Thursday, August 08, 2002

How Scorched Was My Valley

The New York Times actually ran an op-ed about federal land management that was more than an environmentalist screed about the need for more public land purchases. The author points out that for decades state and local governments have been subsidizing the risks taken by people who build homes in areas where large forest fires are a significant hazard. Thus, when the people in these newly affordable homes are beset by the peril they knew they were living amongst, the government must spend millions of dollars and risks the health and safety of thousands of firefighters trying to put out a blaze that otherwise could have been allowed to burn itself out. Insanity. He advises tree thinning and brush removal – exactly the common sense techniques vociferously opposed by large environmental groups who claim they represent a stealth reintroduction of commercial logging onto federally-owned forests. Not only is that not so, even if it were, a limited reintroduction of commercial logging would be a small price to pay for federal forests that were actually managed to minimize expense and injury – to local residents, taxpayers, and firefighters alike.


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