It's October 12 and Barack Obama is still trying to appease his far left environmentalist base by throwing them a climate change bone and trying to scare people into green energy, all to save the planet of course.
President Barack Obama warned his supporters about the threat of global warming and vowed that more money to subsidize green energy firms would prevent it.
“By the way, yes, my plan will reduce the carbon pollution that is eating our planet because climate change is not a hoax,” Obama said at a campaign rally at the Bank United Arena at the University of Miami. “More droughts and hurricanes and wildfires, that’s not a joke. That’s a threat to our children’s future, and we can do something about it.”
Obama said that he planned to spend more money to subsidize green projects such as wind and solar if elected to a second term. Obama’s Republican opponent Mitt Romney has criticized him for spending $90 billion on green energy companies, many of which went into bankruptcy.
As we've already seen with Solyndra, throwing money at green energy projects doesn't work to protect the planet. What does work is private industry, not to mention hunters and conservationists have been working for more than 100 years to take care of the environment in a clean and non-centrally control way.
On the issue of wildfires, Obama completely misses the mark. Massive wildfires in the west are a result of an over reaching and bloated government controlled by radical green groups. As the U.S. Forest Service has expanded in the past 35 years, the hotter the fires have burned. I wrote about this topic last year:
Under the disguise of non-profit organizations and saviors of the environment and endangered species, groups like the Sierra Club, Friends of the Forest Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity have been strong advocates against logging, the burning of small natural fires, and grazing on federally held forest land. Excessive Forest Service regulation, Endangered Species Act regulations, clean water regulations and more, prevent the salvaging of dead trees and cleanup of excess dead vegetation. This has resulted in a dangerous and large build up of extremely dry dead trees, excess brush and thick vegetation undergrowth. A ticking time bomb waiting for a single lightening strike to set it off.
“We can’t go in and do anything now because essentially the greens control the USFS,” R.J. Smith, director of the Center for Private Conservation at the Competitive Enterprise Institute tells Townhall. “The environmental regulations and the philosophy prevents them from doing anything to restore the forests to a healthy condition. You literally can’t go in anymore.”
Before the U.S. Forest Service was founded in 1905, with a purpose of managing public lands in national forests and grasslands, smaller, natural fires would clear out excess fuels on a regular basis from the forest floor. Private industry practices such as logging and cattle grazing also kept excess fire fuel to a minimum. However, due to the influence of green environmental groups in the past 30 years, logging and cattle grazing have been essentially outlawed on public lands, resulting in the overcrowding of trees. In some areas of our forests, Ponderosa Pine trees grow at a rate of 300 to 700 trees per acre. The natural amount of trees per acre in Ponderosa Pine forests is between 20 and 50 trees per acre and with an overcrowding of trees, comes more competition for water, prolonging western droughts beyond normal time periods, resulting in more dead trees and more excess fire fuel.
I also wrote about this topic extensively in the September issue of Townhall Magazine.
Since 1947, Americans have been told by Smokey the Bear that they are the only ones who can prevent forest fires. While this famous campaign is splashed all over television screens every summer just before fire season, the federal government actually doesn’t allow the prevention of forest fires, either from the population or through its government agencies.
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has a motto of “caring for the Land and serving people,” but it turns out neither is happening. Between government bureaucracy or the grip the green movement has on the way the USFS operates by keeping ranchers out and preventing multiple use, such as grazing or logging on federal land, massive forest fires ravage the American West every year.
“You know, when I was a kid, it used to be the big deal to go to the mountains,” Terrell Shelly, a longtime New Mexico rancher and outfitter, tells Townhall. “My folks worked cattle in the mountains and hunted and fished, and we grew up there. It was a great big deal as kids to get up there and do those kinds of things. I raised my kids to do the same thing, and my grandkids are now just getting old enough to go, and there’s nothing left to take them for anymore—it’s all burned up. You don’t want to take them up there and show them what’s left.”
Shelly’s family has been ranching and running cattle since 1844, before the USFS was founded. He bought the ranch from his parents in 1972 and added an outfitting business, although he had already been an outfitter and hunting guide since high school, when he would take paying customers on guided hunts before licenses to do so were required.
However, a combination of regulations and burned habitat in the past 10 years has brought business to a near standstill. The Wallow Fire of 2011, which burned 840 square miles of land in the Southwest, was devastating to his business.
More government isn't the solution to environmental problems, in fact, more government only exacerbates the issues.
|Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is also the author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up.
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Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography