FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Trump Administration Falsely Blames Environmental Lawsuits for Forest Fires

by

Photo by Ervins Strauhmanis | CC BY 2.0

It is clear that the Trump administration is leading on one thing: making stuff up. Ryan Zinke, Sonny Perdue, Steve Daines and Greg Gianforte followed Donald Trump’s lead in using alternative facts in their recent press conference near the Lolo Peak Fire. The Trump administration apparently believes that it is because of lawsuits that we have forest fires during this exceptionally hot, dry and windy summer.

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies is a powerful group and we fight hard to preserve forests, but we certainly don’t control the weather or the warming climate. Moreover, there is no lawsuit in the Lolo Peak area, and the Lolo Peak area has already undergone extensive logging.

In the Trump administration’s alternative reality, climate change has nothing to do with forest fires because, as Trump has pronounced, “global warming is a Chinese hoax.” The 2014 National Climate Assessment estimates wildfires in Montana will increase by 400 percent to 700 percent in the next 50 years if climate change is not addressed.

Protecting old growth forests from logging is one way to do this. National forests absorb an astounding 10 percent of the carbon that America creates and unlogged and old growth forests absorb the most.

The politicians at the Lolo Peak Fire press conference could do something about the main driver of wildfire — they could commit to addressing climate change – starting with participation in the Paris Climate Accord. But instead they promote more coal burning and taxpayer-subsidized logging on public lands, which will only exacerbate climate change.

The Trump administration has even complained that our lawsuit temporarily pausing the Stonewall timber sale resulted in the wildfire burning in the northern part of the Stonewall project area. Not surprisingly, their argument is not supported by facts. That wildfire started with a lighting strike outside of the planned treatment units, so the fire would have started regardless of whether the project units were logged. Indeed, natural wildfires regularly burn in this area, as evidenced by the fact that the Park Creek fire is now surrounded on three sides by formerly burned areas, which have mostly stopped the spread of this fire. Significantly, it also does not appear that any of the timber sale’s commercial logging units have burned.

These fact-challenged politicians also claimed that we have shut down half the timber sales in Montana, a contention that even the U.S. Forest Service denied. Instead, our region of the Forest Service has met 89 percent of its timber logging targets over the last 15 years and the target has been increasing almost every year. 2017 is not over yet, but a February Great Falls Tribune article titled “Logging in Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest best in decades” reported that loggers had never seen this much timber available.

These politicians also neglected to mention that the state’s largest wildfire — 270,000 acres that destroyed 16 homes in eastern Montana — burned mostly through grasslands, not forests, which is probably why they held their pro-logging press conference in front of Lolo Peak rather than in eastern Montana.

The Trump administration calls it “frivolous” when citizens prevail in lawsuits forcing the government to comply with its own laws. To the contrary, it is the basis of our democracy and civil justice system that citizens have the power to force the government to follow its own laws. So despite the barrage of lies, insults, fear-mongering and scapegoating directed at us, we will not back down. We will continue to fight to protect and conserve our priceless public lands and the fish and wildlife that depend on them for survival. Join us.

More articles by:

Mike Garrity is the executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies.

February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail