Commentary by H.G. Listiak
California Fires Force Senate To Wake Up
Welcome to my world. With all the wildfires in California, the U.S. Senate finally woke up last week. Why it might be a good idea to stop tap dancing and do a stomp dance on forest fires. They approved a management plan allowing the expanded tree thinning of 20 million acres to reduce the risk of fires. This as the lower chamber approved 2.9 billion dollars for fire protection and fighting, as part of a spending bill for the Interior Department. The Senate compromise must now be merged with legislation passed by the House last May, to allow more aggressive, widespread tree cutting than the Senate wants. The House version is kind of a modified version of President Bush's Healthy Forest Initiative, which I feel is at least 10 years overdue, and I'll bet a stuffed spotted owl that fire victims in the West would agree with that. This legislation and initiative would only be a start. I agree with the western state's Senators, who say, for those who have been so worried that we're going to log the forest to death, now you have watched them burned to death. It's time to fix it. The Bush Administration says the Senate bill will provide the flexibility to manage public lands wisely, implementing a forest plan good for both the environment and the economy. The tree huggers, of course, don't like any of this. They put on their hiking boots, hoping to foot drag some more. They say it would allow forest thinning without environmental reviews and with limited, and in some cases, no judicial review. That judicial review nonsense is still going on in California. Well liberal judges, you can drop your damn review now. The evidence has all been burned up, as I see it ... I'm H.G. Listiak.