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Rob Kailey is a working schmuck with no ties or affiliations to any governmental or political organizations, save those of sympathy.

Martin Nie on the Forest Jobs and Recreation Bill

by: Matt Singer

Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 10:49:27 AM MST

Matthew Koehler has several times brought attention to this Martin Nie write-up on Jon Tester's forest bill. I got a chance to read about 2/3 of Nie's piece the other day and highly recommend it.

There seems to be a sense in comments that I think questioning this bill or its content is unacceptable. For the record, that's absolutely false. My impression is that it is completely untrue from Jon's perspective as well (although I haven't spoken with him about this).

Reality is that Nie's approach is super academic and, maybe as a result, non-confrontational. Nie also has the sense to note that Jon's approach here is groundbreaking not just in ways that deserve questioning and critical thoughtfulness but in ways that create large-scale opportunities.

What I like about Jon's bill, what I've liked from the beginning, is that it is place-based, that it is collaborative. For others, that's been a primary bone of contention, that forest policy should be driven primarily by bureaucrats and science. I think our current systems for land management in the West are fairly broken and that our democracy has been suffering as a result.

But let me also say this, I've heard from enough skeptics of this bill to be glad that Jon's hitting the road, going to Troy, going to Dillon, going to Bozeman, and, presumably, going to more towns and taking feedback. There is work to be done on this bill (and, fortunately, a lengthy process known as Congress making decisions that will allow for serious consideration).

As far as I can tell, the most vocal critics of this bill has decided to lock themselves outside of the process and then refer to it as closed off. They've made unprecedented demands, like asking for legislation before it had been written. And once the first draft of the bill was released, declared the process a sham.

Anyways, read Nie. He knows a lot about forest policy and he asks some good questions. And he rightly concludes:

The above questions are not driven by politics. Nor are they asked with the purpose of trying to defeat the Senator's bill or to criticize his courageous entry into Montana wilderness politics. They are meant instead to get the public thinking about the big picture and how the parts are going to fit or not fit together. The stakes are high. If the FJRA becomes law, place-based proposals throughout the West will take a big step forward. The FJRA would be the first one out of the gate, setting precedent for others, and this is reason enough why it must be scrutinized so carefully.
For critics who have questioned Jon's ethics on this matter to claim political cover from an expert who refers to bill as "courageous" and specifically notes that it is not his desire (at least yet) "to defeat the Senator's bill," I think it is dishonest.

Enjoy your weekend -- I might see y'all at the homecoming parade or game tomorrow.

Matt Singer :: Martin Nie on the Forest Jobs and Recreation Bill
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Matt, Congratulations on getting 2/3 of the way through Dr. Nie's article. (0.00 / 0)
I will point out that you still haven't taken a serious attempt at answering or addressing the serious public lands policy questions that Dr. Nie raises.  Please let LiTW readers know when you will do so, as we await your perspective.

Matt, based on what you have written above you should know that our organization, the WildWest Institute, is as involved in open, honest, transparent collaboration dealing with public lands issues as any group, espeically given our limited budget and resources.

We helped write the MT Restoration Principles, the National Restoration Principles, helped form FireSafe MT and the Kootenai Forest Stakeholder Coalition, serve on the Bitterroot and Lolo NF's Restoration Committees.

So you clearly don't know what you're talking about when you write, "As far as I can tell, the most vocal critics of this bill has [sic] decided to lock themselves outside of the process and then refer to it as closed off."

"Lock ourselves outside of the process?" That's totally not true!

As I keep on trying to remind you, the Beaverhead Partnership, which forms the bulk of Tester's bill, was formed through a secret, self-selective, exclusive process in the winter of 2006...long before Senator Tester even became a US Senator. That's not the way public lands management should happen.

That's the "process" that our organization and the vast majority of forest and wilderness organization's in the country have such a problem with. It's also the "process" that the leadership of the Beaverhead Deerlodge NF have such a problem with.

