Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Arbusto the Destroyer

If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody hears it, is it Bush's fault?
You have to ask?

New Rule Opens National Forest to Roads
- By JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer
Thursday, May 5, 2005

The last 58.5 million acres of untouched national forests, which President Clinton had set aside for protection, were opened to possible logging, mining and other commercial uses by the Bush administration on Thursday.

New rules from the U.S. Forest Service cover some of the most pristine federal land in 38 states and Puerto Rico. Ninety-seven percent of it is in 12 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Governors can submit petitions within 18 months to stop road building on some of the 34.3 million acres where it would now be permitted or request that new forest management plans be written to allow the construction on some of the other 24.2 million acres.

Many officials made it clear much of the land will remain untouched.
"We have no plans to build roads in the roadless areas of the national forests in California. ... Areas are roadless here for a reason," said Matt Mathes, a regional spokesman for the Forest Service in the state.

....Right, they have no plans. And no plans to make plans. But they are really glad to have this restriction out of the way. But don't worry -- remember, they have no plans.

They do however have a history, a record, and it isn't reassuring. In short, for people with no plans, they sure do like to rip up the woods to build roads.

It is a little known fact and unfortunately a tragic bit of trivia, that the Forest Service has built more miles of road than any other entity, public or private, in the world.

As implausible as this may seem, the numbers do not lie. So far, the Forest Service has constructed 343,000 miles of road on our national forests. This alone is eight times the entire mileage of the United States Interstate Highway System.

The figures are astonishing and exceed any imaginable need or justification, aside from the gratification of a perverse lust for paving a path through America's most natural and undisturbed woodlands and wilderness areas.

In the hilarious book "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson included a very funny critique of this destructive fetish of the Forest Service for laying asphalt roadways in our (somewhat) protected wilderness areas.
Reading this AP story tonight, I was struck not so much by the typical antipathy of the Bushies to trees and nature and all that environmental crap the liberals always whine about, nor by the glaring dishonesty of the Forest Service spokesman, but by the observation that Bush has succeeded in dulling our senses to the evil and incompetence of his policies.

He has pushed us so far, so hard, for so long, that we have all but ceased to notice the daily regress of our civil rights, our environment, our economic and national security. It has gotten so bad that a story like this one is likely to slide right through without comment or protest -- or at least nothing Bush needs to worry about.

-- Why does a guy named Bush hate trees anyway?

By the way, if you like hiking and have ever considered through-hiking the AT, check out Bryson's book. It is a good read.


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