The exploitationists of the Bush administration should be cheering today as a timber company announced its plans to begin logging in the area of the Biscuit Fire.  At first glance the Administration's plan sounds good--"clean out the burned area." However, such plans are typical of the "slash now, pay later" mind set of Bush and his minions.

Take a look at the stories in Yahoo News about the "salvage operation". And, the information available about timber 'snags' and their uses.

What seems to be happening is a pattern, that's manifested itself in other realms: (1) create a crisis and then offer to solve it; (2) use euphemism to hide intent; and (3) ignore all scientific or informed advice contrary to The Plan. Details and some analysis below.

Create a crisis
We know that the administration's characterization of the Social Security system is a result of their own tapping into the trust fund to pay for their mismanaged government. A system rather like taking the money out of the piggy bank and inserting IOU's for later.  Their plans for exploiting natural resources is no different.

"Oh, my, look at all the burned timber, we need to clear the forests to prevent mudslides and other untoward events."  Using some interesting verbal legerdemain, the administration takes an argument that might apply in Southern California and applies it to Oregon.

A timber company plans to start logging next week in a burned area that had been reserved as old growth forest, setting up a confrontation with environmentalists who believe leaving the dead trees standing is better for fish, wildlife and the forest.
....The current plan for the Biscuit fire area calls for logging 370 million board feet of dead timber from 19,465 acres, less than 5 percent of the area burned by the fire. More than half of it comes from roadless areas, which the Bush administration hopes to open to timber harvest after changing a Clinton administration policy that had barred logging there.

What is this other than #2: a Healthy Forest Initiative?  Like "Clean Air" and "Clean Water" this is just another euphemism covering an intent to exploit natural resources without regard for the price to be paid down the line.

Ignore all advice to the contrary
If the Bush administration's unwilling to consider scientific advice concerning stem cell research and global warming, why would anyone think they'd pay attention to experts in forestry and the environmental sciences?

Critics warn that the revised rules will open up these lands -- including old growth forests, roadless areas and sensitive wildlife habitats -- to industry to log, drill and build roads. The changed rules eliminate the environmental review process for forest management plans -- a process that provides the public with information about forest planning and a chance to participate in management decisions about public lands. In addition, the revised regulations eviscerate some of the nation's most effective wildlife protections, which required the Forest Service to ensure "viable populations" of endangered fish and animals. Finally, the new rules require "independent audits" -- conducted by timber companies at the discretion of regional foresters. The new forest regulations will take effect after a 60-day public comment period.source,

Originally posted to greatbasin2 on Sat Jan 29, 2005 at 02:49 PM PST.

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