You want more examples?  Well, the director of the public policy program at Arizona State University's law school (and the former counsel to the House Resources Committee) wrote an article expressing serious concerns about the nature of the "Beaverhead Partnership" that appeared in the Los Angeles Times in January 2008 here http://articles.latimes.com/20...  Think she might know a thing or too about public lands policy?

And NewWest.net's outdoor writer, "Wild" Bill Schneider has written extensively about this issue for the past three years and they even published a memo from some Montana Wilderness Association members (written in March 2007) blasting MWA for their questionable roll in the Beaverhead Partnership (See: http://www.newwest.net/main/ar...

Furthermore, I have presented to you, and shared with LiTW readers, email documentation that our organization asked to be included in the Blackfoot-Clearwater partnership group. These numerous requests by our organization were completely ignored, despite our organization's work on the Lolo Restoration Committee and our long-standing collaborative work with the Seeley Lake District Ranger (which was featured in July 2005 in a feature article in the Missoula Indy titled, "Out on a limb: Local Conservationists and Lolo National Forest official reach out in an attempt to find common ground."

Again, this type of selective, exclusive, non-public process doesn't bode well for the future of public lands management. Why is that so hard for you to understand?

Finally Matt, seems like your parting shot is directed my way: "For critics who have questioned Jon's ethics on this matter to claim political cover from an expert who refers to bill as "courageous" and specifically notes that it is not his desire (at least yet) "to defeat the Senator's bill," I think it is dishonest."

Please explain to me how I have in any way, shape or form used Dr. Martin Nie's paper in a "dishonest" way. I have simply shared Dr. Nie's paper and his thoughts with the public, even limiting my perspective on it.

The paper, and the questions and concerns it raises, speak for itself. Your inability (and the inability and unwillingness of Tester's staff and supporters of his bill) to address Dr. Nie's questions and concerns also speaks for itself. Talk about being "dishonest."

Friends of the Bitteroot's letter to Tester (0.00 / 0)
(Note: Last month, 83 year old Stewart Brandborg took a delegation of Friends of the Bitteroot memembers to meet with Sen. Tester's staff. Stewart's father wasBitterroot National Forest Supervisor from 1935 to 1955 and Stewart was the head of The Wilderness Society in 1964, when the Wilderness Act was passed. The FOB delegation also included members who are wildlife biologists and former US Forest Service district rangers.)

