Breaking News
Home » Rockies » Montana » Western Montana » Bozeman » Tester, Secrecy on Wilderness Bill is Embarrassing
Two weeks ago (June 22), I posted a short story about Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) getting ready to test the political waters on the Wilderness issue. I based the story mainly on background noise from key stakeholders who have been left out of the process, which is most of us. All were rightfully angry, as they should be, that Senator Tester wouldn't involve them in the process of developing this significant legislation. At the time, I tried to get any details about the upcoming legislation from Tester's office or green groups working on it, but all refused to say anything except that introduction was imminent. This Monday (July 6), Associated Press writer Matt Gouras wrote an excellent article highlighting the same point--a Wilderness bill coming soon, but refusals by Tester's staff and green group insiders to give any details on what might be in it. Wilderness and forest management are huge issues for most Montanans, and I'm delighted to see Senator Tester finally start to think about fulfilling his campaign promise to protect Montana's roadless lands, but this secretive, exclusive process of developing this major legislation is embarrassing.

Tester, Secrecy on Wilderness Bill is Embarrassing

Two weeks ago (June 22), I posted a short story about Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) getting ready to test the political waters on the Wilderness issue. I based the story mainly on background noise from key stakeholders who have been left out of the process, which is most of us. All were rightfully angry, as they should be, that Senator Tester wouldn’t involve them in the process of developing this significant legislation. At the time, I tried to get any details about the upcoming legislation from Tester’s office or green groups working on it, but all refused to say anything except that introduction was imminent.

This Monday (July 6), Associated Press writer Matt Gouras wrote an excellent article highlighting the same point–a Wilderness bill coming soon, but refusals by Tester’s staff and green group insiders to give any details on what might be in it.

Wilderness and forest management are huge issues for most Montanans, and I’m delighted to see Senator Tester finally start to think about fulfilling his campaign promise to protect Montana’s roadless lands, but this secretive, exclusive process of developing this major legislation is embarrassing.

As I write this, a privileged few from major green groups and the wood products industry are basically drafting this legislation, and our junior Senator considers the rest of us have-nots, telling constituents–and the media–to wait for the press conference. Instead of carefully keeping his thumb on it, Tester should be facilitating a public process on what direction the legislation should take.

In response to this criticism, Tester’s staff says introducing the bill is only the beginning of the process and the public will have time and opportunity to provide feedback on the bill. In other words, we can propose amendments to change the bill before it goes to the White House.

That’s true, of course, but it’s much harder to change an existing bill after introduction than before it gets into the Congressional sausage-grinder. Whatever Tester agrees to introduce in the first place will be very close to what he wants or doesn’t want, right? So, from that point on, it makes it’s an uphill battle for his constituency to affect any meaningful change.

Constituents and media requesting copies of the draft legislation are being told to wait for the news release or call the general number and give their views on forest management. How weird is this? Telling people to call in and comment on something they haven’t seen?

Essentially, Senator Tester is saying to his constituents, “As soon as I make my mind up on what I want to do, I’ll be glad to listen to you.”

That seems a bit contrary, to say the least, to Tester’s oft-stated position in support of openness in government. On his official U.S. Senate website, in fact, Tester forcefully states he supports “transparency in government.”

I had to choke on that one after two weeks of trying to find out anything about his plans for Montana’s public lands, which he has made as opaque as possible.

Instead of this closed, backroom process that involves only a handful of tight-lipped insiders, Tester should be willingly sending out copies of the draft legislation or at least a synopsis of what’s going to be in the bill. This would give his entire constituency a chance to at least comment on the general direction of the legislation before the door is mostly closed.

That seems like smart politics, too, sending out trial balloons to get a good read on the buzz the bill will create before it goes into the hopper.

The bill will, apparantly, be based on the controversial Beaverhead-Deerlodge Partnership. That might be good or bad, depending on your politics, but it’s certainly indicative of the attitude we see coming out of Tester’s office. After a series of meetings with local governing bodies, nonprofits and industry groups, a half-dozen people secretly drafted the BDP–and then refused to make any change in it once drafted. Now, it seems, the same goes with the drafting of this major legislation.

