Archive for May 8th, 2014

by lizard

The temperature in Wichita, Kansas hit 102 degrees last Sunday, the earliest 100+ temperature reading in 126 years of record keeping. Heat and no rain are combining to potentially reduce Kansas’ wheat crop by 18% this year. Climate change is here, and it will only get worse.

In Montana, thanks to the Farm Bill, the effect of climate change on our forests has produced opportunities for fast-tracking logging projects. Groups like Trout Unlimited are working with the Governor to identify and expedite those projects. When the secretive process was called out by George Ochenski, which I wrote about here, those participants got a little miffed.

The executive director of Montana Trout Unlimited, Bruce Farling, pushed back yesterday in a guest column which you can read here.

Farling offers the following justification for his organizations participation in a process that excluded the public:

Here’s the deal. The Farm Bill provided a 60-day window for governors to nominate to the nation’s secretary of agriculture national forest landscapes with documented insect infestations where logging might occur. Ochenski and crew conclude these nominations, which have yet to be accepted, automatically mean 5 million acres of Montana will be hideously logged. Hardly.

I can’t speak for the governor, but it seems a lengthy public process probably didn’t seem necessary given the deadline and the fact Montanans are already acutely aware of the bark-beetle infestations and other forest conditions targeted in the Farm Bill. So instead the governor sought advice, mainly through a few phone calls, from a balanced group representing a range of forest interests.

I wonder if Montanans are also acutely aware of the fact that the bark-beetle infestation and the threat of worsening forest fires are symptoms of climate change. Maybe groups like Trout Unlimited should bring some awareness to the underlying crisis we are facing instead of facilitating more projects for the logging industry.

Unfortunately the earth doesn’t donate money to conservation groups.

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