The bark beetle tree kill in Colorado has been historic in magnitude. With all this tinder lying around on federal land, you might think the government would be redoubling efforts to haul out dead trees, make the forests healthy and support fire management activities.
Unfortunately, that's not the reality reflected in President Bush's budget request for 2009.
His budget actually cuts funding by 11.2 percent for the region of the Forest Service that includes Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.
To hear the Denver Post tell it, this is all President Bush's fault. It conveniently leaves out the fact that President Bush or his successor could direct the entire Federal budget toward getting rid of the dead trees and not a single tree would be removed.
Why? The Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society, and their congressional toadies like Mark Udall, Ken Salazar, and John Salazar have laws in place which prevent the building of forest roads necessary to do the work.
If the Denver Post did a Lexus-Nexus search, it would discover that the victims who lost their homes in last summer's Lake Tahoe fire were blaming the Sierra Club for going to court to stop the construction of forest roads. The roads were needed for the thinning that would have saved their homes and at least one life. The problem wasn't a lack of Federal funding. It was a lack of common sense by the Mark Udall's of the congress.
Mark Udall not only doesn't want new roads to be built, he wants existing roads closed. In 2007 he proposed an amendment to do just that.
Yes, the west has friends that it can do without. Ken Salazar, Mark Udall, and John Salazar along with their eco terrorist sponsors in the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society are much higher on that list than President Bush or his successor, Republican or Democrat ever can be.
Wake up, Denver Post, and put some pressure on these turkeys. Your editorial was a cheap shot that gives the real culprits a free pass. It was pure ignorance.