October 1, 2009 

Senator Jon Tester
130 West Front Street
Missoula, Montana 59802
Re: Comments on the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act of 2009
Dear Senator Tester,
Friends of the Bitterroot (FOB) is a grassroots conservation organization founded in 1988 and based in western Montana's Bitterroot Valley. We have over 700 members, most of whom live, work and recreate in western Montana. We are all-volunteer and have no staff. We have been active for over 20 years in conservation efforts in the Northern Rockies with a special focus on the National Forest lands in the Bitterroot, Big Hole, West Pioneers, Rock Creek and adjacent Salmon-Challis National Forest in Idaho. For present purposes, we will bring your attention to some work we have done in the Big Hole area of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest (B-DNF).
We have invested thousands of hours and tens of thousands dollars in protecting the National Forest watersheds and roadless wildlands in the Big Hole area, not to mention the personal attachment we have to this area that is our backyard. In the early 1990s we won legal decisions protecting wildlands, biological corridors and watersheds in the Trail Creek and Bender-Retie project areas. We were co-litigants in the ten year long Montana Wilderness Study Act (WSA) lawsuit which resulted in some legal handholds to protect Montana's WSAs. One of our Steering Committee members, Clif Merritt, authored Senator Metcalf's Montana Wilderness Study Act.  Over the years we have carried out numerous ORV monitoring hikes as well as snowmobile monitoring ski trips and over-flights in the West Pioneer WSA. We are presently engaged in litigation over a controversial permit for snowmobile trail grooming in the West Pioneer WSA, that was excluded from public notice, comment and review, and which threatens wolverine denning habitat.
In spite of our steadfast conservation work in the area we were excluded from participation in the "Partnership" regarding the B-DNF.  Neither were we informed of or invited to participate in the drafting of your Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. At our initiative, after hearing the announcement of your introduction of the proposed Bill at a sawmill on July 17, 2009, we called your Missoula Field Director to ask if we might have a chance to represent our interests that had not been considered thus far.
Nine members of FOB met with your Field Director, Tracy Stone-Manning, on September 10, 2009 to discuss our concerns about your Forest Jobs and Recreation Act of 2009.  This was our first opportunity to be included in your legislation that would directly affect our interests, and the huge investment of time, energy and funds, in protecting the above-named areas.  Furthermore, in drafting the bill, the opportunity to benefit from our direct familiarity with this region, our years of experience, and our considerable and relevant expertise was missed.  We were told that no changes would be made to the already introduced Bill until after it receives a Congressional hearing. We are extremely disappointed in this and are concerned that our suggestions for improving the Bill will not be included in any meaningful way, especially at that advanced stage of the legislative process. However, since at the conclusion of this meeting we were asked to submit our requests for changes in the Bill, and in the hopes that you will recognize the value of including our perspectives, we will be happy to do so.  We hope our input will carry as much weight as the groups who were included in the initial crafting of your Bill.  
1.  We heartily support the protection offered the B-DNF portion of the Sapphire WSA and all other proposed Wilderness designations in the Bill. We do not support the exceptions in your Bill that are counter to traditional Wilderness management. Elimination of these exceptions would not be onerous to the parties affected, as demonstrated in other Wilderness areas where these exceptions do not exist.

2.  We strongly advocate that the Bill include Wilderness designation of both the West Pioneer WSA and the West Big Hole IRA, in addition to the Sapphire WSA.  The West Big Hole IRA is an important biological corridor, connecting the Greater Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide ecosystems, and Wilderness protection would keep it intact in the future.  The West Pioneers offer critical wildlife habitat for certain rare and endangered species, particularly wolverine, that are sensitive to displacement by motorized vehicles. These animals are quite vulnerable during winter when they den and nurture their young in areas that are attractive to snowmobile use.  In a March 3, 2008 letter to the Travel Management Planning Team for the Bitterroot National Forest, Mack Long, Regional Supervisor, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Region 2, Missoula, Montana, wrote the following: "Snowmobiles pose a particular threat because of the increasing popularity of "high marking" in high elevation cirques and drainage heads, used by denning female wolverine."  With Long's opinion in mind, it is very likely that snowmobile use in the West Pioneer WSA poses a substantial risk to denning female wolverines.   It could well threaten that particular population with extirpation, a violation of the National Forest Management Act (Public Law 94-588.  October 22, 1976, Sec 6 (g) (3) (B), provide diversity of plant and animal communities....). This type of displacement is much more problematic than displacement from forage habitat, which can be abandoned and then reoccupied when the disturbance recedes. It is especially disheartening to see the existence of this magnificent, rare creature put at risk by frivolous recreation that could easily find another venue.  Wolverines are up against extinction, and will likely be listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act next year.  By allowing snowmobile intrusions into their winter denning habitat, your Bill directly threatens the survival of the wolverine.
An additional argument for advocating Wilderness designation/protection to the proposed areas is assuring the sustainability and integrity of our nation's critical watersheds.  This should be the very basic tenet of any forest management decision.  Historically, it was the first charge of the agency and continues to be so.   Recently U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack suggested, "Conserving our forests is not a luxury", but a necessity. He stressed the importance of forests and rural lands in supplying much of America's clean drinking water, sheltering wildlife and helping to mitigate climate change.  The high elevation watersheds of the B-DNF are some of the most important and critical watersheds in the Northern Rocky Mountains.   

