Don’t Let Big Government Take Control of Your County Money

Why is it that big government is always seeking more control of state and county money through various government agencies? These private corporations do nothing but create more rules and regulations that rip power out of the hands of the electorate and their county commissioners. I recently had an opportunity to read through 61 pages of gobbly gook written by Senators Crapo, Risch, Wyden and Merkley which would, in essence, form a non-profit corporation to invest Secure Rural Stability Act funds into a private corporation, with that money being handled by an investment company hired by the newly formed 501(c)(3) corporation.

It is beyond my comprehension why any county would want to turn over control of their designated funds to a bureaucratic, federally formed corporation and lose control of those funds. This bill would take away a counties’ right to act on coordination, government-to-government when they find federal agencies out of control. Why should counties allow environmental groups and bureaucrats more control of their natural resources?

These are the same groups that have done such a wonderful job managing our forests and are spending billions on fires instead of working to improve logging, grazing, and mining that create jobs in rural communities. While I understand that the Senators proposing this bill are well-intentioned, I doubt that they even understand how this could be detrimental to many counties on the local level. When was the last time Senator Crapo or Risch spent any time visiting the rural counties of Idaho to seek advice from local officials on how to better manage our natural resources?

Counties should not give up their right to allocate funds themselves to another federal bureaucracy. This bill creates a private 501(c)(3) which will be run by a board of directors appointed by agency heads. Keep in mind that this board will appoint members who represent the various regions of the U.S. and will not be run by the western states. This bill will allow congress to take our tax dollars give them to a private corporation to be invested by six investors and allows the board to hire as many private staff members as they want.

What we are creating is more unnecessary government bureaucracy with an unknown cost that does not always have our best interest at heart. We all know how good the government is in managing our economy since the recession of 2008, so why wouldn’t we trust them with more of our money? As taxpayers, have you wondered why they don’t want to allow more logging or mining of our renewable natural resources?

Read more about logging our national parks and forests here.

It seems to us that this is just another effort to give big government more control of our forest land and will undermine President Trump’s efforts to begin the improvement of our forests’ health. It would also inhibit bringing back sorely needed jobs to rural areas that have been literally devastated by the terrible mismanagement of federally controlled land. Since the U.S. Forest Service has been in charge of our land, we have seen bigger and more devastating fires ravage our forest each and every year for the past 30 or more years.feder

We have seen fires that got so hot they would literally sterilize the soil and kill hundreds of thousands of wildlife animals. If these senators want to do something to help the rural communities they should be working to turn federally managed land back over to the states who have proven to be much better stewards of the land than the U.S.F.S. or the BLM.

Has anyone ever wondered why we don’t log more of our federally managed forests? It’s a darn good question. Has anyone ever wondered why the lumber necessary to build new homes cost so much? Another good question. Let me fill you in on a little secret. Canada’s biggest export market for softwood lumber is the U.S., where it is primarily used in home construction. Softwood lumber accounts for 20 percent of the value of Canada’s forest-product exports. The country shipped 68 percent of its output in 2016, 78 percent of which went to the U.S., according to Bloomberg Intelligence. The Canadian lumber industry is said to have been heavily subsidized by the Canadian government for many years thereby harming U.S. mills and workers.

The Trump administration recognized this problem and slapped a 24.1% tariff on Canadian lumber which has been partly responsible for the current rise in housing prices. Most of the lumber used to build homes here in the U.S. is controlled by private industry. If we were to allow more logging of on our federal lands this would drive the cost of lumber down along with the cost of housing. Of course, it would cost the major lumber corporations on their bottom line which is why the feds have kept such a tight control on logging in our forests. It’s the same old story where the lobbyists get their way and the American people pay so the corporations can improve their earnings at our expense.

Why is it that we have so many prescribed burns in our forests which do nothing to improve our forests but do everything to deteriorate our air quality in our state? We ask our Senators to take a ride around the forests of rural Idaho and see what U.S.F.S. management for the past decades has done to create a tinder box in virtually every rural county of Idaho. Oh, and let us not forget how many of our residents have been affected by the particulate matter thrown off by the prescribed burns done annually by the forest service in the name of fire control. When will the DEQ do something to stop this unnecessary burning of our valuable natural resources?

It’s not bad enough that we have the huge fires which cause so much particulate matter to fill the air that we issue alerts to tell residents to stay indoors because of the hazardous air quality. It’s time to go back to the reality that it was much more economical and safer to log our federally controlled forests than to watch them turn to cinders every fire season.

Here is a good example of just how ineffective the U.S. Forest Service is in managing our forests. Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings noted his home state of Washington realizes average annual revenue of $168 million from just over two million acres of forest land. The U.S. Forest Service, on the other hand, manages over nine million acres of forest land within the state but yields only an average $589,000 in revenue each year.

It is essentially the lobbyists for big business and environmental interests back east that are controlling our logging and mineral development through their continual efforts to restrict the use of the natural resources that are on federally managed land. So I would like to tell our two good senators if you want to do something good they should work toward getting our land out of federal control and allow it to be managed by the states.

If you want to change the rules write your senators and congressman and tell them that this bill is a bad idea and to go back to the drawing board and actually do something to solve this problem of logging our forests by giving the states the right to manage their own land.

You can read the bill here.

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