Thursday, May 26, 2011

Here we go again

Posted on Thu, May 26, 2011 at 4:00 AM

Here comes Sen. Jon Tester’s logging bill again! This bad bill has been skirting opposition from legitimate conservation interests, promising the moon to logging companies that are actually beleaguered by a housing market devoid of capital and still bleeding from the sub-prime mortgage catastrophe.

This bad bill was tabled in committee, never saw a vote, was pronounced dead, and then was smuggled into the annual budget and rooted out again last session. The gentleman from Montana has failed to heed calls from the constituency that delivered the western part of the state, imagining instead that a good tall tale can get the housing and construction industry to turn that frown upside down, saving maybe a couple dozen timber-related jobs but doing zip for his alleged constituency in the tourism business.

Redrawing and redefining existing wilderness needs to be done with far more scientific investigation, public input, and sensitivity to existing and pre-existing conditions. At a very minimum the bill must acknowledge existing laws that already pertain to activities it will address, not unilaterally abandon statutes in place for decades, and abandon mandatory harvest language, the absolute folly of which is currently being demonstrated in the marketplace.

I’m hoping Montana is not Stalinist enough to accept the role of a state-managed economy, blindly cutting trees and stacking tax-subsidized two-by-fours that no one will buy, at the directive of a law that chooses to ignore the realities of the very market it seeks to manipulate. You can’t pump up this dead hulk of legislative jargon and expect it to walk the halls of Washington like some zombie of a wilderness bill. Even in Montana we’ve heard about zombies. We are against them.

Larry Evans

Missoula

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