FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

When is a Logging Road “Not a Road”?

Ten Mile-South Helena Logging Road.

How does the Forest Service justify bulldozing new roads where they are not supposed to be?  Only by saying, “this feature is not a road.”

war is peace
freedom is slavery
ignorance is strength

These are the official slogans of the Party as inscribed at the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984.  The Party is able to get individuals to accept anything it decrees even if it is totally illogical.  Now, although it’s 2020, it might as well be 1984.  When shown the picture of a road (see above) that was not authorized by the Forest Service’s Record of Decision for the Ten Mile-South Helena clearcutting project, The Trump administration’s Department of Justice lawyers responded: “This feature is not a road.”

Two years ago the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit to overturn the Trump administration’s decision to proceed with the massive, landscape-scale Ten Mile-South Helena project that will clearcut thousands of acres, including roadless lands, on the Continental Divide.

The pictures above were filed by other plaintiffs in a Motion to the federal district court to graphically show the Court that there was a road where no roads were authorized or approved.  Trump, who has lied over 16,000 times as President, now has such total control of federal government agencies headed by his industry lobbyist appointees that agency attorneys feel comfortable saying an obvious road bulldozed into the forest is not a road. In Trump’s world where ignorance is strength and logging roads are not roads, Helena-Lewis and Clark Forest Supervisor Bill Avey’s decision authorizes logging on 11,650 acres, clearcutting 2,239 acres, and bulldozing 15 miles of new roads into Inventoried Roadless Areas that are supposed to be protected by President Bill Clinton’s Roadless Rule.

The Helena National Forest’s decision to clearcut Helena, Montana’s watershed – and much, much more — is part of the Forest Service’s endless war against the environment.  One of the primary reasons President Teddy Roosevelt created the Forest Service in 1905 was to protect municipal watersheds from massive clearcuting and road-building by unregulated and out-of-control timber companies.

Scientists tell us that to protect watersheds for fisheries, wildlife, municipalities and commerce, we need to limit logging and road-building to provide clean drinking water.  Too many roads lead to too many clearcuts. Too many clearcuts and roads lead to too much sediment flowing into creeks and too many weeds, which are more flammable than native grasses and lead to too many fires.

How does the Forest Service justify bulldozing new roads where they are not supposed to be?  Only by saying, “this feature is not a road.”  To deny that new roads harm watersheds and destroy habitat for threatened species like grizzly bears and lynx, the Forest Service now thinks it can simply state that a logging road is not a road — and therefore cannot threaten endangered species habitat.

Roads are bad for wildlife, especially grizzly bears. Because most grizzly bears are killed by poachers near roads, the Forest Service’s own rules – pursuant to Endangered Species Act requirements to restore threatened and endangered species — limit the number of roads that can be built-in occupied grizzly bear habitat.  But since loggers need roads to haul trees out of the forest, Trump’s Forest Service is trying to say the rule doesn’t apply here because it is not occupied grizzly bear habitat.  Undercutting their argument is the fact that the Forest Service’s own documents show that it is occupied grizzly habitat.  Under Trump, the Ministry of Truth says occupied is not occupied.  In Trump’s world, bulldozing and clearcutting forests improves, not degrades, watersheds — and roads are not roads.

But it’s 2020, not 1984 – and Alliance for the Wild Rockies is once again challenging the Forest Service’s destruction of our national forests, the streams they feed, and the wildlife for which they provide critical habitat.  The Forest Service can try its best to convince a federal judge that a road is not a road – but rest assured, the Alliance will be there to fight this latest Orwellian attack on America’s natural heritage.

Please join us in fighting for truth, justice, and the environment.  

 

More articles by:

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

Weekend Edition
August 14, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Lights! Camera! Kill! Hollywood, the Pentagon and Imperial Ambitions.
Joseph Grosso
Bloody Chicken: Inside the American Poultry Industry During the Time of COVID
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: It Had to be You
H. Bruce Franklin
August 12-22, 1945: Washington Starts the Korean and Vietnam Wars
Pete Dolack
Business as Usual Equals Many Extra Deaths from Global Warming
Paul Street
Whispers in the Asylum (Seven Days in August)
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Predatory Capitalism and the Nuclear Threat in the Age of Trump
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
‘Magical Thinking’ has Always Guided the US Role in Afghanistan
Ramzy Baroud
The Politics of War: What is Israel’s Endgame in Lebanon and Syria?
Ron Jacobs
It’s a Sick Country
Eve Ottenberg
Trump’s Plan: Gut Social Security, Bankrupt the States
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s Fake News
Jonathan Cook
How the Guardian Betrayed Not Only Corbyn But the Last Vestiges of British Democracy
Joseph Natoli
What Trump and the Republican Party Teach Us
Robert Fisk
Can Lebanon be Saved?
Brian Cloughley
Will Biden be Less Belligerent Than Trump?
Kenn Orphan
We Do Not Live in the World of Before
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Compromise & the Status Quo
Andrew Bacevich
Biden Wins, Then What?
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
The Criminology of Global Warming
Michael Welton
Toppled Monuments and the Struggle For Symbolic Space
Prabir Purkayastha
Why 5G is the First Stage of a Tech War Between the U.S. and China
Daniel Beaumont
The Reign of Error
Adrian Treves – John Laundré
Science Does Not Support the Claims About Grizzly Hunting, Lethal Removal
David Rosen
A Moment of Social Crisis: Recalling the 1970s
Maximilian Werner
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf: Textual Manipulations in Anti-wolf Rhetoric
Pritha Chandra
Online Education and the Struggle over Disposable Time
Robert Koehler
Learning from the Hibakushas
Seth Sandronsky
Teaching in a Pandemic: an Interview With Mercedes K. Schneider
Dean Baker
Financing Drug Development: What the Pandemic Has Taught Us
Greta Anderson
Blaming Mexican Wolves for Livestock Kills
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Meaning of the Battle of Salamis
Mel Gurtov
The World Bank’s Poverty Illusion
Paul Gilk
The Great Question
Rev. Susan K. Williams Smith
Trump Doesn’t Want Law and Order
Martin Cherniack
Neo-conservatism: The Seductive Lure of Lying About History
Nicky Reid
Pick a Cold War, Any Cold War!
George Wuerthner
Zombie Legislation: the Latest Misguided Wildfire Bill
Lee Camp
The Execution of Elephants and Americans
Christopher Brauchli
I Read the News Today, Oh Boy…
Tony McKenna
The Truth About Prince Philip
Louis Proyect
MarxMail 2.0
Sidney Miralao
Get Military Recruiters Out of Our High Schools
Jon Hochschartner
Okra of Time
David Yearsley
Bringing Landscapes to Life: the Music of Johann Christian Bach
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail