FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

A Dangerous Precedent for America’s Public Lands

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester’s Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act (S. 507) was presented to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week.

The origin of the definition of stewardship is foundational to understanding that none of us are owners of God’s creation (nature). Proper care for all that exists in nature should not be confused with the pursuit of money and profit. In other words, destroying forests for the sole monetary benefit of the local sawmill in Seeley Lake utterly perverts the meaning of stewardship.

Don’t be fooled by the artful use of words meant to deceive and confuse unsuspecting commoners. Unfortunately, Sen. Tester has an illustrious track record of talking about ecological protection but failing to act when he’s most needed. Remember, this is an election year.

Supplying merchantable logs to the local sawmill has been the No. 1 priority of the Southwest Crown of the Continent Collaborative since its inception. “Everyone who collaborates does so with the expectation they will get something out of it,” said Pyramid Mountain Lumber Chief Operating Officer Loren Rose. “We got logs on trucks. Our conservation partners got very little out of this Southwest Crown of the Continent work. But they supported it wholeheartedly.”

Tester’s fact sheet on S. 507 reads: “Sustainable timber harvest was a cornerstone of the BCSP, which established the Southwest Crown of the Continent Collaborative.”

Tester brought bags full of federal dollars to fund the collaborative to undertake its so-called “restoration” work. S. 507 does not define restoration, but if past is prologue, restoration means more commercial roadbuilding, logging and thinning (“high-grading”).

These are not just any forests, they are some of the most ecologically sensitive forests in the Lower 48.

Tester claims that since 2009, he has secured “$19 million in federal funding to implement much of the restoration and timber harvest originally designated in the Upper Blackfoot-Clearwater Valley agreement.” According to Tester, these “investments created and sustained more than 100 jobs and spurred $33 million in new investment into the local economy.”

One might wonder how long that money can sustain those 100 jobs without more Sumo-sized cash infusions. How long can federal welfare checks keep the local “timber economy” from going the way of Champion International, Plum Creek Timber Co., Stimson and Smurfit-Stone in Frenchtown? No discussion? Well, “not very long” is the correct answer.

Gamblers who habitually lose big are always invited back to play again. It’s so easy to dole out Federal Reserve notes when it’s someone else’s money being thrown away for purely political purposes. Make no mistake, government no longer regulates to prevent crimes against nature, it is facilitator, protector and enforcer in the corporate interest.

Collaborators act as junior partners, manning the notebooks in exchange for scraps that might be thrown their way after the “big dogs” have finished gorging themselves.

Where, under the many layers of deceit and deception, does that leave the public interest?

Collaboration, by definition, operates in opposition to open, public participation. The deck is stacked in favor of commercial commodity production.

Tester’s bill sets a terrible precedent by subverting long-standing public-interest goals of sustaining and defending clean water, wild trout and wildlife habitat and wilderness.

This kind of Fabian-socialist balkanization is part and parcel of many authoritarian, divide-and-conquer strategies. Ba’ath Party regimes in Iraq and Syria are examples of government-planned societies in the Arab world. This kind of government social engineering is wrong for Montana.

Warning, it can happen here. I urge everyone to read Tester’s bill. “If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.” — Albert Einstein

More articles by:

Steve Kelly is a an artist and serves as a member of the board of directors of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.  

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid
Joshua Frank
Top 20 Mueller Report “Findings”
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Will Never Go Away
Paul Street
Stephen Moore Gets Something Right: It’s Capitalism vs. Democracy
Russell Mokhiber
Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter
T.J. Coles
The Battle for Latin America: How the U.S. Helped Destroy the “Pink Tide”
Ron Jacobs
Ho Chi Minh City: Nguyen Thai Binh Street
Dean Baker
Fun Fictions in Economics
David Rosen
Trump’s One-Dimensional Gender Identity
Kenn Orphan
Notre Dame: We Have Always Belonged to Her
Robert Hunziker
The Blue Ocean Event and Collapsing Ecosystems
Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.
Paddy Wagon
Brett Wilkins
Jimmy Carter: US ‘Most Warlike Nation in History of the World’
John W. Whitehead
From Jesus Christ to Julian Assange: When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State
Nick Pemberton
To Never Forget or Never Remember
Stephen Cooper
My Unforgettable College Stabbings
Louis Proyect
A Leftist Rejoinder to the “Capitalist Miracle”
Louisa Willcox
Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and the Need for a New Approach to Managing Wildlife
Brian Cloughley
Britain Shakes a Futile Fist and Germany Behaves Sensibly
Jessicah Pierre
A Revolutionary Idea to Close the Racial Wealth Divide
George Burchett
Revolutionary Journalism
Dan Bacher
U.S. Senate Confirms Oil Lobbyist David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary
Nicky Reid
The Strange Success of Russiagate
Chris Gilbert
Defending Venezuela: Two Approaches
Todd Larsen
The Planetary Cost of Amazon’s Convenience
Kelly Martin
How the White House is Spinning Earth Day
Nino Pagliccia
Cuba and Venezuela: Killing Two Birds With a Stone
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Guadalcanal and Bloody Ridge, Solomon Islands
David Kattenburg
Trudeau’s Long Winter
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
Ellen Lindeen
What Does it Mean to Teach Peace?
Adewale Maye and Eileen Appelbaum
Paid Family and Medical Leave: a Bargain Even Low-Wage Workers Can Afford
Ramzy Baroud
War Versus Peace: Israel Has Decided and So Should We
Ann Garrison
Vets for Peace to Barbara Lee: Support Manning and Assange
Thomas Knapp
The Mueller Report Changed my Mind on Term Limits
Jill Richardson
Why is Going Green So Hard? Because the System Isn’t
Mallika Khanna
The Greenwashing of Earth Day
Arshad Khan
Do the Harmless Pangolins Have to Become Extinct?
Paul Armentano
Pushing Marijuana Legalization Across the Finish Line
B. R. Gowani
Surreal Realities: Pelosi, Maneka Gandhi, Pompeo, Trump
Paul Buhle
Using the Law to Build a Socialist Society
David Yearsley
Call Saul
Elliot Sperber
Ecology Over Economy 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail