25 June 2002

Burning tree-huggers at the stake

I've been listening to all of the talk show hucksters and politicos blather on about how these wildfires are all the fault of the "wacko" environmentalists who've impeded US Forest Service fire prevention efforts and it has raised my ire -- at the boneheaded numbskull gibberish of the Arizona AM talkers and outrage at prattling politicans who are using natural disaster to propagandize and point fingers, playing the blame game instead of seeking an honest plan of resolution for the future. Over the weekend, KTAR Michael Hagerty waxed on and on in regards to "wacko environmentalists", yesterday KXAM John Dayl soliloquize on how he's chuckling over the environmentalists causing this predicament, and this morning I heard KFYI Barry Young continuously castigate some environmental group referenced in today's EJ Montini column. The problem with these clod-pated pontificators is that while they're full of mythical conjecture and speculative jingoism, they're short on factual evidence.

Take for instance, KFYI Barely Young's repeated references to the Southwest Forest Alliance, making light of their statement that there were "only two or three instances" of where Forest Service fire prevention efforts were challenged. What Young didn't mention was the meat of the column that listed these facts:

Last year, Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho asked the General Accounting Office to identify all of the Forest Service's fuel-reduction projects in the nation and tell him how many have been challenged. The report states that there were 1,671 such projects in fiscal year 2001. "Of these projects," the report reads, "20 (about 1 percent) had been appealed and none had been litigated." In other words, no lawsuits.

And accusatory rhetoric spewed by Senator Kyl, JD Hayworth, and JD Hull is entirely devoid of credibility - when queried on claims that Forest Service spends 40% of it's budget on legal battles and asked for specific instances where the Forest Service was prevented from carrying out fire prevention efforts, they and their staff could not cite specifics, but retorted that they were "speaking in general terms".

There have been many legal challenges over logging - but the absence or presence of the logging industry really doesn't have much bearing on any wildfire discussion. Logging doesn't alleviate brush and younger growth areas in close proximity to residential areas, which are the areas that should be cleared for safety purposes. According to the Sierra Club, they rarely oppose fire prevention acts, except in certain instances ...

Not that I'm a "tree hugger" myself - but this garbage being strewn out by Arizona elected officials and the AM talk show hosts is totally disingenous and uninformed ...


tree huggers are stinkers

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