'Healthy forests are empty forests'
President Bush's Healthy Forests initiative to eliminate tree scourge from national parks.
Bush gives one of his signature shit-eatin' grins to timber industry lobbyists after signing the initiative.
Washington, D.C.--Trees are a fire hazard and must be cut down, extolled President Bush as he signed his Healthy Forests initiative into law last week.
“We have to protect our national forests from those vengeful, tall, good smellin’ things called trees,” said President Bush. “At some point in our nation’s history, our public land became over run with elms, pine, maples, cedars and all other manner of trees. Well, it’s time to clear ‘em out and take the land back.”
The Healthy Forests Bill is the first major legislation over the country’s national forests in 30 years.
“And I’m the one who gets to make it,” Bush said.
The bill will increase the timber and brush that can be taken from public land and makes it easier to skirt the endangered species act.
“Imagine how safe all of our trees will be when there aren’t any left,” said Andrew Card, White House, Chief of Staff. Bush assured environmental groups that the program would only apply to underbrush and deadwood like the logs shown above.
Rep. Scott McInnis (R-Colo) who sponsored the house bill of the legislation said that the healthy forest initiative was long overdue.
“Many of my constituents have written saying that they can’t enjoy our national forests because trees block their view. Well, this will take care of that.”
Licking their chops, members of the timber industry that were at the signing, unveiled a “healthy forest thresher”, that would be able to cut down trees at ten times the rate of a normal chainsaw.
“The Healthy Forests act is a positive step for all of the Americans who have been clamoring to see our irreplaceable national forests gutted and logged,” said Lewis Donnybrook, President of Allied Timber Associates.
Sen. Ron Whydon (D-Ore) who backed the bill agreed.
“The signing of this bill shows what can happen when we put aside partisanship and cave into the Timber lobby,” he said.
Old growth forests in California, Washington, Montana and other western states will be exempted, if the trees are able to register with the National Forestry Department.
The president was so eager to get rid of the trees that he began clearing brush from a national forest in Virginia immediately following the signing ceremony. Killin' trees is Bush's favorite hobby.
“We wanted to give the trees a ‘voice’ so that all of the tree huggers would shut their yaps,” Card said.
Upon being told that trees could neither write nor move, Card said, “Well, I guess there won’t be very many that are exempted.”
Environmentalists expressed concerned about the scope of the bill.
“I don’t think that there are enough of us to sit in all of the trees that are going to be cut down,” said Larry Leo, president of the Montana Sierra Club.
A study done by the Center for Responsive Politics showed that the timber industry donated $14 million to political campaigns in the last three years. More than 80 percent has gone to Republicans.
“This law won’t prevent every fire but once we cut down all of the trees it will,” President Bush said.
WASHINGTON, DC–Vowing to "restore the pristine splendor of America's natural treasures," President Bush Monday unveiled "Project: National Parks Clean-Up," an ambitious program to remove all toxic petrochemical deposits from national parks by 2004.
Alaska's Denali National Park, one of the many wildlife refuges temporarily closed by Bush (inset).
"Places like Yellowstone and Yosemite were once pure, unspoiled wilderness," Bush said at a White House press conference. "But over the course of the past 10 million years, we have allowed them to become polluted with toxic fossil-fuel deposits, turning a blind eye to the steady build-up of vast quantities of dangerous pollutants. It's time to end this terrible neglect."
Continued Bush: "A comprehensive survey of our parks, conducted by a team of top geologists specially commissioned by me, has discovered giant pockets of petroleum, coal, and other 'fossil poisons' beneath an alarming 38 percent of our national parks' surface area. Though a majority of these poisons are buried under several million tons of rock strata, should they ever seep to the surface and spread into the surrounding areas, they would spell disaster for the parks' precious ecosystems."
To underscore the severity of the crisis, Bush produced a chart illustrating survey results for Yellowstone National Park, where a "staggeringly huge" toxic-petroleum deposit was discovered.
"This amount represents the equivalent of 40,000 supertankers worth of oil," said Bush, gesturing toward a line on the chart. "To put the dangers into perspective, consider this: If these 'petro-poisons' should ever spill out into the park itself, the resulting environmental disaster would be 40,000 times worse than the damage caused by the wreck of the Exxon Valdez."
"We cannot allow such a thing to happen," Bush said. "We must remove this oil now, before it's too late."
An EPA oil-removal pump begins preliminary cleaning of Kings Canyon National Park in California.
