18 Oct 2009, 3:20pm
Federal forest policy Politics and politicians
by admin

Holocausters Capture USFS

The enviro litigation industry has bled taxpayers and agencies dry for years [here], both by absconding with $billions in public funds and promoting the incineration of our public forests in catastrophic megafires.

The holocausters have also “captured” the US Forest Service and now dictate forest policy at all levels of the agency.

Montana Senator Jon Tester’s bait-and-switch Burn Baby Burn wilderness bill [here, here, here] is one result of political shenanigans by pro-holocaust extremists, and the acquiescence if not active participation in those shenanigans by the USFS.

Sadly, the outcome of all the backroom dealing will be more and bigger fires, more destruction and devastation, and landscape-scale environmental and economic damages that last lifetimes.

In the following two letters written by Jim Rathbun, USFS retired, former Forest Supervisor, Kootenai National Forest, he gives us a glimpse into the duplicity and corruption of politicians and USFS officials in Montana. The situation there is shocking but not exceptional. Mr. Rathbun has given us permission to post his letters.

Three comments follow the letters, which distill the issues and portend the fiery disasters sure to follow if Tester, his comrades, and the USFS continue down their current path.

****************

January 22, 2024

To: Mr. Paul Bradford, Forest Supervisor
Kootenai National Forest
Libby, Montana 59923

Dear Mr. Bradford:

I appreciated the opportunity to meet with you last week and to have the opportunity to express some of my concerns about the management of the Kootenai National Forest and the Forest Service in general.

Among the concerns we discussed is the planning process you are engaged in with the Kootenai Forest Stakeholders Coalition (KFSC). I have read the Memorandum of Understanding that you signed with the chairman of the Coalition, Mr. Konzen, on September 29, 2006.

Since our meeting, I have seen a newspaper article that occurred in The Western News, that included the names of the 15 people on the board of directors of the KFSC. I was somewhat shocked, but not surprised, at who some of these people are. The names include the who’s who of known environmental activists in Lincoln and Sanders Counties, if not all of northwest Montana and beyond. The organizations represented by the board include Sierra Club, WildWest Institute, Montana Wilderness Association, Lands Council in Spokane, Eureka Rural Development Council, Kootenai River Development Council, Yaak Valley Forest Council, and Cabinet Resources Group. The overwhelming number of these organizations may be considered radical environmental organizations that have a long, and not so long, history of opposing activities on the national forests; a number of those right here on the Kootenai NF. Only four or five members of the board are not, in my opinion, strong, if not so-called radical, environmentalists.

Several of the people on the board are members of, or associated with, the Lincoln County Coalition, Inc, which is frantically trying to complete and have introduced, what is called the Lincoln County Community Development Bill. That bill would create small planning groups, I call them cells, throughout the counties throughout the National Forest System, to direct planning and management of the resources on the national forests, and, other lands.

You said that you will have nothing to do with the Lincoln County Coalition and the Bill they are drafting, because it has to do with legislation. However, in fact, you do have something to do with the Lincoln County Coalition. Some of the people most involved with that Coalition, are also the drivers in the KFSC. That is a well known fact. You may say that you are not involved with that process, and the people associated with it, but you know who the people are, what their activities are, and what their product is. You may deny that, however, the perception is certainly there.

Further, it was stated at the Lincoln County Commissioners meeting, on January 10, by Robyn King, that members of the Coalitions, Lincoln County and Stakeholders, went to Missoula and discussed the LCCD Bill with Regional Forester Kimbell, and that it met with her approval. So, it is obvious that the Forest Service is fully aware of what the Lincoln County Coalition, and apparently, the KFSC is up to, regarding legislation.

John Konzen is the Chairman of the KFSC. He is also heavily involved, together with Lincoln County Commissioner Roose, in the drafting and lobbying for the Community Development Bill. Mr. Konzen is also an elected public official that you, as Forest Supervisor, have to deal with on other official issues, by law. I truly believe that Mr. Konzen has a serious conflict of interest, or could be perceived to have one. I believe that perception carries over to you, due to your relationship with him and the KFSC.

The appearance is, and, I believe the fact is, these coalitions are an opportunity for special interests to sit around and make deals, or negotiate management terms, (I’ll give you this, if you give me that”), then go to the Forest Service to seek approval and to seek decisions for management and allocation of land along those lines. I don’t believe it is legal, but if it is technically legal, I believe it is totally inappropriate for an agency such as the Forest Service to be involved in that kind of “backdoor” decisionmaking activity.

For the reasons expressed above, I respectfully request that you immediately employ the termination clause contained in the Memorandum of Understanding that you signed, together with Mr. Konzen, on September 29, 2006, and inform Mr. Konzen that you are terminating the Memorandum of Understanding at the end of 60 days. Further, I request that you, and any employees or associates of the Kootenai National Forest, refrain from any further participation in any activity with the KFSC until the 60 day period has lapsed.

