Reading Labrador’s report on the recent hearing of the National Resources Subcommittee on “federal” lands, we learned that from the ’50’s to the ’90’s, Lumber harvests were 10-12 billion board-feet annually, while an average of 3.6 million acres annually burned during that period.
Since 1996, annual harvest has decreased to 1.5-3.3 board-feet; an approximate 80% decrease! Forest fire destruction has almost doubled since ’96. Philip Rigdon, representative of the Yakima tribe’s forest service brought evidence that, though the tribe follows environmental practices, their forests are much more productively managed than adjacent federally “managed” forests. The contrast is revealing. Mr. Rigdon testified that fires on federally “managed” forests threaten Tribal forests.
Congress’ legislative remedy works too slowly. While we wait for congress to go through their process, millions of acres will be destroyed.
Labrador’s solution is to re-introduce a bill that passed the House last year that would, “…allow States to manage, harvest and salvage on “federal” forest land and show they can do a better job.” We believe congress has it backward. We have nothing to prove to the federal government! Federal agencies were created by congress to do a job and have failed to perform their assigned duties. They should be fired just as an employee would be fired for failing to do their job. Congress as the representative of the Citizens needs to be much more assertive in ridding us of our non-performing employees.
It’s REALLY time we stop approaching the federal government, and its agencies with an attitude of deference and respect. Congress created them to do a job for us, not us for them; and they have proved incapable. Our Congress now must un-create them. They appear to be too timid to do that on their own, so we should inundate them with letters personally written to them demanding that they do.