Public lands debate fuels red state failure

A supposed 'gaffe' has set Montana politics alight.

Democratic Senator Jon Tester said hyperbolically that every logging sale in the state is under litigation as his frustration with a century of failed forest policy plagues The Last Best Place.

Only wildfires clearcut with impunity.

Dense Douglas fir, spruce, lodgepole, ponderosa pine stands prevent aspen restoration and hardwood release while opposition to mechanical harvest rages on in the environmental community. No longer natural after a century of fire suppression Montana's forests are building fuels in most habitats where indigenous cultures cleared for millennia.

Montana's Department of Livestock slaughters wild bison that leave Yellowstone National Park to find shelter on national forest lands during deep winter snows yet in both Montana and Wyoming the Bureau of Land Management adopts out, seeks private pastures for, and feeds wild horses. The US Park Service feeds the elk most responsible for infecting domestic cattle with brucellosis. Montana and Wyoming legislatures entertained bills that would remand federal lands to the states so grazing, mining and logging could take place without bound.

As the cheatgrass cycle begins anew on the sage steppe perpetuated by the cattle industry many meteorologists are predicting another active wildfire season in the upper Missouri River basin. Some wildlife agencies have begun reintroducing bighorn sheep to control cheatgrass on public lands where fuels have amassed but they need many acres of open land to thrive.

President Obama has voiced frustration about salmon being managed under overlapping jurisdictions.

Trees growing on public land are not agriculture any more than wild salmon are aquaculture. One part of a solution to forest management woes is to move the US Forest Service from the US Department of Agriculture into Interior where American Indian nations could more easily assume additional responsibilities for stewardship on public land.

If enviros succeed in driving from office the only Democrats who can preserve public lands and leave Republicans to their devices we are truly fucked.


Unknown said...

When did "enviros" and Democrats become enemies? When Tester took office, and turned coat on us.

And if men like Tester are really doing the work of the Timber Lobby and are Republicans in drag, then we're truly fucked anyway.

Ya gotta learn to look beyond labels! Drives me nuts when people like you see a "D" by a name and knowing nothing else about the issues, proclaim that he is doing good work. He is not.

larry kurtz said...

No, he didn't, Mark: Tester has never professed to be a progressive. Besides, your cascade from mental health is worth it to retain a Democrat raising money for my party in the upper Missouri basin.

Sweet of you to leave a little scat in my humble garden, tho.

Unknown said...

Like so many others, LK, you're knee-deep in partisan politics and clueless on issues. I've written, and it was pointed out to Pogie by others, that Tester did indeed, with witnesses, strike a deal in 2006 to fight for roadless lands, among other important issues, including native American claims. He did claim to be one of us, as he needed votes to defeat Morrison. He lied. Lied.


larry kurtz said...

Mark: if can you identify electable alternatives to Senator Tester (Angela McLean electrified the Mansfield/Metcalf Dinner) let us hear some names.