Active Management Creates Healthier Forests

Active Management Creates Healthier Forests

We still hear a lot of criticism about active forest management from environmental commentators, who say we can “never log our way out of a baking climate.” These critics fail to see the forest for the trees

“Either we manage the forests, or the forests are going to manage us.” – Senator Steve Daines

There is no question that increasingly severe fires and smoke-filled skies like we’ve seen this season are bad for our health, our environment and ultimately the way of life we enjoy here in Montana.

Thankfully, federal and state leaders are recognizing that active forest management like selective logging, fuel reduction and prescribed burns is effective at mitigating against unnaturally severe forest fires.

Under Governor Gianforte’s leadership, Montana is doubling the amount of forest acres actively managed this year. President Biden even agreed with Gianforte in a recent exchange that reducing fuels in our forests is a necessary component of good environmental stewardship.

Yet, we still hear a lot of criticism about active forest management from environmental commentators, who say we can “never log our way out of a baking climate.” These critics fail to see the forest for the trees.

Here are the facts:

  • Last year California’s fires emitted more CO2 into our atmosphere than 24 million cars.
  • Smoke from fires had the biggest impact on the climate in 2020, bigger than the complete shutdown of our world economy from the pandemic.
  • Actively managed forests are better at sequestering CO2 from our atmosphere and less prone to massive fires.

There’s no way around it: You simply cannot claim to support addressing climate change on the one hand while opposing proven and practical forest management to help reduce the risk of massive forest fires on the other.

Active forest management offers us a constructive way to address forest health and reduce the threat of disastrous fires in the near-term, rather than waiting for idealist climate solutions to be realized decades from now.

For Liberty,

Kendall Cotton

The Latest

Certificate of Need

  1. An excellent article from the Montana Free Press highlights the challenges that mental and behavioral health patients face in Gallatin County, specifically the controversy over addressing a severe shortage of options for inpatient care.

Our Take: 

Thankfully, this spring the Montana Legislature passed a Frontier Institute proposal to repeal the Certificate of Need moratorium on new inpatient addiction care facilities. Repealing these burdensome regulations will help open more options for inpatient treatment to address this crisis.

Conservative Budgets

  1. Montana’s fiscal responsibility got a shoutout from Tennessee in a recent op-ed praising states for passing Conservative Budgets:

“‘Republican governors and lawmakers in a number of red states, including Tennessee, are reining in excessive spending by passing conservative budgets that grow less than the combined rate of population growth plus inflation’… ‘other states where lawmakers are also passing conservative budgets this year include Florida, Montana, and Iowa.’”

Our Take: 

While Washington DC votes in trillions of new spending, states like Montana and Tennessee are showing the nation what conservative, sustainable budgeting looks like. If only Federal lawmakers would take note.

Affordable Childcare

  1. Representative Alice Buckley (D-Bozeman) laid out her case for why access to affordable childcare is a problem in Montana communities and asked the public for help delivering solutions:

“Tell me about your ideas for how to support working families and address the challenges of child care. We need your creativity, perspective and solutions.”

Our Take: 

Contributing to at least some of the issue are regulations that hinder childcare businesses, such as staff ratios, group size requirements, etc. As we’ve always maintained, the best way policymakers can start to address issues is to first look at ways in which government is the problem. Repealing regulations costs $0 of taxpayer money and can have a big impact on people’s lives.

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