A Particular Issue:

I have read that certain members of the KFSC have identified what they consider to be the need for some 20,000 acres of designated wilderness in the Yaak Drainage, most specifically the Roderick Mountain area. Indications are they seek to reach agreement within the Stakeholder Coalition, that the wilderness should be recommended. As I recall, the Roderick area and the area North from Seventeen Mile Creek, all the way to the Yaak River, is dominated by coniferous forest and has considerable evidence of past road construction and timber harvest around the perimeter. I believe the potential for very productive timber management on most of the area is moderate to high. The elevation of the area ranges from something like 2700 feet to a maximum of just over 6600 feet, with several smaller mountains with tops of less than 6000, feet. Most of the area is well below 5000 feet in elevation.

This area has no outstandingly remarkable features that would justify wilderness designation. In fact, this ecosystem is well represented throughout the Kootenai National Forest and the Yaak Drainage. Since the area is mostly timbered, the creation of heavy fuel loads, and catastrophic forest fires, if left unmanaged, is guaranteed. The 1910, burn wiped out thousands and thousands of acres of this kind of ecosystem. I could go on and on.

I certainly oppose any wilderness designation within the Yaak drainage, or anywhere on the Kootenai National Forest.

Again, thank you for asking me to meet with you. I look forward to your decision on this matter.

Sincerely,

Jim Rathbun

****************

February 8, 2024

To: Mr Paul Bradford, Forest Supervisor
Kootenai National Forest
1101 U.S. Highway 2 West
Libby, MT 59923

Dear Mr. Bradford:

I have received your letter dated January 30, 2007, in which you essentially deny any knowledge of the Lincoln County Coalition, its membership, or the Lincoln County Community Development Bill (LCCDB) the coalition has prepared and is promoting. You do acknowledge that your participation in lobbying or proposing legislation is prohibited.

On September 7, 2006, I visited the Lincoln County commissioners at the Lincoln County Court House. All three of the commissioners were present: John Konzen, Marianne Roose, and Rita Windom.

I had a draft copy of the LCCDB with me and asked the commissioners what it was all about. Commissioners Konzen and Roose jumped to their feet and, rather excitedly, assured me that it was just something that they had been working on with some folks for at least two years. They assured me that it was just a draft and still in the early stages of consideration. I don’t recall their exact words, but that was the gist of their response.

Five days later all three of the commissioners were in Washington, DC, lobbying for the continuation of the Secure Rural Schools and Communities Self-Determination Act of 2000, which was scheduled to expire at the end of 2006.

On September 12, commissioners Konzen and Roose, accompanied by Robyn King of the Yaak Valley Forest Council (YVFC), and also a member of the Lincoln County Coalition, I understand, met with representatives from the offices of Senators Burns and Baucus, for the purpose of promoting the LCCDB.

During their visit to DC, they also met with Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth, for the purpose of presenting and promoting the LCCDB.

Commissioner Rita Windom was not invited to attend the LCCDB promotion meetings. Nor was she aware that they had taken place.

On January 10, 2007, I attended a Lincoln County Commission meeting at the court house. Commissioners Konzen and Windom were present. Commissioner Roose was not present.

At that meeting Robyn King from the YVFC, representing the Lincoln County Coalition, presented the LCCDB proposal. During some questioning near the end of the meeting, she said that the LCCDB had been presented to Regional Forester Gail Kimbell, and that Ms Kimbell approved of the effort. Perhaps you attended that meeting. She did not give a date as to when that meeting and presentation took place.

You signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Kootenai Forest Stakeholder Coalition President, County Commissioner John Konzen, on September 29, 2006. The efforts of the Stakeholders closely tracks the efforts presented in the LCCDB. And, the same people are deeply involved in both coalitions. You must certainly be aware of that.

You claim that you “… have not and will not review any proposal from this group.”

Page 15 of a 16 page pamphlet produced and widely distributed by the Lincoln County Coalition, is a copy of a letter from Chief Bosworth to Senator Baucus. The date of that letter is not included, perhaps intentionally.

In the letter Bosworth explained that he met with King, Konzen, and Roose. He didn’t mention, specifically, the LCCDB, but he did present the theme of what the Bill contains and what the Lincoln County Coalition has been pushing. Bosworth expressed his support for the efforts of the Lincoln County coalition. If there wasn’t some connection between the LCCDB, and the actions he mentions, why would he even bother to send a letter to Senator Baucus? I believe it was to indicate to Senator Baucus that the Forest Service supports the proposed legislation.

Chief Bosworth also states that Supervisor Bradford and Regional Forester Kimbell also applaud the efforts of the Coalition. Yourself and Kimbell received carbon copies of the letter.