3.  We request a delineation of existing Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRAs) with a unique color on the map that will accompany the Bill. The failure to do so has already caused much anxiety and, possibly, confusion about whether or not IRAs would be released to some sort of management different from what will eventually be given to IRAs in general by the Roadless Rule. We see no reason not to do this simple adjustment that would, now and in the future, eliminate any ambiguity and avoid possible mistaken impressions about the intent of this Bill.
4.  The proposal to mandate logging levels is unprecedented, and usurps the authority of the USFS.  We are opposed to such mandates, especially while not also mandating restoration levels or timelines. Historically, despite the protections afforded under NEPA, the timber cut provisions are implemented while the restoration is never accomplished. For example, the Huck Trap NEPA Decision here on the Bitterroot even went so far as to explicitly state the logging would not go forward until the funds for restoration were in hand and yet the logging was done and the restoration was not.

More recently, regarding the Burned Area Recovery project on the Bitterroot NF, we reached a federal District Court sanctioned settlement with representatives of the timber industry, Forest Service representatives, Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey and Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth (who both personally participated) which allowed for 60 million board feet of logging balanced by significant restoration of watersheds. Very soon after that historic settlement, "$25.5 million of th[e] money [that] was intended for the rehabilitation of forests burned in the Bitterroot Valley during the 2000 wildfire season" (Missoulian, 9/7/04) was summarily "transferred". This restoration money was actually in hand on the BNF, not just pie-in-the-sky hoped for allocation. Much of the restoration was not done even though logging went forward unhindered. If restoration in the Bill is not just window dressing, levels and timelines for restoration need to be mandated as well, to prevent this historical pattern from being repeated by the Forest Service. We request restoration that does not involve haul roads be done simultaneously with logging. Requiring completion of restoration in one Stewardship Area or project area before logging begins in another Stewardship Area or project area would provide a needed mandate to actually keep up with the restoration work.

5.  In spite of guidelines that are stated to prioritize logging on areas already heavily impacted by roads (p.16), the requirement that the road density be reduced to 1.5 miles per section at the end of a project (p.18) will do the opposite, given the cost of reclaiming roads. It will serve to focus logging on lands with low road density.  Money will trump stated priorities if not specifically regulated.  We request a mandated minimum road density for project areas that would preclude the conflict built into the arrangement as it stands, and more surely aim the logging into areas of higher road densities.
6.  The Bill states, p. 38-39, "the Secretary concerned shall use the most cost effective means available" in planning and implementing the projects. Assuming this includes the operations on the ground, we are quite concerned that avoidable resource damage will be the result. For example, summer ground skidding may be the cheapest way to get the logs out but usually causes much more soil and watershed damage than other alternatives.  We request that the language of the Bill direct the Secretary to specifically take into account possible resource damage when determining most cost effective means, so that decisions are not made which would likely lead to successful court challenges, quite costly in and of themselves.
7.  The Bill, p.40, states, "Funds generated by a landscape-scale restoration project under this title in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest may be expended by the Secretary concerned on a landscape-scale restoration project carried out in any other administrative unit of a National Forest." This seems to say that the B-DNF can be subjected to the unavoidable further degradation of logging while any 'funds generated' may be used to do restoration, say, on a coal mine in the Alleghany NF. This sort of resource colonization of Montana should not be allowed; any benefits should remain where the damage will surely stay.

Given the late date at which we were provided an opportunity for input on your Bill, we respectfully request that you respond to the concerns we have presented here in a timely manner.  FOB is absolutely committed to the protection of our nation's last roadless areas.  We assume it was a simple oversight that IRAs were not initially delineated on the map provided in the Bill, rather than a signal that the Bill has any intent to weaken protections for IRAs in the region.  If release of IRAs is not the intention of the Bill then accommodating this request would not be a change, only a clarification.   We are gravely concerned that a failure to do so will result in a misinterpretation and could lead to such a weakening of vital protections for the IRAs.  We would much appreciate your immediate reassurance on this matter by agreeing to color code IRAs on your map.  Thank you for your attention to our concerns, and we look forward soon to your reply.


