March 06, 2005

Forest Action Needed

DKos diarist emmasnacker notes a proposed rule change that would allow forest planning to proceed without environmental impact statements. Logging companies could potentially come in and do their thing without regard for local fishing or tourist industries, for the flood hazard to communities downstream of riverbottoms that fill up with silt after a clearcut, or for habitat considerations.

Go read, and take the two or three minutes to click over to Heartwood and send a letter. It's the least we can do. As someone in the comments said, "... The planet will be fine...we are the ones who are in trouble."

Posted by natasha at March 6, 2005 09:11 AM | Activism | Technorati links |

The comment is important because in the end, it's not the Earth that needs saving, it's our own ass. Gaea will heal Herself with or without humanity here to get in her way. She operates on a clock that moves far too deliberate for our puny lives to comprehend.

She has survived cataclysmic upheaval, mass extinctions, global climate change, and Adam Sandler.

She will tolerate us for a short time, allow us to choose between being an asset or a liability. Then She will act accordingly.

And there isn't a power in any church, synogague, mosque or cedar grove that will stop Her.

There is but one Natural Law: Adapt or Cease to Exist.

Posted by: David Aquarius at March 6, 2005 01:32 PM

Exactly so. Nature doesn't extend credit to species who consume all their resources.

Posted by: natasha at March 6, 2005 04:34 PM

I've given up on thinking there are even practical limits on the greed and venality of the thugs we have in power-- sometimes I think they even believe their own spin.

Posted by: Hugo at March 6, 2005 07:27 PM

...ok, so I'm going to be piling up all that liberal cred I've built up over the last year at Ruminate This and my blog and setting it on fire here, but - what the hell - I'm not the Grumpy Forester for no good reason...

...while there is every good reason to question the addition of a categorical exclusion category to allow Forest Plans to be developed or modified by C.E., two points need to be made.

1) There are different levels of C.E., and some of them still require a public comment period. A quick read of the proposed revision to 36 CFR 219 suggests that this new category will be in the group requiring public comment.

2) Logging companies cannot potentially "come in and do their thing" because of this proposed change. Logging companies can't ever just "come in and do their thing". The proposed change is to forest Land Management Plans, which do not authorize specific projects on the ground. Specific projects are still required to be developed by grumpy foresters and grumpy -ologists and other grumpy specialists, all employees of the Federal Government, and analyzed under the terms of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) the same way they always have been, primarily through Environmental Analysis (EA) documents or through Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), just as they have been in the past. The decisions coming out of that analysis may not make everybody happy (never have), but they are unaffected by the proposed planning rule change...

Posted by: Jack K. at March 7, 2005 09:26 AM

Jack - No, your liberal cred is far from being dented by your comments ;) In fact, thank you for elaborating.

But... imo, it's a good idea to oppose without argument any move made by this administration (or any other administration, were one in office) to remove any obstacle to businesses exploiting public lands. Because they don't do this sort of thing all at once, just like our FCC regs didn't get utterly f***ed in one fell swoop. It's a little chip here, a little crack there, and sooner or later the whole edifice of beneficial restraint is ready to come crashing down with a well-placed blow.

And your comment doesn't assuage my concern because the steady drumbeat of this government, even before Bush got in, has been to outsource government jobs. This includes forest service jobs, and Bush has really picked up the pace. Do you think it's impossible that a company owned by the same holding company that owns a lumber company could end up being the outsourcer of choice for land planning reviews? I sure don't.

They've already appointed extraction industry executives to positions regulating the industry, what ideologically prevents them from slowly knocking down the obstacles to outsourcing government decision making semi-directly to the industries in question rather than importing industry flacks to work in government?

I think you're too trusting in the permanence of the regulatory process. These people have yet to meet a law regulating business activities that they like, and they're under no compunction to feel shy at the moment.

Posted by: natasha at March 7, 2005 08:00 PM