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Long, but good article..........

Paul Bunyan Meets Sierra Sue Happy and the Democrats
Diane Alden
Aug. 14, 2002

Those of you who went to school BPC (Before Political Correctness) might recall Northwoods folk hero Paul Bunyan. Paul was the legendary creation of lumberjacks like my great-grandfather.

These tough and resilient men worked in the big woods of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan in the mid- to late-1800s. Ordinary working men, mostly immigrants, they lived in frontier logging camps inventing stories and folk heroes in order to pass the long winter nights. Paul and his blue ox, Babe, were part of the legend. Pre-PC folk heroes like Paul and Babe captured the imagination of America's grade-school children. But that was then and this is now.

These days the politically correct and powerful Sierra Club is having a contest for America's schoolchildren. The idea is to give Paul Bunyan a makeover. No, what it really amounts to is re-education camp a la the Chinese Red Guard's Cultural Revolution. The idea is to deconstruct and remake folk heroes like Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, Sunbonnet Sue, Mike Fink and others by reconstructing them into politically correct green icons.

A Sierra Club website directs children to deconstruct old Paul into a more acceptable image for a new age. The site states: "Paul has repented for past abuse of our forests and is volunteering with Sierra Club. To help Paul tell his story to children, we are looking for help updating the legends and tall tales of Paul Bunyan. The older stories do not tell of his transition to a tree planter, and how his latest cold blew down the white pines in the BWCAW (Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness) when he sneezed."

This particular deconstruction is from a Minnesota-based Sierra Club website. The "sneeze" they are referring to are the half-million acres of trees blown down in straight-line winds that hit the area on July 4, 1999. What the Sierra Club doesn't tell you or your children is that salvage operations to clean up the mess are being totally stopped because of litigation from environmental groups like the Sierra Club.


Up Canada Way

On the other side of the border, Canadians responded to the devastation by clear-cutting a swath of trees on their side. As policy, the Canadian answer to the nuttiness of American environmental groups is to take measures to save their forests. Canadians somehow find a way to use common sense such as selective cutting of trees, even the evil and dreaded clear cutting in some places, plus salvaging wood scrap, taking down diseased old growth and keeping track of various diseases which have struck their forests.

Somehow the Canadians have managed to devise a sensible plan to deal with the forest problems BEFORE they get out of hand. It seems, with some notable exceptions, their environmental community actually cooperates in forming these plans rather than consistently litigating against forest management plans.

Forestry in Canada is about optimizing forest and "ecosystem" health while allowing local rural economies to have some benefit from tree cutting and replanting. But then Canadian green organizations don't rake in the kind of money that American greens do.

Going to court to prevent any kind of mechanical removal of trees, or adopting an elitist high-horse attitude, or demonizing ALL logging and ALL loggers as the devil incarnate is not the way Canadian greens operate. There is no percentage in having the kind of attitude American greens have adopted.

In fact, most Canadian green troubles come as a result of the coterie of their neighbors south of the Canadian border. It is America's spoiled green brats who go to British Columbia and plague them with ideas about the Wildlands Project as they attempt to tell Canadians what to do with their forests. The Canadians are actually managing quite well and have become pretty adept at ignoring them.

My advice to Canadians: You have enough problems with forest fires already. Don't add to them by adopting unrealistic American environmental policy and make things worse.

American green guerrillas are heavily financed by American foundations and trusts from Pew to Ted Turner to whatever leftist Multibillion-dollar foundation is looking to centrally plan North American economies.

Meanwhile, back in Paul Bunyan land, when the fires come to northern Minnesota – and they will – the Boundary Water Canoe Area will burn. Foresters who know and understand this place intimately believe that super-heated crown fires and rotting-wood rubbish will fuel a tinder-box-dry conflagration. The effect will be akin to a nuclear blast going off.

If the fires are hot enough, the forests and soils will burn to bedrock, releasing toxic substances into the watershed. If the fires spread, surrounding small towns will go as well.

Not all forest fires have a devastating effect. Some fires are good. But the fires of the last 10 years are catastrophic fires, in some cases reaching temperatures of 2,000 degrees. Ground turns to glass and nothing much will grow for decades.