So, Senator Tester, let’s have a little “transparency in government.” You can start by stepping into the backroom and demand an immediate halt to this humiliating charade.

Footnote: At about the same time I was writing this commentary, Matt Gouras was distributing another article on Tester’s secret wilderness bill. Click here to read it.

About Bill Schneider

Check Also

Greg Gianforte Charged With Misdemeanor Assault

Montana’s GOP House candidate Greg Gianforte has been charged with misdemeanor assault after attacking a ...

42 comments

  1. How can you whine and complain about his plan – and then say you know nothing about it?

  2. Anything that says wilderness is bound to bring out the crazies on both the left and right. The left will say is isn’t enough and ignore the fact that their insistence on all or nothing has kept any new wilderness from being created in Montana for decades. The right will have its predictable kneejerk reaction to anything with a “w” in it (wilderness, wildlife, etc.). Sounds to me like Sen. Tester is pretty smart to get some rational conservation groups and some rational timber groups to find a consensus on something they can both support before making it public and allow the crazies to start picking it appart prematurely.

  3. He’s not complaining about the plan, he’s complaining about the process.

  4. This is Pew “wilderness,” pure and simple. Pew ran the Clinton roadless plan, and to this day few people have any clue how riddled it is with logging, mining and oil and gas loopholes. Pew has redefined “protection.” Pew’s (Sun Oil Co.) Heritage Forest Campaign is driving this process, which explains why Montanans aren’t in the loop.

    And sdm, “rational” means what? Lots of money? Having a vested financial interest? What?

  5. TRANSPARENCY = something that is invisible ! The ability to proceed without disclosure, accountability or recourse.

    Wake up up America
    mm

  6. Matthew Koehler

    Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2009 12:59
    To: “Stone-Manning, Tracy (Tester)” ,
    ,
    “Swanson, Dayna (Tester)”
    From: Matthew Koehler
    Subject: Tester’s Staff: We’re still waiting for you to break the silence

    Hello Tracy and Matt:

    I’d just like to point out that the silence, secrecy and shenanigans from Senator Tester’s office continues regarding your Wilderness/Logging legislation, as we still haven’t been given a copy of the legislation. This is despite repeated requests all week long and yesterday’s promise from someone in your DC office that we’d at least be given maps of the Beaverhead part of your secret proposal.

    Your spokesperson’s notion that once your secret legislation is introduced into Congress “It will be the beginning of the process, not the end” is insulting to everyone. Do you really think that anyone believes that average, ordinary Montanans and Americans will have more of a say in this legislation once it goes to DC?

    Please stop the secrecy and the smoke blowin’ and open up this process to a broad-cross section of Montanans and Americans, who are the rightful owners of these public lands. All your folks have done is served to reward the secret, selective, exclusive nature of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Partnership. That’s not the way we do things in Montana, even if one of the big Beaverhead Partnership promoters happens to be Tracy’s former boss.

    Thanks,

    Matthew Koehler
    WildWest Institute

  7. Did it ever occur to you guys that Tester is letting special interests write the bill and has no idea himself what is in it. That seems to be a part of the change and new direction for the country. Congress votes on bills spending truck loads of our taxpayer dollars, it has not read (and probably does not intend to read).

  8. Montana ALREADY has a wilderness bill. It’s called the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act. The bill utilizes wilderness designation to keep ecosystems functioning. Yesterday’s NY Times wrote this on NREPA: “The proposed legislation offers a vision of where a truly enlightened environmental policy could lead, balancing the needs of both nature and local economies.”

    So why is Tester not leading us in the best direction possible by championing NREPA? Does he not understand ecosystems? Again, from the NY Times: “But horse trading won’t save whole ecosystems.”

