), I’d like to add this observation to the discussion:

When the firefighters parrot the now common “scientific” mantra that:

“these areas are generally managed to promote natural processes, which include fire as a natural and normal part of a healthy environment”

they are not “lying” so much as they are just 100% dead wrong. Here is how the statement might be made factual from a scientific perspective (CAPS are editorial changes):

“both of these areas are generally NOT managed to promote BASIC natural processes, which MUST include HUMAN-MANAGED fire AND FUEL GATHERING as natural and normal partS of a healthy FOREST environment.”

The real problem is that society has bought into an anti-human, anti-business belief system which is dedicated (among other things) to destroying the American economy and our natural and cultural resources.

I don’t know why this is being allowed and encouraged to take place, but I think an international communist conspiracy is not the root cause. Personal greed and lust for recognition and power seem closer to the truth, so near as I can tell. Open collaboration, not conspiracy, seems to be the method by which radical change is accomplished.

Who do we have collaborating to dispel these myths, and to discourage these people?

6 Oct 2008, 4:38pm
by Mike


They self-describe as communists. They call themselves Marxists, preach from Mao’s Little Red Book, and idolize Che Guevarra, Fidel Castro, and Guzman of the Peruvian Shining Path.

Why shouldn’t I call them what they call themselves?

Paul Robeson was old school commie. The new breed are active revolutionaries who throw jugs of gasoline into school buildings, set fire to Ranger Stations, and mail letter bombs to people they don’t know. Sometimes they rob Brinks trucks and kill the guards. Other times they invade banks and harass patrons by blowing loud whistles and disrupting business.

The latter is the Chicago-style civil disobedience taught by young(er) B. Hussein Obama on behalf of ACORN. The Brinks truck robbing and multiple bombings were Weatherman-style “actions” perped by Billy Ayers and his bimbo, both of them mentors of Obama.

Make no mistake about it. The extreme Left is violent and deadly to humans and forests. Their goals are not mysterious or hidden. They aspire to communist revolution and are proud of it. There is no conspiracy, because conspiracies require secrecy and there is no secrecy. It’s out in the open.

Communist revolution requires social disruption. That’s why they seek to destroy the economy. That’s why they seek to destroy forests. It is easier to sway the masses if the masses are cold and starving.

And don’t tell me that the people who burn down old-growth forests do it out of confusion and misguided science. They know exactly what they are doing. They witness first hand the 200 foot flames and firestorm plumes. They know they are dealing death. The pusillanimous lies are lies because the liars know full well that they are lying.

7 Oct 2008, 7:26am
by Tim B.


Actually, neither NEPA nor the Forest Service regulations contained in the Code of Federal regulations indemnify the federal government against judicial review of categorical exclusions. Invoking such a category for a decision only prohibits that decision from being administratively appealed. I believe there’s some constitutional provision (or at least interpretation) that prohibits any limitations on anybody from taking the federal government to court for anything.

7 Oct 2008, 9:39am
by Mike


Technically, this is what the HFRA (written and passed by Congress) says:

H. R. 1904

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

(a) SHORT TITLE.—This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003’’.

SEC. 106. JUDICIAL REVIEW IN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTS.

(a) VENUE.—Notwithstanding section 1391 of title 28, United States Code, or other applicable law, an authorized hazardous fuels reduction project conducted under this title shall be subject to judicial review only in the United States district court for a district in which the Federal land to be treated under the authorized hazardous fuels reduction project is located.

(b) EXPEDITIOUS COMPLETION OF JUDICIAL REVIEW.—In the judicial review of an action challenging an authorized hazardous fuel reduction project under subsection (a), Congress encourages a court of competent jurisdiction to expedite, to the maximum extent practicable, the proceedings in the action with the goal of rendering a final determination on jurisdiction, and (if jurisdiction exists) a final determination on the merits, as soon as practicable after the date on which a complaint or appeal is filed to initiate the action.

(c) INJUNCTIONS.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Subject to paragraph (2), the length of any preliminary injunctive relief and stays pending appeal covering an authorized hazardous fuel reduction project carried out under this title shall not exceed 60 days.

(2) RENEWAL.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—A court of competent jurisdiction may issue 1 or more renewals of any preliminary injunction, or stay pending appeal, granted under paragraph (1).

(B) UPDATES.—In each renewal of an injunction in an action, the parties to the action shall present the court with updated information on the status of the authorized hazardous fuel reduction project.

