Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Where do they go to get their life back?

So it turns out that it wasn't logging that was driving the spotted owl to extinction after all - it was another owl, the barred owl, that was better adapted to survive in the NW forests, and the spotted owl turned up on the short end of the evolutionary yardstick.

Gee, say all the environmental groups who succeeded in convincing the government to euthanize the timber industry in Oregon to save the spotted owl. We were wrong. So sorry.

Thousands of timber jobs - gone. Entire communities - destroyed. Oregon's #1 industry - a shadow of its former self. A way of life for tens of thousands of Oregonians - changed forever.

I guess we will have to wait for the apology. Don't hold your breath.

It was never about the spotted owl, of course. Most environmentalists could care less about the species they pretend they are trying to help. They hate natural resource industries, and want to shut them down.

The Endangered Species Act is irrational, if indeed the point is to protect species that human development is harming. If they really cared about the species, they would not have made an enemy out of the landowner and the critter, which is precisely what the ESA does.

Imagine you own some forest acreage, which you cut for a sustained yield, logging about 1/50th of it each year and replanting. Then one day you run across a nesting pair of spotted owls on your property. If the regulators find out, you know what they will do - they'll prohibit you from logging your trees.

So what does any rational person do? Clear cut the whole thing before they find the critter. Or just go kill the nesting pair. Either way, the bird goes.

If they actually cared about the species, they would use a carrot rather than a stick. Instead of forcing private landowners to bear the entire cost of preserving the critter, what if the feds offered a small stipend in leiu of cutting part of your forest? Far more efficient and way more effective.

But environmentalists don't like these kind of solutions, because for them, the whole point is to stop as much logging, as much development, as much natural resource extraction as they can, and they want environmental laws that can be used as a hammer to accomplish this.

So don't hold your breath waiting for an apology from all those liberal/greenies who supported killing Oregon's timber industry. For them, the thousands of livelihoods they destroyed are just collateral damage.


Keith Y said...

Why should anyone apologize? The existence of a species is far more important than a few logging jobs. When this species is gone, it is gone. There will always be plenty of places to log. You can't put a price tag on a species and its right to exist. Of course, some thoughtless, arrogant humans think otherwise -- they think they are all that matters. It is a profoundly unethical, unChristian position, full of hubris, and ultimately unimportant.

Rob Kremer said...

Even if you are kidding, there are people who believe exactly what you say here.

How many species has mother nature killed off over the millenium? Looks like it is nature, not man and logging, that is killing off the NW spotted owl.

And yes, I absolutely do think humans are a more important species than birds.