Monday, January 03, 2005

Dialogue with the Colorado Springs Gazette

Don't know if they will print my letter, but here is the dialogue so far with the Colorado Springs Gazette and me on their Sunday editorial entitled: "Free Smokey: Reducing Federal Red Tape would reduce forest management costs" (Scroll down and read from bottom to top)


Thanks for the reply. However, I don't accept the paint-with-one-brush
assessment that either one is "an environmental extremist" or that one must
be fall into the "wise use" (read: exploit the environment for all it's
worth) persuasion. We have to come to a balance that weighs the values that
ALL Coloradans cherish as well as work the land in an environmentally
responsible manner. Certainly we need to be good stewards of the National
Forest lands and they must be managed to avoid forest fires. This means that
timber must be harvested. I have no objection to this. Where you object to
the "paralysis of analysis" I instead see the necessary safeguards to ensure
that we do the right thing and that special interests don't run rampant on
our lands. For example, in the Pacific Northwest there are competing
interests between the fishing industry and the timber industry. If the
timber industry has its way then they would fell timber right into the
salmon spawning streams and ruin the livelihood of the fishing industry.
There is a balance that has to be addressed everywhere we decide to make an
impact on our lands. Likewise here in Colorado Springs every day we have to
acknowledge the impact of two scars on the Rampart Range every day of our
lives, and that is just what is visible to us. My hope that with dialogue
that we Coloradans can strike the balance between truly wise stewardship of
the land to include preserving our wild heritage and environmentally
unobtrusive extraction of our natural resources. Therefore it is imperative
that the public have an input into the decision process. Under Clinton and
Babbit they conducted extensive polling of public comment, which came out
OVERWHELMINGLY in favor of protection and conservation. This is what the
PEOPLE value.

Under Bush we have nothing. Nothing but silence and relentless push of their
radical agenda.

Nevertheless, you and I have more in common in our viewpoints than



----- Original Message -----
From: "Gazette Opinion"
To: "Steve Bremner"
Sent: Monday, January 03, 2005 9:16 AM
Subject: Re: Gazette Letter to the Editor: New Forest Service Rules

> Thanks for your feedback, Steve, but it seems to me that you're the one
> stuck in a rut and in "retro" mode. In case you hadn't noticed, the
> forests and wild places you so dearly love are being ravaged by disease,
> wildfire, invasive species and
> threats far more dangerous than the ones you evoke (only two percent of
> U.S. timber production comes from public lands these days, and even if you
> are in denial about it, you're living in a society that's highly dependent
> on minerals and fossil
> fuels, many of which can be responsibly extracted from on or beneath
> public lands). Dealing with these threats will require a return to the
> kind of active management practices that have become impossible under the
> present regulatory regime. The
> just-leave-it-alone, nature-will-take-care-of-itself approach favored by
> ecocentrics is a naive fantasy and failure: man is here to stay; man was
> altering the Western ecosystem before Columbus arrived; we cannot return
> to some mythical Eden or
> Arcadia; resource development and good environmental stewardship are not
> mutually exclusive -- these are realities. It's time that more people
> climb out of the 1960s and embrace them, Steve. The Post is just wrong and
> hysterical to suggest the
> public will be shut out of the decision-making process, or that science
> will somehow be subverted, by updating a wasteful, redundant and
> counterproductive system that has led to "analysis paralysis" and
> deteriorating forest health. The public that
> matters most -- those living amongst the forests in question -- will
> simply have a greater say in matters, balancing the extremists in urban
> areas and Washington who arrogantly believe they know best how to manage
> the "public" lands. The tired old
> arguments and ways of thinking that The Post editorial exemplifies will
> only hamper our ability to deal with the present national forest health
> crisis.
> That, once again, for the feedback.
> Sean Paige
> Editorial Page Editor

Dear Editor,

The stark contrast between the Gazette's and the Denver Post's editorials of today concerning the new Forest Service rules highlights the divide between those interests who want to exploit and ravage our every last vestige of wilderness and those who want to preserve and conserve our heritage for future generations and allow for public comment. On the one hand we have the Gazette, championing no restrictions on timber or mining interests and giving free rein to the Forest Service to plunge ahead with no input from the public. The Denver Post however cautions that public comment is a necessary and vital check in that it requires environmental assessments and management plans to ensure we don't cause irreperrable harm to our forests.

Clearly Denver and the Post are in tune with Coloradans and our love of our wild heritage. Sadly, the Gazette is mired in a retro-viewpoint intent on depleting our very livelihood which is more and more dependent on the tourism that comes from the wild and the forests and pristine environment. This is why we live here.

Steve Bremner

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