Monday, September 19, 2016

Small government Thune wants another layer of bureaupublicanism for fuel treatments

After a century of destructive ranching practices invasive grasses infest most of western South Dakota.

Cost to We the People for managing the Pautre Fire was about $1 million. No livestock was lost and there was minimal damage to fences. 3,519 acres of federal and 7,160 acres of private property were cleared of cheatgrass and other invasive species. There were no injuries and the only structure lost was a derelict rural schoolhouse.

The US Forest Service knew an advancing cold front would aid the clearing of the foot-high grasses and mowed a fire break instead of using a disk to make a fire line. Snow showers ended the burn.

Senator John Thune (earth hater-SD) is touting S.1100: the Prescribed Burn Approval Act of 2015 as a solution to a problem that doesn't even exist.
[The bill] Bars any federal agency from authorizing a prescribed burn on federal land if, for the county or contiguous county in which the federal land is located, the grassland fire danger index indicates a high, very high, or extreme danger of grassland fire or the Forest Service has declared a very high or extreme fire danger, unless the agency obtains prior approval from the applicable state government and local fire officials. Makes a federal agency that authorizes a prescribed burn liable for any damage to private property, notwithstanding the Federal Tort Claims Act or any state law. [ProPublica]
"Ready. Fire. Aim." Custer-based Wildfire Today lowered the boom on South Dakota's GOP senior US Senator.
Our position is that it is very appropriate for the legislative Branch to provide oversight of actions taken by the Executive Branch of government. However, that oversight should NOT be a knee-jerk reaction based on the quick assumptions and guesses of a Senator about what caused a particular outcome. Wait until the facts are in, THEN provide reasoned advice based on science. Politicians should take a breath, and resist the overwhelming temptation to criticize the administration of the other party before the facts are known. [excerpt, Wildfire Today]
Federal agencies always coordinate prescribed burns with local and state officials while using weather models to optimize fuel treatment effectiveness.
Neither the [US] Forest Service [nor] the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are commenting on criticism from South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune over the handling of prescribed burns in the area. But both stand by the use of controlled burns as a solid management tool – even when they get out control as was the case recently at Wind Cave National Park. While U.S. Sen. John Thune has introduced a bill that would require collaboration between federal and local officials before a prescribed burn on federal lands when fire danger is high, that concept is already in place – leaving some to wonder if the congress [member] is simply grand standing ahead of an election year. KBHB Radio
On the same day the Cold Brook Fire was lit ahead of forecast snow and rain land managers should have put the drip torch to every parcel of public ground in a triangle with points at Wright, Wyoming; Bismarck, North Dakota and Brush, Colorado.

A study funded by the Forest Service shows litigation can affect local businesses and economies but the Black Hills National Forest is largely devoid of logging lawsuits because too few people care about that threatened ecosystem.

Thune is a flip flopper, most recently after overwhelming data confirms human-induced climate change.

A better idea would be to make the Forest Service look more like the Bureau of Reclamation, move it out of USDA and put it into the Department of Interior.
An inspector general’s report finds the U.S. Forest Service lacks a consistent way to pick high-priority wildfire fuels reduction projects, doesn’t use scientifically based risk assessments to choose them and has been over-counting the number of acres it has treated to reduce wildfire risk. [Rob Chaney, The Missoulian]
Hey, John: how is heaping another layer of bureaupublicanism on a federal agency, whose budget is pinched already by your political party's anal retentiveness, conservative or sustainable?

In related stories, the conservative Heritage Foundation has decried payments to welfare ranchers and Representative Krisi Noem (earth hater-SD) wants more welfare for her farmer/donors.

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