  9. Michael Pearlman

    Bill is absolutely right to be calling out Senator Tester on this one. There’s no reason not to allow the public to be part of the process from the beginning unless you have something to hide. I suspect Tester knows that no matter what type of bill emerges, part of his constituency will be extremely displeased. This is his strategy for alleviating that, and it’s one I don’t agree with at all. Backroom politics and deal making at its finest, with the stakeholders left out.

  10. Tester’s office should release the language if the bill has been written.

    BUT, the truth of the matter is that the “stakeholders” who are upset about the “process” already know what they need to know (i.e. this bill is not NREPA and it will involve trade-offs).

    None of you need to read the legislation to know that you are going to oppose it, or at least oppose significant components of it.

    You are upset that your vision of wilderness is not being supported by Tester. But its not like Tester and his staff are oblivious to NREPA, the protection of wildlife corridors, and your point of view; they just don’t support those things as a legislative endeavor. Tester already knows that you would have been opposed to the guts of the bill. What was there to talk about?

    Bottom line is that your vision of a wilderness bill is incompatible with Testers vision. So oppose the bill! But insinuating that Tester’s staff is involved in a political quid pro-quo and black-helicopter-esque comments about Pew running the world are getting your agenda no where. . . fast.

  11. I’ve had my doubts about Tester’s bonafides all along. Every time he “commits” to something (like ending the Iraq War or supporting Single Payer Healthcare), that seems to be a sure sign that he is doing the opposite.
    I hate to use the “Illuminati” arguments and POV, but one little-noted part of Tester’s “resume” is the fact that he’s a Freemason (is that an oxymoron or what?). So was Conrad Burns – in fact, he’s a Shriner, which is about the same as Skull and Bones or the Bilderburgers. These are an elite, secretive, log-rolling (in more ways than one) “Old Boy’s Network” which has been behind every war and criminal conspiracy since our own “revolution” to enshrine rich land and slave-owners as “Masters of the World.” There was a very good History Channel program on it last Friday. Look it up.
    Tester has been talking out of both sides of his mouth all along. We should have gotten really suspicious when he had Gen. Wesley Clark campaign for him here in Great Falls. Clark not only led the NATO assault on Serbia, but was in charge of the School of the Americas as head of the Southern Command. Go figure. According to Democracy, Now!, the generals in the Honduras coup were trained at the SOA.
    So much for the “green,” “red state radical” Tester!

  12. If the New York Times weighed in, that settles it, once and for all. Skip the Committee hearings and put the bill to a vote of the full Senate. The NYT plays big in Montana; last I heard their endorsement decides most every swing race from dog-catcher to Governor and Tester would be an idiot not to grovel at the feet of their ed board. Not to mention, New York state and the rest of New England provides such a shining example of Big Wild and ecosystem protection to us ignorant Westerners.

    Tester is trying to make some progress and break the logjam. He knows he can’t make everybody happy, but maybe he’s entitled to take a crack at it doing things his way. Or is drafting by committee really the best way to overcome a decades-long impasse?

  13. Roderick K. Purcell

    Seems like some folks are just looking for something to complain about.

  14. Y’all remember that Dick Cheney guy and the resultant ‘new’ energy policy we got after his ‘process’?

    While I’d like to think that Dems are all about transparency, accountability and participation in government, that may be a naive assumption. Apparently, democracy can be defined as narrowly or broadly as any politician thinks is appropriate; party doesn’t matter.

    Maybe the public policy process is in the eye of the beholder.

  15. ryanus,

    I have no opinion on this bill because I haven’t seen it, but as you can see from the above, I strongly object to how it’s being drafted. If it is indeed a codification of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge draft bill, then, I would oppose it for the same reasons I oppose that proposal, but as I’ve stated several times, small changes in the BDP bill would make it a great wilderness bill for Montana. I only hope Senator Tester is listening and makes those changes.

    Bill

  16. Tester’s secrecy mirrors MWA’s process in drafting and releasing the Beaverhead-Deerlodge so-called partnership so-called agreement. Most long-time wilderness advocates in Montana, like myself, were kept in the dark by MWA and their partners until the day it hit the media. So, is it surprising the Tester is doing the same thing? No. Is it ethical or respectful of Tester’s constituents? NO! How soon they forget who elected them.