Jim Miller, President

I guess that's all you got, Wulfgar (0.00 / 0)
I do have my own blog Wulfgar. Check it out sometime at http://cleangreensustainable.w... You'll notice that I posted Dr. Nie's article a few days ago. You may also find other stuff of interest.

And by the way, why do you hate the open exchange of information so much? I mean, I can't respond to Matt's post with some clearly pertinent information that I may have first hand knowledge of? Sorry, but I only had FOB's letter in its entirety and not as a link.   Besides, I didn't realize there was a word limit on this site. I had always viewed this site as a forum where we could discuss issues openly and honestly.

By the way, thanks for forcing me to do a search on what GYOBFW means, as apparently I'm not quite as hip as you.

Hmmm... GYOBFW = Get your own blog, fuckwit.  

Nice form there Wulfgar. But I guess that's all you got, eh? So much for having an honest debate about public lands policy like adults.

Again, I must ask, why do you hate the open exchange of information so much?

How do you get that I hate the exchange of ideas, Koehler? (1.00 / 1)
I said nothing to that effect.  I used a purely appropriate response, and even linked it to meaning such that you would know it.

GYOBFW - Used when the poster is excessively editorializing, axe-grinding, riding a personal hobby-horse topic, or just personalizing the subject matter too much.

Very appropriate response, wouldn't you agree?

I mean look at you.  You're attempting to highjack the website with pompous demands.  You demand not only what Matt should write about, but how he will do it.  Then, in the same comment as your demand, you take personal shots at Matt for not doing what you want.  In most places that's called a temper tantrum.  In the blog-o-world, it's called trolling.

See, this blogging thingy is really simple.  You don't like what the blogger has to say, go elsewhere, or say it yourself.  But wait, unlike your blog, this one gets read, and Matt doesn't have to tell people to do it.  I guess this just brings out the jealous little toddler in you, and you demand your voice on someone else's dime.  Where you clearly cross the line is your tantrum that that other's voice satisfy you.  That's not an exchange of ideas, Koehler.  That's you screaming in the aisle of WalMart because you don't get that special toy.

I'm sorry you can't see it for what it is, but the only reasonable response to you at this point is GYOBFW.  

[ Parent ]
Matt, (0.00 / 0)
Why do you have a problem with forest policy being driven by science?

NEPA, NFMA, ESA, Clean Air Act, etc.  are all laws dictating that forest policy and actions be informed from and driven by science through a specific public process. And it is when actions of "bureaucrats" and politicians conflict with these science and these laws (and others), or subvert the process that we end up with things like appeals and lawsuits.

You seem to like "place-based" legislation. Well, then you really should love NREPA, because it was the pioneer in place-based and scientifically supported legislation, attempting to by-pass all the piece-mealing that was going on with counter-productive state-wide and micro-plot legislation or decisions that neglected boundary issues when looking at wilderness values. In other words, NREPA attempted to get wilderness allocation issues out of the smoke filled back rooms of people whose main goal was to release land to other than wilderness uses.

It was collaborative, and has hundreds of businesses and organizations supporting it. Tens of thousands of people directly in support of it--much broader than Tester's "process." True grassroots organizations and small businesses. People who lived in the region. You might want to take a history lesson on how NREPA and the wilderness movement in Montana and the northern Rockies evolved to get an understanding of the issues.

FWIW, I was one of the people that helped, starting over 20 years ago, to conceive NREPA and build the grassroots support and coalition needed to begin to educate Congress and people about true wilderness values (as opposed to just "creat[ing] large-scale opportunities").

Wilderness designation is not an "opportunity." It is a preservation of the status quo. It is the most conservative approach to land management we can take. It takes the little "w" in wilderness and replaces it with a capital "W" for Wilderness, often with a gratuity to a dead politician and wilderness defender as in "Lee Metcalf Wilderness." That's all a wilderness designation does, functionally. Bureaucratically, it places the designated lands permanently under the auspices of the Wilderness Act for protection and management.

