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Man vs. Nature

We have learned a lot since pioneers pushed west to California with a philosophy of “Manifest Destiny,” and “Nature” was something to be conquered.

Some of us….

Some California Republicans are now arguing for more aggressive “forest thinning” (or intensive logging, depending upon your point of view) to contain wildfires. California has already spent $285 million (USD) in the last 6 weeks in firefighting efforts.

The language used by some of the legislators reflects their points of view. Senator Dave Cox, R-Sacramento was quoted by the Contra Costa Times as saying, “Because of these regulations, California is growing more timber than it is harvesting….” Congressman John Doolittle R-Granite Bay was quoted as saying that, “A forest, in many ways, is just a gigantic version of a garden – it can’t be left to grow on its own or you’ll face catastrophic consequences.” :-)

Ask the Lorax.

(Note added July 7, 2009: I wonder about all of the “catastrophic consequences” that Congressman Doolittle imagines MUST have happened on this planet with forests growing out of control before human beings walked the earth! I also noticed that the Contra Costa Times article is “no longer available.” I guess that only REALLY large corporations and governments can afford that kind of readily available long-term storage. It kind of reminds me of the Ministry of Truth, though.)

In the same article, there is another quote. “When they say we haven’t done enough logging and other clearing, it’s an oversimplification of the problem,” said Paul Mason, Deputy Director of the Sierra Club. “The important thing to realize is that fire is natural and we can’t make it go away — figuring out how to live with it is the challenge.”

Indeed.

It is quite clear that fire will not go away. Any long-term solution will need to recognize that fact.

A 2004 bill by Senator Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, for a requirement to increase the clearing around homes from 30 to 100 feet was opposed by Republicans. (Note added August 28, 2008: Hmmm, maybe it was too difficult to get those lumber trucks to so many scattered locations. :-) It looks “a little bit” :-) like this argument is really about “lumber” rather than “fire.”)

There is currently legislation under consideration to assist with fire safety and its cost. Let’s hope that the California Legislature passes a BUDGET soon, so that such legislation, if passed, can be signed into law. Any legislation reaching the Governor’s desk before a budget is passed will be vetoed. (Note added August 28, 2008: Governor Schwarzenegger recently made an exception to this statement, with regard to high-speed rail. It is good to know that SOMEONE in Sacramento knows how to be flexible! :-) )

Being a “Moderate” can be very tiring in California politics. Many California politicians don’t know how “Right they are!” (or how “Left”).

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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