    This land is your land, this land is my land. Demand Senator Tester tell us what he plans to do with our wild country.

  17. Matthew Koehler

    Hello: Over the weekend I heard directly from a good source that the three enviro groups and the four timber mills who were a part of the Beaverhead Partnership signed a “Confidentiality Agreement” prior to the start of their secret negotiations that took place three or four years ago. That’s right! A “Confidentiality Agreement!“

    So, in other words, all Tester is doing by putting the Beaverhead Partnership bill in his legislation is encouraging and codifying public lands management by self-selected special interests groups or corporations who have signed Confidentiality Agreements among themselves while excluding everyone else who is an equal owner of these lands. Is this really how we want the future of public lands management decided? I strongly say “no” and I hope other people do too!

  18. Koehler, if what you’re saying is true, it’s outrageous and unconscionable behavior not just on Tester’s part, but perhaps even more despicable behavior on the part of the three “enviro groups” who collaborated on the deal. As far as Tester is concerned, it’s like I said before; it’s generally good to have and keep Democrats of whatever stripe in office and in the majority, but only up to a point. When the dog turns too blue, the dog is too dangerous and needs to go to the pound. Tester and Baucus both passed that point quite a while back.

  19. C’mon Matthew. Usually, you are very careful about getting your facts straight, but now you’re spreading gossip? This is beneath you. No matter your opinion on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Partnership, the details of it have been posted on line and discussed in public for years. You yourself have criticized them (and raised some good points). You are no Joe McCarthy, Matthew. Stick to the higher road.

  20. Matthew Koehler

    Ben, I got the information from an excellent source who is in the know. It hardly qualifies as “gossip,” although given your close relationship with some of the Beaverhead Partners I can certainly understand why you would attempt to paint this as “gossip.”

    I posted the information, after careful consideration, because I believe it to be credible. Let’s see if anyone in the media asks the Beaverhead Partner’s about this directly and what the Beaverhead Partnership folks have to say about it.

    Regardless, the Beaverhead Partnership has been a secret, exclusive and selective process and that is not the way we do public lands management here in Montana. Thanks.

  21. There is a difference between “doing public lands management” and passing wilderness legislation and they are getting mixed up in this discussion.

    Montanans are certainly entitled to participate in public (federal) lands management under NEPA and nothing in this legislation will impact that. If there are timber releases in the bill, the timber only gets cut under individual projects FOR WHICH KOEHLER ET AL. can object through NEPA and appeal and sue – your right to public participation is preserved. And in fact, if the timber releases are egregious and allow for greater harvests than the environmental impacts of the Forest Plan will allow, then Koehler et al. will have a great legal basis to appeal and sue on (forest plan violations left and right).

    However, you have no NEPA or other right to make Tester listen to your nethers about wilderness legislation. You can run against Tester, you can try to convince others to vote against Tester and call his office about the bill. You can go to the hill and testify to why the Bill is bad and is going to create a huge train wreck between what the B-Bar-D has determined to be a sustainable yield and what Tester’s bill has designated for harvest. Those are your rights and nothing in this Bill takes that away from any Montanan.

    Similarly, nothing prevents private parties from entering into confidentiality agreements.

    Again, at the end of the day people are upset that their notion of wilderness legislation is not being supported by Tester (and that this legislation has problems) and while you can be frustrated that Tester isn’t listening to you, you have no formal or informal right to be involved in drafting the legislation.

  22. Ok Matthew, were you tipping back a few at the Top Hat when this ‘source’ gave you information? You are the one who so enjoys outing folks. Unless you give the source it is, in fact, GOSSIP.

  23. Matthew Koehler

    Nice try KellyBoy, but I haven’t been in the Top Hat for about 10 years. I stand by what was related to me this weekend from a good source regarding the confidentiality agreement signed between all the Beaverhead Partners and would encourage members of the Montana media to ask these folks directly about this. Perhaps you should do the same KellyBoy. Thanks.

