published Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Battle for spotted owls doesn't help them much but hurts logging jobs

If it weren't for the economic harm that environmental extremism has done in the Northwestern United States, the long-running debate over spotted owls versus logging might be laughable. But destroying jobs needlessly is no laughing matter.

As you may recall, harsh, federally imposed logging restrictions in the 1990s killed thousands of jobs in the timber industry across large areas of the Northwest. The goal of the restrictions was to rescue the threatened population of Northern spotted owls by protecting their habitat.

But no one seemed to have considered carefully the full range of causes for the spotted owls' dwindling numbers. And despite massive reductions in logging, the owls' decline continues rapidly even today. In fact, the head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's effort to help the owls recover has said there is scant evidence that the logging ban did any good.

As it turns out, nature itself is playing a huge role in the spotted owls' falling numbers. The bird is a victim of the much more aggressive barred owl, which competes with spotted owls for food and at times even kills spotted owls.

So oppressive federal logging bans haven't saved the spotted owl, yet they have destroyed economic growth.

What does the Obama administration plan to do about that?

Well, it has devised a plan to shoot barred owls in some areas of the Northwest, to protect spotted owls from their aggressive cousins.

The administration has also said it will allow some very limited logging to reduce the risk of wildfires and create jobs -- though there are serious doubts that such a narrow allowance for logging will do much to restore lost timber industry jobs.

In late 2008, then-President-elect Obama said on "60 Minutes," "What you see in FDR, that I hope my team can emulate, is not always getting it right but projecting a sense of confidence and a willingness to try things and experiment in order to get people working again."

We'd rather the president "get it right" more often and "experiment" less. And in this case, we don't even need to experiment. We already know what would create jobs in the timber industry: ending misguided logging restrictions that have demonstrably failed to achieve their environmental goals.

Unfortunately, that does not appear to be in prospect.

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librul said...

Google Earth reveals that the destruction which conservationists (who the TFP would call "environmental extremists") were protesting in the National Forests of the western states was real and an affront to logic and reason.

I urge all Americans to simply log on and look at the tattered remnants of our western forests. Pitiful patchwork quilts of clearcuts left in slash and eroded gullies by the Reagan chainsaw brigades. Logging jobs and communities dependent upon them were decimated by the resource gluttony of the paper/pulp and lumber industries. High quality lumber in the U.S. is now a scarce commodity because of this short-sighted debacle.

Millions of board feet of 700 year-old Alaskan and northwestern forests were mowed down and sent to Japan where they were scuttled in the sea in an effort to preserve them until they could be converted to computer paper or plywood. And much of that is floating back to our western shores as tsunami debris. I guess what goes around comes around.

The destruction of wildlife habitat and the sad but necessary manipulation of wildlife populations in an effort to save affected species whose habitats were destroyed are a direct result of the greed and blind political devotion to wasteful abuse of a resource that will take hundreds of years to recover - if it is ever seen again at all.

March 6, 2012 at 10:45 a.m.
holdout said...

No matter how you cook an owl it tastes nasty.

March 7, 2012 at 11:17 a.m.
CADMAN1 said...

Tyical librul BS

March 7, 2012 at 1:38 p.m.
librul said...

Your avatar has big eyes, CADMAN1, but like you, it's obviously blind. Pictures from space, such as this one, showing the contrast between a National Park (right) and a National Forest (left), prove my point.

March 7, 2012 at 10:54 p.m.
BlueMtMom said...

librul if you knew anything about the logging industry or reforestation you would know that companies like Weyerhauser, ITT Rayonier, and the little guys like Mayer Bros., Sharp, Richardson, etc., all replant after they clear-cut. Clear cutting of old growth helps to get rid of dead trees as well as prevent wildfires while at the same time providing jobs. My family has been involved in the timber industry in the PNW since the 1800's, working in the woods, pulp & paper mills, furniture & door factories, shake mills, building houses. What is YOUR house built of? How about your furniture? Do you use paper towels and toilet paper? Kleenex? Do you read books? Not all this stuff is from recycled paper. We don't recycle our TP!!! Where do you think this stuff comes from? Same place as the "free" services provided by the government?

May 5, 2012 at 5:40 p.m.
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