Under the Bush plan, 7.2 billion tons of toxic petroleum would be removed by the target date of January 2004. Unlike other federal environmental clean-up initiatives, administration officials say the plan would pay for itself, offsetting costs through the sale of petroleum byproducts produced as a result of the clean-up process.
The clean-up, EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman said, may even prove profitable, a prospect that has attracted the participation of private industry. Already, many U.S. companies have expressed interest in lending assistance, and it is hoped that these companies will carry out much, or perhaps all, of the clean-up effort.
Though "Project: National Parks Clean-Up" represents Bush's first major environmental initiative since taking office, supporters are quick to point that he has been a longtime champion of petroleum removal.
"As governor of Texas, Bush fought tirelessly to protect the state's subterranean environment through a series of massive petrochemical-deposit clean-up projects," Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton said. "Under his governorship, more tons of petroleum-based subterranean environmental contaminants were removed in Texas than in all the national Superfund clean-up sites combined. The Democrats talk a good game about the importance of cleaning up the environment, but when it comes to actually eliminating the threat of enormous oil deposits lurking under the surface of our nation, no one can hold a candle to George W. Bush."
Thus far, reaction has been mixed. Some have said it is unrealistic for the president to try to remove so much petroleum so quickly. Others, such as Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH), have charged that the president is caving in to pressure from environmentalists, arguing that the government's energies would be better directed toward improving the military.
But despite such criticism, Bush stressed that the urgency of removing the oil deposits should take precedence over everything else.
"Nothing is more important than the legacy we leave future generations," Bush said. "The costs of this project pale in comparison to the importance of safeguarding our planet's ecosystem. Our primary mission must be to protect and foster our nation's most precious natural resource: oil. I mean, the environment."
OREGON WILDERNESS PLAN EXEMPLIFIES BEST OF BUSH POLICY
Senator's bravery in the face of public opinion earns him award; new
Forest Service mascot unveiled
The Bush campaign is awarding its first annual "Healthy Forestry"
award to Senator Gordon Smith, R-OR, for finding a way to convert
19,000 acres of prized wilderness into a highly valuable tree farm.
Converting the partially burnt Siskiyou "roadless areas" to tree
farming, despite 70% public opposition to "old growth" logging, will
mean not only the creation of several dozen temporary jobs, but also
will guarantee that the area will never again be subject to "old
growth" and "roadless" restrictions, and will remain forever open to
logging regardless of public opinion.
Sen. Smith has announced that to make this happen, he will attach a
"rider" to a disaster relief or other "must pass" Senate bill,
requiring that the Siskiyou area be logged immediately and replanted
with thousands of timber trees, bypassing Nature's slow, inefficient,
and unprofitable process of recovery. The rider will also stipulate
that it "shall not be subject to judicial review by any court of the
United States"--thus preventing ecoterrorists from using the courts
to interfere with the health of the forestry industry. (See
for more information.)
OLD PROBLEMS, NEW SOLUTIONS
Even some ecoterrorists acknowledge that burnt old-growth trees can
be hazardous to wildlife, as their rotting limbs can easily fall on
innocent elk or deer. But the agreement ends there. By stubbornly
refusing to let burnt old-growth forests build jobs, ecoterrorists
have made it increasingly difficult for the forestry industry to turn
a profit from America's last few bits of nonproductive landscape.
Sen. Smith was inspired in devising his rider by the earlier, 1995
"salvage rider," which for one year allowed virtually unregulated
logging to occur on wilderness lands throughout the Pacific Northwest.
By again moving the issue out of the courts, Sen. Smith's rider
suggests a way to bypass such opposition in a more permanent way: a
"rider" that will open not just one region, but the entire
federally-controlled National Parks System, for selective logging use.
The amount of useful acreage in Yellowstone and Yosemite alone, for
example, would more than equal the contested areas of the Siskiyou.
Such forests aren't quite as valuable to either the timber industry
or to ecologists as those in the Siskiyou, but logging our National
Parks would mean replacing many smaller, time-consuming local battles
with one bigger one more likely to be won.
To popularize this idea, the Bush campaign has unveiled a new mascot
for the USDA Forest Service: Smokey the Log. Smokey the Log is a
replacement for Smokey the Bear, as bears have no use and are
therefore not appropriate in the modern forest-use context. On a
recent canvassing tour, Smokey the Log collected numerous signatures
in favor of logging our National Parks
(http://www.CheneyBush.com/smokey/petition/) and received
endorsements from Congressional Candidate Jim Feldkamp
(http://www.CheneyBush.com/smokey/feldkamp/) and former Oregon
governor Victor G. Atiyeh (http://www.CheneyBush.com/smokey/atiyeh/).