On the other hand, "large-scale opportunities" in your (and Tester and  his "collaborative" crowd) mind happen to be what you get to do once you get the wilderness and roadless lands allocation and release issues out of the way, so the extractive (often under bogus "restoration" claims) and motorized recreation industries can move in. This is a destructive, and mostly irreversible process. Wilderness cannot easily be created--it can only really be destroyed. NREPA did have the foresight to designate some "wilderness recovery" zones as experiments to see how/if the restorative process can be utilized to recreate true wilderness--a process that if at all possible, would occur over the march of centuries, not the days needed to destroy wilderness values.

Really, that's all Tester's bill does, is to try and allocate just enough currently protected roadless lands in order to appease a few conservation groups and individuals so that loggers, miners and motorized ORV'ers can get on with business as usual--which is to maximize their presence on, and/or profits from, the landscape. It's a short-sighted trading of long term public (wilderness) values for short term private and profiteering goals. It's real goal is wilderness destruction, to those of us who grew our enviro chops studying and promoting wilderness values and preservation.

So when you say things like this:

I think our current systems for land management in the West are fairly broken and that our democracy has been suffering as a result.

You are taking a huge broadshot at the history of land management policy and politics in America. I really don't think you have a clue what you are talking about when you link a failing democracy with the ground breaking and visionary laws that this county has enacted: Wilderness Act; Organic Act; National Parks enabling acts; etc.

If you think you have a better idea to scrap all of that and let politicians and multi-national corporations take a whack at piece-mealing our land management efforts together to their mutual ($$$) advantage, then you really are overreaching and under-informed here.

I'd suggest that you take more than a few classes in federal public land management law and natural resource policy before you attempt to do so, though.  

Bit of a mobeus strip there, JC (0.00 / 0)
NEPA, NFMA, ESA, Clean Air Act, etc.  are all laws dictating that forest policy and actions be informed from and driven by science through a specific public process. And it is when actions of "bureaucrats" and politicians conflict with these science and these laws (and others), or subvert the process that we end up with things like appeals and lawsuits.

In that NEPA et al. are laws to begin with, they are informed by bureaucrats, and bureaucratic thinking.  Hence they are subject to law (lawsuits, etc.)  They are also changeable by their nature as laws. They are not the holy writ of science; they are legal statute open to change and judicial review.  The statement you take (out of context) by which you accuse Matt is entirely valid because we are discussing a fungible system of management and coordination.  Thinking of the past does not lock in thinking of the future, nor should it.

[ Parent ]
Sure, laws are fluid (0.00 / 0)
I'm not talking about the process of legislating. I'm talking about the process by which politicians or bureaucrats subvert legislation, by acting contrary to existing laws.

And yes, bureaucrats inform legislation, but mostly because it is they who are mainly responsible for implementing legislation. But many bureaucrats (think FS Rangers and Supervisors and Foresters) sign Decisions contrary to the law. Which is why lawsuits often are successful. And the reasons many bureaucrats do so are multitude: ignorance; bureaucratic inertia; ideology; politics or monetarily. And fortunately we have processes that allow competing interests to challenge and inform decisions: public input, appeals and lawsuits.

And if I took Matt out of context, it is because he makes it easy with sloppy thinking (writing?). Politics is the game by which we take each others words--out of context or not--and make our own personal points. I am a die-hard wilderness purist and advocate. Matt is not. He made it easy for me to drive home a point (or two or three...).

Matt wants to move his support for Tester's agenda right down the middle of the road. I thought that maybe an experienced perspective from the left would add something to the discussion.

It was Matt that said, and I reparaphrase it: democracy is suffering as a result of fairly broken land management in the West.

I happen to believe that is a fallacious causality. I believe that democracy is suffering from crony capitalism. It is not the land management or managers that are failing democracy, as much as it is our politician's subversion of public process (I love how Feral Cat's notion of "managed democracy" applies here), and imposition of ideology and politics on land managers.

