What do say you?

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dave54
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Re: What do say you?

Post by dave54 » Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:12 pm

A few non-sequitur thoughts.

I am dismayed at the articles linked in the OP. Slanted, biased, inaccurate, and filled with emotional trigger words. Such is the state of American journalism today.

Drilling on the wildlife refuge comes in a mixed bag. The article notes a native corporation is actually in favor of drilling, while another native group is opposed. Revenue from mineral leases on public lands go to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is used to acquire new public lands and funds the management of existing public lands. So this creates an irony -- opposing drilling is cutting public lands funding, and vice versa. biden promises to stop all new mineral leases on public lands. Public lands mineral leases currently supply about 20% of US energy. With no new leases, that amount will diminish over time as existing leases expire. Granted, we need to move towards a lesser dependence on fossil fuels, but that will take decades. Until then, fossil fuels will still be needed. The need will never go away completely, as oil and gas are also used for plastics, solvents, petrochemicals, and lubricants (IIRC about 30% of all oil and gas goes to non-fuel uses). Plus there will always be a few internal combustion engines in specialty uses where electric is impractical.

The article seems to hint logging will be in designated Wilderness Areas ('Strip Protections'). Emotional hyperbole. About 1/3 of Tongass NF is designated Wilderness, and no timber harvesting will be done there. The proposal supposedly will allow harvesting in existing roadless area. I do not know if any of new sales will be in those areas or not. My guess is very little. The Forest Service Roadless Rule was never supposed to be a backdoor way of creating new Wilderness without Congressional action. The original Roadless Inventory was intended as a 'time-out' until a more comprehensive plan could be analyzed and implemented. The original Roadless Plan has been subverted over time into creating de facto Wilderness. The mention '96% opposed' was due to a massive preformed standard reply sent out by various factions of the environmental industry, and is meaningless under the NEPA process. Public scoping is not a referendum on any proposed action. Never was, and isn't now. People do not understand that, and special interests are using that confusion and ignorance.

The Tongass already has several timber sales in the pipeline regardless of the proposed change.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DO ... 777192.pdf

All National Forest timber sales are sold to the highest bidder, and under the control of a sales contract. Revenue from timber sales funds other forest management projects. 10% of the revenue goes to trails, and 25% goes to the local county for schools and roads. Other amounts can be retained by the Forest for wildlife, watershed, and recreation projects.
The contract specifies what is to be harvested, what equipment is allowed to be used, dates the harvesting is allowed to take place, post harvest clean-up and repair, and sometimes even which roads the purchaser is allowed to use to and from the harvest site. The purchaser is not allowed to run amok and do whatever he wants. Timber harvesting on federal land is tightly regulated. Raw logs from federal land west of the 100th meridian of longitude is forbidden to be exported. Federal law. Any exported forest products must be processed in the US. So the harvesting, if done, will provide some jobs. Since one of the original missions of the National Forest is to supply a steady flow of timber to the US wood products market and provide economic stability to small rural communities, harvesting is compatible with the purpose of the National Forest. If one wishes to change the Forest Service mission, that needs to be done through the legislative process, not lobbying regulators and the courts.

On a semi-related side note: I read Representative Deb Haaland (D,NM) is on the short list for biden's Sec of Interior. She is a Native American, and is currently chair of the House Public Lands subcommittee. She is on record of favoring turning over management of many public lands to local tribal governments. Although some tribes do a pretty good job of managing their own lands, many do not. Having experienced what the local Maidu tribe did to an area of Lassen NF when the FS gave it to them, I do not get the warm and fuzzies over giving them more control over more public lands. As Sec of Interior she will not have any jurisdiction over National Forests, but still wields influence. She also opposes drilling and fracking on public lands. This shall prove to be interesting, as 40% of New Mexico's revenue comes from mineral royalties.


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