Thursday, February 13, 2014

Former South Dakota legislator up to his areolae in logging fraud

Alan Aker is a long time campaign supporter of earth haters like John Thune, Kristi Noem and Larry Rhoden. He is a vocal critic of equal rights for women and American Indians. The GOP former lawmaker now Meade County Commissioner has billed that county $31,000 for logging on federal ground under an unwritten agreement with the Forest Service.
Meade County is one of two Black Hills counties – the other is Lawrence – that have been criticized in a state report for their handling of local campaigns to control mountain pine beetle. The state’s study – done to assess the effectiveness of local efforts to control the beetle – found an unusual percentage of healthy trees were cut in the areas sampled in those two counties. In the fall of 2013, Meade County solicited proposals for additional mountain pine beetle efforts. Aker Woods was one of six companies that submitted a bid. Lehman Brothers Forestry and Custom Tree Care Inc. submitted bids that were less than the $18.76 bid submitted by Aker Woods. Despite being the third lowest bidder, Aker Woods was awarded a contract along with Lehman Brothers. [Joel Ebert, Beetle battle: Logger defends ID methods in the Black Hills, Pierre Capital Journal]
There aren't enough litigators to sue the Forest Service allowing Republicans to infiltrate management of the Black Hills National Forest.
Insect mapping was a cooperative effort between Neiman Timber Company, South Dakota Division of Resource Conservation and Forestry, State of Wyoming Forestry Division, Weston Natural Resource Conservation District, Weston County Weed & Pest, USDI-Bureau of Land Management, and the USDA-Forest Service. [press release, Black Hills National Forest]
There is no evidence to support the claim that logging is effective insect control so the logical conclusion is that BHNF chief Craig Bobzien is on the take.

Meanwhile, Aker's GOP colleague in Montana, Jason Priest, has been charged with felony assault.

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