Skip to comments.'ENVIRONMENTAL TERRORISM': Western Governors, Bush Decry Fire Fiasco
Posted on 07/05/2002 10:22:20 AM PDT by madfly
Wednesday, June 26, 2002NewsMax.com - PHOENIX Self-described "environmentalists" have opposed forest management programs that could have prevented wildfires such as those burning thousands of acres in Arizona and Colorado, the new chairman of the Western Governors Association said Tuesday.
President Bush also made a mocking reference Tuesday to the extremist so-called Greens, who would better be dubbed Grays, in "honor" of the ashen color of the land where pine forests once thrived.
Speaking to reporters after an association meeting, Gov. Judy Martz, R-Mont., said as incoming chairman, her priority would be reducing the threat of wildfires to communities and the environment.
"Regardless of our political and philosophical differences, it's imperative that we all join together to act responsibly in preserving forest health, to protect families, wildlife, fisheries, our ecosystem and our economies," Martz said.
Responding to a reporter's question, the Montana Republican said she was shaken by the thousands of people fleeing their homes in eastern Arizona because of a 331,000-acre wildfire. Better management policies are needed in the nation's forests, she said.
"The environment needs to be taken care of," she said. "When I see people running from their homes going to a shelter and now being there, some of them, over a week, I call this environmental terrorism, and it's a terrorism that we have not managed the forest well enough.
"These people who want to object need to come to the table. There's got to be some balance."
Asked later if she meant self-styled environmental activists had contributed to the wildfire threat in the West, Martz said their appeals had delayed action on forest cleanup programs.
"This is caused by many years of appeals, and the appeals do not come from the ones that want to have forest health, so the answer to the question is quite obvious," she said.
Martz was asked if her answer meant she was blaming them.
Wackos 'Played a Great Role in Stopping Forest Health'
"In my eyes, they played a great role in stopping forest health, but I don't call them terrorists. Our environment is in a terrorism mode right now, but I do not call those people terrorists. I make that quite clear."
Arizona Gov. Jane Hull said Sunday, "Mother Nature is saying to Arizona, to the West, that we have to clean up these forests. I hope the message gets across that we need to clean these forests."
She said: "The policies that are coming from the East Coast, that are coming from the environmentalists, that say we don't need to log, we don't need to thin our forests, are absolutely ridiculous. Nobody on the East Coast knows how to manage these fires and I for one have had it."
Fox News Channel reported this week that the area around devasted Show Low, Ariz., once had many lumber mills, all shuttered now, the jobs they provided all gone, thanks to lawsuits by "environmentalists."
Show Low resident Marc Ridenour, forced to leave his home because of the fires, is furious at the groups of leftists that describe themselves as "environmental."
'Architects of This Catastrophe'
"They helped set the stage for this," he told the Associated Press. "Spotted-owl huggers were the grand architects of this catastrophe."
Craig Gehrke, described by the Associated Press as a "forest expert" with Wilderness Society, seemed to have little sympathy for those whose lives were devastated by the fires.
"They're kidding themselves if they think they can control all the forces in the forest," he said. "In drought years, forests are going to burn."
Earlier this week, a spokesman for Sierra Club claimed that the conservation group had never opposed prescribed burns, one of the common methods used to control undergrowth. Sean Cosgrove said the group did favor other methods to reduce wildland fire danger.
Cosgrove endorsed programs such as the Forest Service's Firewise program, which is intended to educate and assist the increasing numbers of people moving to the country about how to safeguard their homes.
Not that those programs do much good when huge fires are consuming thousands of acres.
Jim Cundiff, 52, was waiting to find out if flames had wiped out his home in Linden.
'No More Trees to Hug'
"There's a fairly well-meaning but totally ignorant group of people in this community who think you can manage the environment in a hands-off manner, but these people don't live out here," he said. "Don't come up here in designer clothes and an SUV and tell me you love the woods. There's no more trees to hug."
The president, on his way to a Canadian meeting of world leaders, went thousands of miles out of his way Tuesday to visit the site of the Arizona fires. The mainstream media are calling it "his first visit as president to the site of a NATURAL disaster," though human neglect, especially lawsuits by "environmentalists," contributed to the fiasco.
A Needed Change: 'Wise Forest Policy'
"Listen, we got a lot of work to do to make sure the Forest Service has got wise forest policy, to make sure, to maintain the forests so that they're healthy and viable and not become kindling boxes," Bush emphasized to cheers as he addressed residents at Round Valley High School in Eagar.
However, Joe Allbaugh, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, evaded a reporter's question about thinning the forests to reduce the threat of disastrous fires.
"Leave forest management to the experts," the FEMA director said, presumably with a straight face.
At the Phoenix meeting, the Western governors discussed the destructive and early wildfire season and their campaign to implement a 10-year strategy to improve forest health. The governors and the secretaries of agriculture and interior signed the agreement last month in an Idaho ceremony.
At the news conference, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, R-Idaho, said some environmental groups joined with state, federal and tribal governments in developing the 10-year management plan.
'Look at Prevention'
"The key is not to always be looking at suppression, but to look at prevention," he said. "With the 10-year plan that we signed in Idaho City, Idaho, we have a path forward reducing the fuel load so we won't have to see these sort of infernos taking place in all of our states."
Federal funding for programs to remove forest undergrowth have been increased since a destructive wildfire burned more than 200 homes at Los Alamos, N.M., two years ago. Yet critics contend that appeals and lawsuits lodged by self-described environmentalists have slowed implementation and fueled disaster.
Copyright 2002 by United Press International.
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Agreed, and while we're at it, every other business too.
We now have I think at least 4 times as many acres burn per year as we had 40 years ago. It does generate a lot of jobs. and everybody from the fire area seems to understand that the magnitude of the fires are made much worse by the environmentalists.
Stay Safe Dave !
Hang Em High!!!