Hugh Hewitt - Principal Contributor
is senior member of the CaliforniaRepublic.org editorial board.
'Habitat Protection' Causes Killer Infernos
Liberal fuel for the burning hills...
The scale of the wildfires in my home state is simply too staggering
for most observers to comprehend.
As I write
this on Monday night, 400,000 acres have burned. More than
1,100 homes have
burned, and more than a dozen deaths
are attributed to the fire. The aftermath will bring new challenges,
including the mud slides and erosion problems certain to follow
in the wake of the first rains.
This is the
year of California's big burn. In years past it has been South
Dakota, Arizona and
Colorado. Other fires will
follow, and each time the public will be fed a steady line
of excuses for the destruction.
fire has always been with us. What has not been a feature of
the West, however,
has been the perversion
policies to extremist environmental agendas.
of land use in the West know that since 1992, the aggressive
expansion of the mandates of the
Species Act has led to a crazy quilt approach of federal
dictates, many of which are simply incomprehensible.
array of designations of critical habitat for a variety
and the threat of federal criminal law violations for
illegal "take" of
any of a growing list of species has led to a dramatic
curtailment of habitat management that has allowed fuel
loads to skyrocket
throughout the region.
the radical expansion of the National Environmental Policy
Act as a tool of
obstruction has mirrored the
rise of the "no growth" movement among environmental
activists. Logging plans are routinely challenged
and die a death of delay
and obstruction. The predictable consequences are
infernos that feed on the years of neglect.
media arrive at the scene of the disaster,
they hear of Santa Ana winds and drought, but never
relentless opposition to common-sense management
practices that could
limit the destruction. They never learn that the
to use just one example, was listed as endangered
a decade ago despite a robust population here and
United States Fish and Wildlife Service routinely
refuses to propose aggressive brush-management practices
local governments and landowners to proactively
clear habitat that might house the birds. Rather, the Service
to issue sweeping designations of "critical
publication of which complicates the management
and use of land that doesn't even support gnatcatchers.
than a decade, the leadership of the "resource" agencies
at the state and local level has included numerous
individuals who lack the ability or the motivation
to serve the communities
that need innovation and action, not more grand
plans and environmental documents. President Bush
and Gov. Schwarzenegger would both
do themselves great good with the public if they
embraced reform of these government bureaucracies
that have once again failed
to protect either the public or the environment
Principal Contributor Hugh Hewitt is an author, television commentator
and syndicated talk-show host of the Salem Radio Network's Hugh
Hewitt Show, heard in over 40 markets around the country. His
opinions on national issues can be found at HughHewitt.com
and he writes a weekly column (Wednesdays) for WorldNetDaily.com.
But Not Of
by Hugh Hewitt
by Hugh Hewitt
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by Hugh Hewitt