I believe, as do many other people, that your participation with the Kootenai Forest Stakeholder Coalition, considering the parallel objectives, actions, membership and leadership, with and of the Lincoln County Coalition and the LCCDB, constitutes a conflict of interest. I ask, again, that you terminate the MOU.

If you wish to discuss this matter, I am available.

Sincerely,

Jim Rathbun

****************

The following is from the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act:

Consideration of Environmental Impacts

Sec. 102. The Congress authorizes and directs that, to the fullest extent possible,: (1) the policies, regulations, and public laws of the United States shall be interpreted and administered in accordance with the policies set forward in this Act, and (2) all agencies of the Federal Government shall -

(C) include in every recommendation or report on proposals or legislation and other major Federal actions significantly affecting the human environment, a detailed statement by the responsible official on -

( i ) the environmental impact of the proposed action,
(ii) any adverse environmental affects which cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented,
(iii) alternatives to the proposed action,
(iv) the relationship between local short-term uses of man’s environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity, and
(v) any irreversible and irretrievable commitment of resources which would be involved in the proposed action, should it be implemented. Prior to making any detailed statement, the responsible Federal official shall consult with and obtain the comments of any Federal agency which has jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to any environmental impact involved. Copies of such statement and the comments and views of the appropriate Federal, State and local agencies, which are authorized to develop and enforce environmental standards, shall be made available to the President, the Council on Environmental Quality and to the public as provided by section 552 of title 5, United States Code, and shall accompany the proposal through the existing agency review process…

And the direction goes on from there another four or five pages.

Has Tester complied with this Law in the establishment of his Act? The Kootenai NF denies that it had anything to do with The Three Rivers Challenge. Have all of the pros and cons for all of the environmental components within his wildernesses and other land allocations and uses in his Act been thoroughly reviewed and evaluated? How about alternatives? How about the lost productivity? The 30,000 acre Roderick Wilderness area in the Three Rivers Challenge is mostly productive timber land.

I hope a lot of people ask the questions.

Jim

****************

October 18, 2023

Jim,

Your 2007 letters to Bradford absolutely nailed what was going on and the illegal aspects of the “collaboration”. It appears to me that Commissioners Konzen and Roose flagrantly violated Montana open meeting laws (documented by Bosworth’s letter and more) by conducting public business with no public notice of their meetings, no agenda, no minutes, no opportunity for public comment, etc.

If we multiple use advocates only had the litigation war chest like the extreme preservationists, we could file a lawsuit against the Commissioners and expose the dishonesty of Tester’s claims about “public support” for his Bill that left the general public out of the process.

Fred

****************

October 18, 2023

Thanks, Fred.

I have tried to get the local people active, but they haven’t budged. I have boxes of letters that I wrote back nearly 20 years ago for people to send. I took the commissioners on tours of the Forest while things were going to hell. They just would not believe that what was happening right in front of their faces was actually happening. I don’t know what it will take.

I took a drive, about 100 miles, around the Yaak this morning. Miles and miles of dense, overstocked, stands of timber. A lot of it has to be stagnated. Lots of dead and down. Terrible fuel hazards. Unbroken expanses of it.

In 1967 I was on the Sundance Fire less than 50 miles west of the Yaak drainage. That fire went 26 map miles in less than 12 hours and burned over 50,000 acres. I was on the R4 fire overhead team and we got to the fire Sunday morning. It had burned Friday night into Saturday morning. Sixty MPH winds, with 300 mph winds during the firestorm.

There is an article called “The Devil’s Picnic” in the July 1968, National Geographic, that tells about it. I received a copy of the article from National Geographic because I was on the overhead team. Pack River shoreline, inside the bends, were white with dead fish. I was on quite a few fires, but none like this one. It could happen so easy on the Yaak. It is just sitting there, waiting.

Jim

18 Oct 2009, 3:26pm
by Fred


Forest Service not involved? It seems more than coincidence to me that the Forest Service manages to close the areas involved in these wilderness bills to all motorized use just before the Bill is coming up for a vote. Remember the language in Tester’s Bill for many of the special designations states that motorized access including snowmobiling is permitted “only on approved, designated trails and routes in existence as of the date of this Act.” (Bill, pp. 68, 71,73).

We have seen the Forest Service close all the trails on the entire Three Rivers Ranger District to motorized access, all the the Badger Two Medicine to motorized (including snowmobiles), all of the North Fork Flathead (except a few groomed snowmobile trails), and the Galton project on the Kootenai in the process of closing more.

Now, in addition to Tester’s Bill, we see the Bills being proposed for the Rocky Mountain Front, the Thompson Seton (Galton area), and N. Fork Flathead. Forest Service not involved? It seems to me the Forest Service has been implementing the Y2Y wildness scheme for years.

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