Without understanding what they were doing, the Denver Post wrote an editorial they called "Thinking Ahead on the Effects of fire." Just a week ago they opined as to how the dead forests were a good thing. They now favor clear cutting the dead trees in the national forests to create fire breaks, something we have been advocating for months:
This week, state Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, and others sponsored a bill authorizing Colorado water resources and power development authorities to issue bonds for forest health projects. Denver Water already has spent more money clearing sediment that flowed into reservoirs after the Hayman and Buffalo Creek fire than it would have cost to treat the areas before the fires.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Before the Hayman fire, Mark Udall and his Sierra Club allies opposed any kind of forest "treatment." It was the Hayman fire that changed that attitude when a small test area that had been treated didn't burn hot enough to kill the trees.
That's why Denver Water manager Chips Barry has talked to legislators about imposing a fee on water users that would pay for strategic removal of trees killed by beetles.
Barry, speaking to the Denver Post editorial board last week, said other utilities with mountain watersheds to protect also could enact the same kind of fee. The proceeds then could be used to float bonds to fund removal of beetle-kill trees.
Now the environmentalists and Mark Udall don't oppose the kind of treatment this editorial calls for. They only oppose the building of forest roads that would allow it to happen.
The legislature hasn't gotten wise. Taxpayers and rate payers are being told they need to foot the bill to fix a mess that could easily have been fixed with self financed timber sales before the trees died. Even if this bill passes, it is probably wishful thinking to hope that the environmentalists and their fearless leader, Mark Udall, is going to allow the federal rules and laws to be changed. It will never be allowed to happen.
Mark Udall loves local control, except when he doesn't. When it comes to forest roads and a sane forest management policy, he wouldn't think of allowing local control. Let's have more unmanaged and unmanageable "wilderness" areas.