The question begs to be asked, where is commonsense forest management in all this U.S.? Why don't we have policies that work for the forests, the communities in which they exist, helpful to critters, community and people alike? Why do ignorant courts and stupid politicians continue to prostitute themselves to America's out-of-control greens?

Common sense and forest management should not be antithetical. But American greens have made that the case. When the BWCA does explode with the impact of a nuclear device, Minnesota's last stand of 67,000 acres of 400-year-old white pine will in all likelihood burn down too.

Failure to Learn From Experience

Right after the catastrophic fires of 2000 which burned millions of acres all over the West, including Montana, environmental groups sued the Bush administration to block removal of charred trees. In the Bitterroot National Forest of Montana, The Wilderness Society and American Wildlands filed a suit barring removal of potential fuel for the next set of fires.

Their reasons for this were that they think the public comment period had not been long enough and therefore violated federal regulations. What that means is that they didn't have time to get the preprinted postcards to their membership in time. Or perhaps the big paycheck from the Pew Foundation didn't show up in the mail to pay for multimedia campaign and post card blitz, TV ads, radio announcements and parties for Clinton's bunch in Washington.

Congressional testimony following the Clinton roadless initiative, which was brought about through executive order, indicated that Pew spent $4.5 million in a successful attempt to influence the Clinton administration to go the green way. Of course, just before he left office, he obliged them and with a stroke of the pen placed approximately 60 million acres in a roadless condition, thereby making it that much more difficult to fight fires.

It is amazing that environmental groups, elite foundations and politicians living thousands of miles away from an area can cavalierly set policy for that area whether or not that policy is sensible OR destructive.

Greens and politicians playing fast and loose with people's lives and property is both unconstitutional and cruel. That contemptuous attitude does not take into account that badly managed federal forests create problems for ALL forests, private and public.

Tactics are used which do not do the environment any favors. By using phony endangered status of the bull trout in 2000, firefighting efforts were curtailed or stymied. That fire burned over 300,000 acres, 20 percent of the Bitterroot's 1.5 million acres. Never mind that 1,500 people fled the area.

A report by Audrey Hudson in the Washington Times related that firefighters said they were stopped from pumping water out of creeks to fight the blazes lest the pumping injure the trout. Yet the extreme heat boiled the water and converted it into steam, leaving the streams dry and the fish dead.

One firefighter stated, "It's absolutely ridiculous the way they are doing this." Another firefighter said the refusal to allow fire retardant near Philipsburg, Mont., because of the threat to bull trout allowed that fire to grow to 42,000 acres.

The Sierra Club also opposes salvaging the timber, saying the logs should stay put because downed and burned trees reduce erosion and provide habitat for woodpeckers.

Ye gads and little fishes! That is like saying don't give your child a blood transfusion because his death will reduce the surplus population and allow you to buy the BMW you've had your eye on.

Again it is a Sierra Club, simple-minded, one-size-fits-all answer to all fires and all forests. No forest can be dealt with in a collective manner using the same template time after time. It does not take a brain surgeon or a conservative writer to figure that out – a dose of common sense is all that is needed.

Catastrophic fires leave zip habitat for woodpeckers or anything else. Catastrophic fires, which the current fires are, leave nothing behind to hold the soil during torrential rains. Water runs off such soil like a tsunami hitting a treeless atoll. Because of the number of acres burned, the erosion and silt will clog up waterways, plus release toxic substances in the ground water.

Catastrophic fires create a situation EVERY bit as bad as the worst case of clear-cutting.

Fire can be a good thing when it is low intensity. But low-intensity fires are not what is happening in the West today. High-temperature blazes not only damage the forests but also destroy animal habitat that will take decades to recover. Yet the Sierra Club continues blindly to push for policies that don't WORK.

In her testimony before congress in 1997, Ann Hanus, assistant state forester in Oregon's Department of Forestry, stated: "The kind of catastrophic fires that we've been seeing in recent years have been very high-intensity, very hot-burning fires. What we saw many years ago, which was very beneficial for forest health, were the low-intensity, along-the-ground type fires.