Now if Matt wants to respond by challenging my understanding of his phrase, I'd be happy to go down that road.

[ Parent ]
My problem isn't with science (0.00 / 0)
It is science without people. Public lands management has a huge impact on people. Democracy, by its definition, is governing by the people. I think science is one of many things that governs what we do with lands and the input of those who live nearby those lands -- quiet users like myself, noisy users like ATVers, and loggers and millworkers -- are all key to decision-making that will be seen as legitimate.

I'm not intimately familiar with NREPA. What I do know is that Rep. Rehberg finds himself gaining traction by actively campaigning against it.

More than a few times, I've admitted my ignorance of forest policy on this blog only to be soundly mocked for being willing to admit that I don't really know shit from shinola. What I do know is that the distaste for wilderness in Montana runs deep. It runs far, far deeper than the opposition to single-payer.

Yet, in reading comments here, I feel I regularly am told that wilderness is more popular than whiskey and single-payer has been embraced by everyone except elected officials who rely on us for continued votes.

Given how I keep seeing elections in this state turnout, I just can't believe either of those statements to be true. Reading polls, I also can't believe it.

That's why I like collaboration, including collaboration with people who would cut trees and bring motors into the backcountry. They're people, too, and I think they deserve input.

[ Parent ]
I'll admit to my ignorance of this debate. (0.00 / 0)
I've been sort of keeping up on it, and read some favorable arguments for what Tester is trying to do here.  But this comment by itself makes me think otherwise.

But what do YOU think of wilderness, Matt?  I find it a little disconcerting that you're basically telling us that Montana hates the existence of wilderness areas and that that appears to be informing your support of this draft bill thingy.

Seriously - I haven't even considered commenting on this stuff until I read your comment just now.  WTF?

[ Parent ]
I love wilderness (0.00 / 0)
I'm part of the 30% and think that there are good cases to be made, both on science and habitat and on the fact that quiet use needs to protect space, for the protection of wilderness.

But I also think that there is a reason why politicians act the way they do about wilderness issues. It is because most Montanans don't like wilderness. They prefer public lands where logging, grazing, or ATVing occurs.

This, by the way, is why I like the non-demonizing approach of the Partnership. Working with folks and getting them to understand where we're coming from and putting together a bill that works for more than just wilderness fans means we can actually grant wilderness status. I think that's a good thing.

Like I said, on the nuts and the bolts, looking forward to the continued conversation.

[ Parent ]
Rehberg gaining traction? Because of NREPA? (0.00 / 0)
That's incredibly laughable. Just what kind of traction is he getting? What is he accomplishing? Absolutely nothing. Your exhortations about NREPA aiding Rehberg sound eerily like those who have already setup the left to take the fall if health care reform dies. You're always looking for a scapegoat here, aren't you Matt?

As to your blindered view of federal public land decisions, it has always been NREPA supporters' goals to move the debate to a national one, and out of petty Montana politics and politicians hands. Montanans distaste for wilderness matters not to us. What matters is Montanans who care passionately about Wilderness--and through history there have been many. And what matters even more is the national constituency for wilderness.

And distaste for wilderness far deeper than single payer? How do you know that? Show me your crystal ball. Or a good poll.  Public federal lands owned by all Americans--not exclusively by the Montana people. And if you really think that, then it gives all the more reason to advocate strongly for wilderness, Because in your collaborative world, if there is such hatred for wilderness, then what we already have designated is in danger of being undone and taken away. Are you ok with collaboration doing that? Get enough ORV'ers and loggers and miners to say we need to do things like open up Bob for oil & gas? The Cabinets for mining? The Missions for old growth logging? The Selway Bitterroot for downhill ski resorts? The Lee Metcalf for billionaire resorts? The Absaroka-Beartooth to roads?