(3) BALANCING OF SHORT- AND LONG-TERM EFFECTS.—As part of its weighing the equities while considering any request for an injunction that applies to an agency action under an authorized hazardous fuel reduction project, the court reviewing the project shall balance the impact to the ecosystem likely affected by the project of—

(A) the short- and long-term effects of undertaking the agency action; against

(B) the short- and long-term effects of not undertaking the agency action.

8 Oct 2008, 12:18am
by Mike


On further review of the case from a far better source, Tim, you are right and I was wrong.

From the Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute [here]

Summers v. Earth Island Institute (07-463)

Oral argument: Oct. 8, 2008

Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (June 8, 2023)

Earth Island Institute and other conservation groups sued the United States Forest Service after it authorized application of regulations 36 C.F.R. 215.4(a) and 36 C.F.R. 215.12(f) to a planned salvage logging project in the Sequoia National Forest. The conservation groups claimed that the regulations, which limit public notice, comment and administrative appeals, were invalid under the Administrative Procedure Act, which protects the ability of the public to appeal administrative actions. The parties settled the dispute over the regulations as they were applied to the salvage logging project, but the conservation groups continued the suit as a direct facial challenge to the regulations themselves. At issue before the Supreme Court in this case is whether judicial review of the regulations was proper, whether the conservation groups established standing and ripeness to challenge the regulations after settling the controversy over the regulations’ application to the specific project, and whether issuing a nationwide injunction was a proper remedy. The outcome of the case will influence federal agencies’ requirements to provide administrative appeals, the ability of the public to challenge administrative actions, and the scope of equitable remedies against improper applications of agency regulations.

Facts

In 1992, Congress enacted the Forest Service Decisionmaking and Appeals Reform Act (“ARA”). See Brief for Petitioners, Priscilla Summers et al. at 2. The ARA requires the United States Forest Service to establish a notice and comment process for Forest Service projects concerning land and resource management plans. See Brief for Respondents, Earth Island Institute et al. at 1. In 2002, the Forest Service enacted regulations 36 C.F.R. 215.4(a) and 36 C.F.R. 215.12(f), limiting administrative appeals and public comment on projects categorically excluded from documentation in an environmental assessment (“EA”) or environmental impact statement (“EIS”) under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (“NEPA”). See Brief for Petitioners at 3.

Timber sales are categorically excluded from documentation in an EA or EIS under NEPA. See Brief for Respondents at 3. In 2003, as part of its Burnt Ridge Project, the Forest Service planned to sell timber from salvage logging of 238 acres of California’s Sequoia National Forest that had been destroyed by fire the previous summer. See id. at 6. Because timber sales are categorically excluded from an EA or EIS under NEPA, the Forest Service’s 2002 regulations limited public comment and appeals regarding the Burnt Ridge Project. …

Discussion

The Supreme Court’s decision will have an impact with respect to standing and ripeness on the procedure that conservation groups must follow when challenging administrative regulations. See Brief of Amicus Curiae Pacific Legal Foundation in Support of Neither Party at 1–2. The decision will also clarify whether a district court may issue a decision that affects the entire nation, as opposed to only the states within its jurisdiction. See Brief for Petitioners at 40. …

If the Supreme Court decides in favor of the Forest Service, it will make it more difficult for conservation groups to establish standing to challenge administrative regulations in the future. …

On the other hand, if the Supreme Court decides in favor of the conservation groups, the conservation groups may more easily establish standing to challenge administrative regulations in the future. …

However, I was right in that the fate of forests is NOT at issue. The Plaintiffs express no concern about forests, only about their ability to sue the government and get paid for it.

14 Oct 2008, 3:39pm
by YPmule


It is so frustrating to try and get something good done in the forest when every project proposed is stopped by “greenies” - and it makes me angry to see our tax dollars wasted in court. The “greenies” should be putting their money where their mouth is, and out in the woods cutting brush instead of wasting our time and money in the courtroom. I think most of the folks who donate money to “save everything” have not walked into a burning forest or one after it burns. They live in cities and think their donations are for a good cause, but they never go see what that cause is. Also their letters against projects outnumber any local input from folks that would be affected by the projects.

Right now there is a fuels reduction project going on just north of our village. I’m not sure how they got it approved, maybe the small size is keeping it off the “greenie radar”. The locals are glad to see it, but we wonder who is paying for it? Its not salvage logging - and they are leaving way too much merchantable timber to pay for a helicopter.

I haven’t been able to get much info from our local FS, other than its “fuel reduction”. I get the feeling the FS doesn’t want to talk to me about it - maybe my “civil disrespect” is showing.

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