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Missing the Forests for the Trees

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 15, 2009 - Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal had an interesting article titled, Aspen Trees Die Across the West” which notes that “perhaps a combination of factors -- is killing hundreds of thousands of acres of the trees from Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona through Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and into Canada, according to the U.S. government and independent scientists.”

One of the factors noted is that “decades of logging restrictions and a policy of fighting most fires rather than letting them burn have left the forests full of the century-old lodgepole pines that are the beetles' favorite nosh.” The article also says that “the aspen die-off comes on the heels of a pine-beetle invasion that has destroyed millions of acres of evergreens. Foresters expect to lose virtually every mature lodgepole pine in Colorado -- five million acres of them.”

So basically -- this article is another clear demonstration that some extreme environmentalists can’t see the forest for the trees. Since they’ve prevented land managers from effectively managing our forests, many of America’s forests are filled with dying trees.

In June, after a Committee hearing on the Mountain Pine Beetle, Republicans called for Democrat Leaders in Congress to take immediate action to address the beetle epidemic that has left much of our Western forests dead and vulnerable to devastating forest fires. Specific republican solutions include:

  • Ensuring our federal land managers have all the means to effectively manage our forests.
  • Publicly denouncing excessive litigation against the U.S. Forest Service.
  • Ending restrictions on harvesting biomass on Federal lands created by the Democrats’ 2007 energy bill.
  • Ensuring that stimulus spending actually furthers forest management and creates new jobs.

We’ll continue to call on Democrats in Congress to provide our land managers with the tools necessary to protect and manage our forests.

Contact: Committee Staff

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