She continued: "Those were good because they cleared out the brush, and they helped to take care of fuel buildup. Now, when fuels have built up over many years, for a variety of reasons, when you have a fire hit, it is of a catastrophic nature. … f we continue down the path of the catastrophic fires, we can end up having fires of such hot intensity that literally sterilize the ground as well as silt up our streams. And I have seen areas where it has burned and silted up streams and been very detrimental to fish and wildlife."


Sierra Sue Happy Does Democrats

Just about the only time groups like the Sierra Club don't sue to prevent mechanical cutting or clearing, and the only time they find ways to compromise with local communities and firefighting efforts, is when they and their Democratic Party allies understand there is no other choice.

In an extremely timely "what goes around comes around" scenario recently, Tom Daschle was caught red- or should I say "green-handed" trying to get an exemption from NEPA, National Environmental Protection Agency standards on forests.

Almost overnight, Tom Daschle figured out that the pine beetle infestation in and around the Black Hills forest needed to be addressed. Under pressure from people who actually LIVE in South Dakota, as well as his fellow Democrat Senator Tim Johnson, who is running for Re-election, Daschle decided that it was time to get REAL about thinning and logging in the Black Hills by mechanical means.

But does Daschle brag about this exemption which he obtained for his state? He quietly placed that exemption into the $58 million security appropriations bill which passed Congress a few weeks ago. It exempted South Dakota from NEPA regulations.

He didn't have to do much arm twisting of the Sierra Club, however. The newly converted Sierra Club (Sierra Sue Happy) and a combo of other smaller green groups received a no-roads restriction on other land in South Dakota, as well as 3,000 acres added to wilderness designation, plus endangered species restrictions on all logging in South Dakota.

Before Daschle's deal, the Sierra Club had taken the proposed exemption to court and was willing to let the beetles and the fires have their way with South Dakota and the Black Hills.

Up until Daschle's sweetheart deal, news stories in local papers like the Rapid City Journal indicated more than minor reluctance to compromise for the sake of saving the Black Hill's forests.

Up until a few months ago, Sierra Club websites stated the "Sierra Club opposes all logging in the Black Hills National Forest, even if such thinning measures would mitigate the risk of wildfire.

Furthermore, the Sierra Club alleges that claims of pine beetle infestation in the Black Hills are scientifically unfounded and merely tools used by timber companies to promote commercial logging and that bug infestation are "part of the natural process" that should be permitted to run its course in the Black Hills. (Associated Press, 1/25/02)

Ah, Mao and the Red Guards would be proud. Shades of running-dog capitalist pigs. Managing to allow a profit while helping forests reach optimum health. Will wonders never cease? Somehow the Socialist Canadians have found a way to accomplish both goals. Yet in the U.S. we allow Sierra Sue Happy and groups like it to dictate policy which amounts to "burn, baby, burn."

Daschle's Deal allows a 700-acre timber sale to be exempt from the National Forest Management Act and NEPA. The Sierra Club signed off on the deal with promises not to sue or appeal nor would they ask for any judicial reviews by any U.S. court. The Rapid City (S.D.) Journal reports that "two other litigants – Biodiversity Associates of Laramie, Wyo., and environmental activist Brian Brademeyer of Rapid City – rejected the deal."

Western lawmakers whose states are being consumed by fires were incensed when they discovered Daschle's dirty little green secret.

J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., protested, as his state was in the process of burning down. Additionally, Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, and Scott McInis, R-Colo., and others were furious and demanded some fairness for their states as well. Hansen said, "After crafting an expedited solution for the Black Hills, opposing similar solutions for other vulnerable forests in the West would smack of hypocrisy." Indeed!

Arizona Gov. Jane Hull and Sen. Jon Kyl both reacted bitterly that environmental lawsuits continue to frustrate efforts to effectively manage Arizona forests, in spite of the evidence mechanical cutting and clearing, with or without a profit motive, needs to be done.