  24. Ryanus – You’re contradicting yourself here, pard. First you wrote:

    By ryanus, 7-09-09
    Tester’s office should release the language if the bill has been written.

    Then you go on to tell us today (7/13):
    “nothing in this legislation will impact that.”

    Unless you’ve seen the bill, how can you know what it does and doesn’t do, what it may or may not circumvent or mandate in the way of timber harvests, FS targets, or appeals processes?

    I mean, wasn’t that the purpose of Bill’s column? To say we Montanans haven’t, as a matter of fact, been able to read the language of the bill about OUR public lands and hence, we have no real idea of what’s in it. We can’t very well comment to Tester, as he requested, without looking through the bill, and we can’t really argue about it and make the comments you have unless we get to see the exact language (not a spin-filled press release), either. Those concerns seem well-stated here and the rest of it is pretty much conjecture at this point.

  25. Filbert Manyponies

    Matthew and Bill lived in a cave
    At each other, how they’d rant, how they’d rave!
    “We feel so left out!!”
    They’d whine and they’d pout
    All the while for a baby binky they’d crave!

  26. I just read the article in today’s Missourian concerning this. Tester is saying this is not just about Wilderness but other things such as jobs, (and corporate welfare). If that is true then in my mind the debate over timber jobs (corporate welfare) is over. Montana economics has a strong relationship between Wilderness and job creation. There are more jobs and much more sustainable jobs created in Montana because of Wilderness than trying to keep a few small mills running at the sacrifice of the natural resources that draw so many businesses and money to Montana.
    Tim Baker of the MWA is quoted as saying “It seems a little bit disingenuous for critics to claim they’re somehow kept out of knowing what these projects are about” The secrecy is well known, I was on the Board and Executive Board of the MWF for the past several years, and never once was I informed of the negotiations even as VP-Issues, most likely because NWF was/is pulling the MWF around by the nose ring.
    All Tester is doing is reducing our valuable natural resources down to the most common denominator. If Tester wants to create jobs, don’t do it under a sheet of darkness and certainly not under the guise of creating Wilderness. Wilderness is not being established but destroyed by Tester approach. At least with a Republican in office the lands were safe. If Tester doesn’t get the message then we need to replace him.

  27. Would you mind listing the jobs created by wilderness, and how much they pay? I was under the impression that is why you guys want wilderness to keep anyone from making a living from “oour public land”….well maybe you don’t mind minimum wage to those who build trails for you and haul out your trash.

  28. Matthew Koehler

    What follows are snips from Wildlands CPR’s response to Tester Wilderness Bill Announcement available at http://www.wildlandscpr.org/blog/controversial-mt-wilderness-land-management-bill-due-out-friday

    “Wildlands CPR has not been part of that partnership, but we reviewed their initial draft proposal very carefully and had both significant concerns about and some praise for the proposal. If the final bill looks a lot like the draft, however, then we’re not quite sure they’ll succeed with the restoration they propose.

    ….Tester’s office explains that the legislation will be released on Friday, and that it is not simply a wilderness bill, but a land management bill. And that’s exactly what concerns us…

    Way back in 2004, when lots of groups were starting to work on collaborative wilderness/land management bills, Wildlands CPR put together a special issue of our newsletter with a series of articles dedicated to that specific topic and our positions on it. We don’t think Congress should legislate Forest Plans – it doesn’t make sense to us because of how severely it ties the hands of land managers.

    …we don’t think there’s enough money in the timber sales to pay for the restoration through stewardship contracting, so we’re worried that the restoration wouldn’t really happen, even though the logging would. We also have serious questions about thinning in lodgepole pine forests, which are dependent on stand-replacing (a.k.a. catastrophic) fire for regeneration. “

  29. What “green groups”?? That’s the article’s major flaw. If NRDC, Sierra Club, and the Wilderness Society were involved, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

  30. Matthew Koehler,
    nice quote below….

    “Hey Aaron, I suggest you bone up a little bit on your “talking points” for your KECI interview tomorrow morning, because they’re having me on for 10 minutes after you and you can bet I’ll let viewers know the real story behind your carefully crafted talking points. What a great way to start a beautiful summer morning!”

