Environmental movement’s focus puts everyday Americans in peril
The increasingly sclerotic environmental movement, well-financed by the likes of hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer, remains stubbornly focused on carbon dioxide and obscure species to the exclusion and sometimes peril of everyday Americans.
For decades, many Western forests have become dense and overgrown, subject to dangerous fires or deadly insect outbreaks that kill millions of trees. Projects to selectively thin these forests, along with controlled burns to reduce fuel, have been stymied by endless environmental litigation. One such project, to protect Bozeman, Mont.’s, water supply, has been delayed for five years, while the care and feeding of the Canadian lynx is litigated. Another was stopped altogether, only to see large parts of a national forest (and its habitat) go up in flames this summer.
The situation is particularly dire in California, where headwater forests are the source of ∏ of the state’s surface water supply. Because of environmental roadblocks, 99 percent of dams at California’s 1,300 reservoirs are more than 40 years old. The largest of these nearly failed this year, prompting evacuation of 188,000 people. At the same time, the wildfire risk to humans has increased exponentially as more Californians are forced to migrate inland in search of affordable housing. Last year, responding to major fires which had claimed 33 lives since 2003, Sierra Club Director Kathryn Phillips opined, “we need to cut air pollution and greenhouse gases more.”
Her words became cold comfort to the families of the 43 killed in this October’s wildfires, more than doubling that death toll.