Policymakers can help reduce risk of catastrophic forest fires
Policymakers can help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires.
“Government can encourage innovation, but mainly by doing less, not doing more.” – Matt Ridley
I am pleased to announce that the Frontier Institute has partnered with the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) of Bozeman to provide you with engaging policy breakdowns each month focused on how Montana can help promote healthier forests and avoid catastrophic forest fires.
For those who aren’t familiar with PERC, they are a nationally recognized research institute well known for their expertise in environmental conservation and free market environmentalism. We are thrilled to be partnering with them!
This month, PERC Policy Director Hannah Downey breaks down how policymakers can help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires. Here’s just a few of the highlights:
“Litigation is a major obstacle to getting forest restoration work done on the ground. Even when public land managers set out to thin a forest, litigation often holds up the project and makes it more expensive.”
“Another challenge to conducting forest restoration is that so many Forest Service resources are sucked up by fire fighting there’s not much left for fire prevention. Montana can help address this need by continuing to partner with the Forest Service to do active forest management on federal lands in our state.”
“Policymakers need to lift obstacles impeding timber markets. Private timber harvesters can play an essential role in removing timber from forests, where appropriate, and reducing fuel loads.”
Be sure to check out Hannah’s full column!
Balance of Power
- Montana’s part-time, citizen legislature has long seen the balance of power skew to the Executive Branch. With the legislature only in Helena for 90-day biennial sessions, vast decision-making authority about implementing laws is often left to the Governor and other executive authorities. This year, the people’s branch took steps to reclaim proper checks and balances:
“The Legislature took several actions earlier this year to reclaim its co-equal status: requiring a legislative vote to extend states of emergency, establishing interim budget committees to better track agency spending, and hiring more staff to keep the ship on course during the interim.”
Our Take: Bureaucrats aren’t held accountable to an election if they do a poor job, yet their decisions can have the force of law. We are glad to see the legislature better asserting its proper role of driving policy decision making and upholding the rule of law.
- The Gallatin County Commission is embarking on a $65 Million bonding project to bring fiber internet to Bozeman:
“The project would allow for broadband speeds between 250 megabits per second and 10 gigabits per second.”
Our Take: Montana has already allocated hundreds of millions to expand broadband access in the state. And Gallatin County alone have already received $22 million in ARPA funds that can be used to build out broadband. With so much money floating around, Gallatin County residents need to ask why their commissioners are taking on even more spending to deliver fiber to areas already adequately served by broadband?
- Be sure to check out Frontier Institute CEO Kendall Cotton’s latest column in Lee Newspapers breaking down Missoula’s reckless spending:
“It’s time for local governments to place firm limits on the growth of new spending, keeping budgets within the bounds of economic growth and what taxpayers can reasonably afford. If the 2021 Montana legislature can start holding the line on new spending, why can’t local governments?”