    Seriously, I’m sure Aaron is shaking in his boots. I mean, when you’re facing the obstructionist environmental group trifecta of the Wildwest Institute, Wildlands CPR, and The Alliance for the Wild Rockies who wouldn’t be scared?
    Tester’s continued stance of ignoring your organization along with your increasingly desperate sounding press whining is making great political theatre,…please by all means keep it up.
    Make us proud!!

  31. Matthew Koehler

    FYI: For the record, I’m not even on the The Wilderness Society’s wildalert list and all I did was share Paul Richards’ article with people. Thanks, – Matthew Koehler

    ———–

    From Paul Richards

    The e-mails below are quite illuminating. I’ve been a Wilderness Society member since 1972 – 37 years! Longer than any one of these people!

    And now they want to take me off of our Wilderness Society e-mail list because they deem me “unsupportive.”

    These people have sheer disdain for public information, public debate, and public involvement. With these negatives attitudes about the public, they certainly should NOT be determining the future of our public lands. Let them open waffle shops!

    All my best,

    Paul Richards
    PR Media Consultants®
    Public Interest Media Since 1968

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Jared White, TWS
    Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2009 4:10 PM
    To: Peter Aengst; paul@prmediaconsultants.com
    Subject: RE: Paul Richards on Tester’s Logging Bill

    Sure.
    I don’t think this will get much play.  If it does, Tester’s response is supposedly something like, ‘ I have to write bill for the entire state of Montana, not just Paul Richards”..

    ————-

    From: Peter Aengst, TWS
    Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2009 3:59 PM
    To: Jared White, TWS
    Subject: FW: Paul Richards on Tester’s Logging Bill

    Can you check with Kathy Kilmer and see if it is possible to remove certain unsupportive people from our wildalert lists? Like Paul Richards and say Matthew Koehler (see his direct quoting of our alert below)

    Peter

    ————–

    From: Peter Aengst
    Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2009 3:58 PM
    To: Scott Brennan; Jared White; ‘Tom Reed’; ‘Bruce Farling’; Tom France; Ben Long; Barb Cestero; (tbaker@wildmontana.org)
    Subject: FW: Paul Richards on Tester’s Logging Bill

    A gold star to anyone who has the patience to read through all of this rant…

    Do note that I wouldn’t be surprised if some try to make a “broken campaign promise” media story out of this.

    Peter

    ————-

    STATEMENT OF PAUL RICHARDS, FORMER CANDIDATE FOR U.S. SENATE, CONCERNING THE TESTER LOGGING BILL

    @ http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/6/10/2472743/Richardsletter.pdf

  32. http://www.billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/article_2eecb4ca-72fe-11de-a13a-001cc4c002e0.html

    The bill really isn’t all that bad. Some of you are certainly more outspoken typing here than at a press conference.

  33. The map on Tester’s scheme shows relatively very little Wilderness formally designated for protection and what is formally and reliably protected is relatively not as ecologically productive in comparison to the areas that are forever released for exploitation and motorized trashing. I am not impressed and, again, my greatest worry is that the passage of this kind of bait-and-switch scheme will be used as a political ploy to poison the well for further Wilderness protection. I can hear it now, “Tester gave them some wilderness; but, the enviros are never satisfied.” The truth is that this scheme, announced at a sawmill, isn’t very satisfying to those of us who believe that we need to protect what little we have left. as to the process that created it, the e-mail string posted by Koehler above speaks for itself; it’s a disgusting display of deceit and duplicity on the part of this bull’s, er, bill’s backers.

  34. Anything less than 110% under enviro control is never enough is it?

  35. That ridiculous comment just proved my point. Let me say it again; the passage of this kind of bait-and-switch scheme will be used as a political ploy to poison the well for further Wilderness protection. I can hear it now, “Tester gave them some wilderness; but, the enviros are never satisfied.” The truth is that this scheme, announced at a sawmill, protects very little Wilderness in comparison to the areas that are forever released for exploitation and motorized trashing. Furthermore, the areas that are protected are not as ecologically valuable, as wilderness, as the areas that are being traded off for exploitation and motorized trashing. This is not that good of a bill overall.