The Arizona Republic recounts that several weeks ago, Rep. Shadegg of Arizona proposed an amendment in the House that would prohibit citizen lawsuits from stopping a limited category of thinning projects. The vote was blocked by which political party? What a surprise.

Daschle's response to all this is typical Demo-spin: CYA. He insisted that the South Dakota exemption was a long-term negotiated policy change involving locals, the Sierra Club and "interested" parties. The record, however, indicates otherwise.

Considering aforementioned Sierra Club policy as stated on its websites, it was a mighty convenient "negotiation." Especially considering the fact that two months earlier, Rep. John Thune, R-S.D., had attempted to put together a bill on behalf of South Dakota's Black Hills very similar to Daschle's Deal.

Bill Harlan of the Rapid City Journal reports that early in 2002, months prior to the current spate of fires, Thune pushed a bill which offered an exception to NEPA for South Dakota. The Bush administration agreed to sign it but passage was stopped dead when Democrats, South Dakota's senators, Tom Dachle and Tim Johnson set up the usual roadblocks.

In spring 2002, Democrat Johnson regaled proponents of the Dakota exemption by insisting to Thune and South Dakota that environmental groups like the Sierra Club and senators from OUTSIDE South Dakota would put up a terrible fight to block the measure. Therefore, neither Johnson nor Daschle would support the Thune bill.

When the fires began in summer 2002, however, environmentalist opposition disappeared and Daschle and Johnson worked out a deal with them to give them a wish list while allowing logging as well as treatment of the pine beetle infestation. Magically, when Daschle and Johnson decided to move on the measure, opposition by these "other" mysterious senators disappeared as well.

Isn't it amazing what 5 million acres of forests going up in smoke will do to change stubborn, bought-and-paid-for green political hacks like Daschle and Johnson, especially when the forests in their state are at stake?

These green political hacks don't seem to care a fig that costs to fight fires and treat the areas in the burns have cost the taxpayer big bucks. According to Chief of the U.S. Forest Service Dale Bosworth, this year's fires cost taxpayers $325 million.

Meanwhile, Sierra Sue Happy (Sierra Club) and the usual green suspects scream like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs that they don't know what we are talking about when we mention the large numbers of lawsuits they institute to stop not only mechanical cutting, i.e. logging, but also a host of other clean-up and scrap-removal efforts.

In a recent editorial in the Denver Post, Al Knight, a senior member of the Post's editorial staff, commented on the sue-happy greens. Knight states: "As these issues have been aired, however, an important thing happened. Environmental groups went into a kind of 'Who, me?' act in which they sought to escape all responsibility for having stalled or prevented the U.S. Forest Service from carrying out a number of projects designed to reduce fire risk."

Knight continues, "Removing trees is also called logging."

"Logging, or tree removal, is what makes officers of environmental groups irritable. When they are irritable, they file administrative appeals and lawsuits. Out of 326 Forest Service decisions during the study period, 155 were appealed. In addition, 21 decisions that were initially appealed ultimately led to federal lawsuits. In the Rocky Mountain region, 11 percent of all decisions were appealed. In the Northern region, which includes Montana, 100 percent of the decisions were appealed."

But it never ceases to amaze me how cooperative greens become when their failed environmental policies bring down Armageddon on America's forests and natural resources.

Isn't it grand that the Democrats in Congress are forced to deal, at long last, with environmental reality.

Paul Bunyan was a legend, a myth, a kindly hero who did good things in building America. That cannot be said about the current spate of environmental lies, myths and half-truths promoted by America's spoiled, sue-happy greens and their friends in the Democratic Party.

Next time: More on Sierra Sue Happy (Sierra Club) teaching American kids to deconstruct and re-educate Paul Bunyan. The Tillamook fire in Oregon and its aftermath. In addition, Democrats get free issue ads paid for by the Sierra Club in least a dozen states. Plus, RINO Republicans providing aid and comfort to the mean green machine.

Check out my Web site at www.aldenchronicles.com. To get in touch with me, please contact me at alden@newsmax.com.



Randy
CORVA Field Rep - So. Cal.
AMA, BRC, SDORC
 
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