As you may be aware, in the midst of California’s devastating forest fires, resulting in dozens of deaths (so far) and incalculable damage to so many homes, businesses, roads, etc., President Trump tweeted this…
“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”
“With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get Smart!”
What a terrible thing to do! Is this really the time and place for such an attack – while the fires are still raging? And what is the point of it? Why is he attacking the state of California, as if it had something to do with out-of=control forest fires?
Well, as it turns out, though the timing part, in my opinion remains true (Trump should never have said it when he did), his point is well taken.
From Matthew Vadum’s article at frontpagemag.com:
Years ago environmentalist lobbies ideologically opposed to economic growth put the screws to California’s once-thriving wood-harvesting industry. New federal and state regulations came into effect make it increasingly difficult for the industry to operate.
“As a result, timber industry employment gradually collapsed, falling in 2017 to half of what it was 20 years earlier, with imports from Canada, China, and other nations filling domestic need,” Chuck DeVore, Vice President of National Initiatives at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, writes at Forbes.
As timber harvesting permit fees rose and environmental regulations intensified, industry employees left the field and “[t]he combustible fuel load in the forest predictably soared,” according to DeVore. “No longer were forest management professionals clearing brush and thinning trees.”
With all that kindling piling up on forest floors, today’s devastating wildfires were not hard to foresee.
Back in 2005 experts were predicting “larger, more devastating fires—fires so hot that they sterilized the soil, making regrowth difficult and altering the landscape,” DeVore writes. They saw the rise of “fires that increasingly threatened lives and homes as they became hotter and more difficult to bring under control.”
You may or may not agree with California’s policies regarding timber harvesting. And you may or may not agree with the specific words President Trump used.
But, in this case, those words are not just blowhard BS. He really does have a legitimate point about California’s responsibility for what is happening.
And that is why I do not join so many others in condemning President Trump’s tweets.
More on this in the days to come.