  36. “This is not that good of a bill overall.”

    Compared to what? The status quo? NREPA? The Healthy Forest Protection Act?

    Hypothetically speaking, what if the bill puts people to work in small towns across W. MT with jobs that pay good money, while simultaneously protecting over 500k acres of wilderness. Would that be good, hypothetically?

  37. NREPA is a great proposal with great conservation benefits; but, there are many intermediate points between NREPA, which is an outstanding proposal, and this Tester proposal, which is grotesquely lopsided in favor of releasing too much land for exploitation and trashing by thrillcraft. This bill is simply not a good balance between protection and the release of this much precious roadless and wilderness study land. If this is the best “compromise” that Tester and his cronies can come up with, then we should just leave these roadless and wilderness study lands under Vilsack’s control until we can get a better, more mature, hearing. I don’t believe we’re not so hard up that we need to accept anything this insulting.

    …and ryanus, if you need a job, get some education and some job skills. I know that all that study and homework is no fun; but, it worked for me.

  38. Ahhh yes, real mike, your education shows everytime you resort to name calling and insults when you disagree with someone during an discussion. You may be so busy throwing tantrums that you are unaware that approximately 10% of those wanting jobs are without. Our country needs to return to productiveness, not pandering to special interests.

  39. Todd, our country needs to return to properly funding public education in order to return to productiveness and it’s special interests like you and ryanus and “hellpig” and “Smashicus” that we need to stop pandering to. Without proper education, we can allow the clearcutting of every stick on the continent and all we’ll get will be more tattoos, booze, shot-up road signs, and overpriced thrillcraft that get tossed aside after they get torn up in the first 3 or 4 outings. …oh yeah, I forgot to mention the feral pitbulls running between the trailers and the wrecked thrillcraft. Visit the oil worker slums on the outskirts of Midland, Texas, if you want to see what the ultimate combination of no education, easy money, and virtually unregulated exploitation yields even under the best and most benign circumstances …and, if you’re going to keep mindlessly preaching unrestricted exploitation of public lands as the answer, you need to visit northern India, Haiti, Madagascar, or any one of many other hellholes where your philosophy reigns unchecked. For that matter, haven’t you ever been to Butte? What do you think you’re seeing there …the results of smart growth? Is that your idea of what America is supposed to be …a perpetual effort to clean up after your kind gets done?

  40. Todd, I forgot to mention Oregon, where unrestrained clearcutting has destabilized slopes and resulted in some of the most destructive mudslides anywhere. Then there’s Libby, if you favor unrestricted exploitation, take a drive to Libby and draw a good deep breath of freedom …your kind, the toxic kind. I could go on and on; but, it’s pointless talking to you.

  41. How in the world did you make a connection between more funding for schools and cutting timber…..other than timbering provides tax money for schools. Money that certainly isn’t paid by the tax free enviros.
    I would like for schools to teach more of the math and basics so kids can spell, read, and do math. Certaqinly debating skills wouldn’t hurt either so you do not have to rely on name calling and insulting all who disagree with you.
    If you think so little of oil field workers, miners, ranchers, farmers, try doing without anything they produce for even a day. On top of that they pay the taxes that pay the taxes that make it possible for the “non-profits” to look down their noses and denigrate them. Like it or lump it my friend you are dependent on those you think are beneath you! Never forget that.

  42. Real Mike:

    You don’t know what or who you are talking / writing about.

    And while I realize that the fact I am devoting anytime to this blog implies I have no job . . . I am in fact gainfully employed with a fantastic job that is dependent on seven years of post-highschool education.

    Consider this notion, and decide for yourself whether and how it is relevant to this conversation: The Forest Service is not the same agaency it was twenty years ago.

    Bon Chance!