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very amusing latest Bush appointment article(5 posts)

very amusing latest Bush appointment articleMJ
Sep 4, 2002 3:44 AM

New wildfire plan watchdog has unorthodox views

By Faith Bremner
Gannett News Service

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WASHINGTON — The man chosen to head the Bush administration's wildfire prevention program doubts the existence of ecosystems and says it would not be a crisis if the nation's threatened and endangered species became extinct.

Allan Fitzsimmons was named yesterday to be in charge of reducing fire danger on lands managed by the Interior Department. But Fitzsimmons' background as a free-market policy analyst and his writings for libertarian and conservative think tanks have alarmed environmental groups across the West. The groups say Fitzsimmons' appointment confirms their fears that the recently announced program the administration calls the Healthy Forests Initiative is a smokescreen for a return to unfettered logging. "How can a man who doesn't understand ecological systems and community values for wildlife run a program that's supposed to protect forests and communities?" asked John McCarthy, spokesman for the Idaho Conservation League. "People won't have confidence in this guy. He'll be divisive, it will all be based on junk science."

For the past 10 years, he has operated his consulting firm, Balanced Resource Solutions in Woodbridge, Va. Between 1983 and 1992, he held a series of policy-setting jobs in the Interior and Energy departments. He holds a doctorate in geography.

He said his goal in forest policy is not to tilt toward either heavy logging or excessive protections.

"The intent is to get that pendulum as close to the center as you can," he told The Oregonian. "It's not devious. It's certainly not a cynical attempt to turn chain saws loose from sea to shining sea with smoke from forest fires as a cover," as some environmentalists charge.

Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, is expected to introduce legislation next week that would carry out at least some of President Bush's forest-management ideas. Bush wants to have logging companies thin the forests in exchange for the right to harvest larger, commercially valuable trees.

His plan would suspend environmental rules and make it harder for the public to sue to stop thinning work from going forward. Environmentalists support thinning forests around homes and communities, but only if loggers keep their saws away from the large trees.

In "The Illusion of Ecosystem Management," published in 1999 by the Political Economy Research Center, which says it applies market principles to environmental problems, Fitzsimmons says ecosystems exist only in the human imagination and cannot be delineated. Federal policies, therefore, should not be used to try to manage or restore them, he wrote.

In another paper, entitled "Ecological Confusion among the Clergy," Fitzsimmons criticizes religious leaders who encourage their parishioners to worship God by protecting the environment. He singled out Catholic bishops who issued their own paper in 1997 in support of protecting and restoring the Columbia River watershed. The paper was published in 2000 by the Center for Economic Personalism, which advocates limited government and promotes religion and "economic liberty."

"By urging the public to make changes in their lives to accommodate nonexistent ecosystem needs, one wonders if the bishops are beginning inadvertently to make an idol out of their own creation, what they call the Columbia Basin ecosystem," he writes.

He added that the biodiversity crisis religious leaders often point to is not a crisis at all. There are between 250,000 and 750,000 species in the United States and 1,201 are on the Fish and Wildlife Service's endangered and threatened list.

"If each of these species were to become extinct tomorrow, our total biological en
re: very amusing latest Bush appointment articleJon Billheimer
Sep 4, 2002 6:19 AM
Isn't this pretty typical of GWB?
Yes, he is a terrible man, and a horrible President...TJeanloz
Sep 4, 2002 6:38 AM
There are so many people in the world who believe GWB to be a genius that it is essential for the Gaurdian to nitpick his every appointment and point out his deficiencies at every possible opportunity.

People on the wrong side of the aisle (who happen to be liberal now, but were the conservatives during the Clinton administration) always get upset by certain appointments. Appointments like these are pure politics. If you already stand no chance of getting the green vote, which is Mr. Bush's position, why should you pander to them with appointments. You're better off enraging them on meaningless issues like fire control (which is such a problem because of environmental zealotry), so that you can distract them from global warming and tapping the keg at ANWR. When you've already lost a constituancy, and have them organizing against you full time, you damn well aren't going to do them any favors. It's the spoils of politics.
not from the GuardianMJ
Sep 4, 2002 6:43 AM
there's lots of others who are critical

agree it's the spoils of politics

but it's kind of like appointing someone who can't read to be the head of Education
That would seriously amuse me...TJeanloz
Sep 4, 2002 8:36 AM
I would be very amused to have someone who is illiterate be the head of education- and why not, they are in the best position to know the importance of education.