I have never said wilderness is more popular than whisky, nor have I claimed single payer to be embraced by everyone except corrupt politicians. Judging the value or worth of wilderness in Montana by electoral turnouts or comparatives with other issues misses the point entirely. Wilderness is not a human commodity to be traded and bartered and collaborated around like other consumer goods. This is your downfall in your opinions about wilderness--they are only informed by utilitarian arguments. You have no concept of intrinsic or non human values of wilderness.

And that is what NREPA and its supporters are doing. Giving voice to the wilderness. Which is why you will never find any of us in the phony "collaborative" sessions dealing away parcels, so that other parcels may be elevated with a new name. Tester's collaborative process is all about ego. Who gets to do the horse trading. Who gets to claim victory. Who's in and who's out. It is exactly those kind of individuals and processes that led to constituency behind NREPA, and a renunciation of those forms of politics and processes.

Collaborative processes have no place in the wilderness allocation debate. They are fine, possibly in the greater forest management scheme, in the places where we live and work. But they fail in the places where we do not. Inevitably, collaboration is just a divvying up of resources according to human greed. And in that process wilderness always will lose.

I happen to think that there is a greater good in wilderness preservation. Greater than what a nearby user's needs are. You forget so easily Matt, that these lands are owned by all the people. And that a nearby land owner's input has no more weight than a poor homeless man in New Jersey's does. You are so quick to jump to a collaborative process that assigns weight and value to its participants based on how well they meet political goals.

But when it is all said and done, and the wilderness is all carved up and allocated, we will be left with generations ahead having to live by our short-sighted decisions. Having to solve problems of clean air and water, global warming, species extinction, weediness of plant and animal habitats, etc. All of the things that wilderness buffers us from. And a century hence people will look back and wonder why we didn't place a greater value on wild lands, and do what we could to preserve them.

I want my legacy to show that I tried. Not that I sold out to a corrupt political process. The left is all about principles, Matt, though many confuse it for ideology or religion. And that is why there are some things that we value that we will never compromise over. And wilderness is the root of these principles for many of us. It sets us aside from those who have bought into the illusion that the left is nothing more than a political position only useful when it can be pilloried for the failures of mainstream, corrupt politics--which you have done many times, including in your comment I'm replying to.

When I hear you say "Rehberg finds himself gaining traction," I hear you blaming the left--blaming me--for the inability of mainstream democrats to present a viable alternative, which is why you cling to Tester's "process," because you so want the left to fail and/or take the fall for the middle's failure, when it comes to that. And for that I call bullshit, and give some push back. And it hasn't just been Rehberg and wilderness. It's been single payer. It'll be climate change legislation and coal. Afghanistan.  Finance reform. Job creation. Every major issue of the day. It's the same old left vs. the mainstream dem thought.

You guys think that the left is a useful tool, only as long as we deliver the votes. Well, when the center fails to deliver on the promises (or redefine them into meaninglessness), then those votes will dry up, and we will see the third parties once again spring up to eat up enough votes to derail the dems drive to the right. There is great solace in being an independent, and not having to tie my wagon to the success or failure of the dem party. And I know that there are millions more like me. Castigate us at your own peril.

[ Parent ]
Heh (0.00 / 0)
My father-in-law, a diehard Democrat, is very unhappy with the Tester bill because it will close off areas of the Pioneers.  When asked how he used to access those areas, the response was strong ... BY HORSE!  Uhhhm, no kidding.

We have a chance at remaking history here.  I think that was Nei's point.

[ Parent ]
Yep, like I said Wulfgar... (0.00 / 0)
I guess that's all you got.

According to you providing LiTW readers with clearly pertinent information that I may have first hand knowledge of to help put stories or posts in more context is "trolling" and throwing a "temper tantrum?"

Fine, Wulfgar, you can go after me all you want with your anonymous rant...I know I'm an easy target...but like I keep saying...I guess that's all you got on this topic of Tester's bill and public lands policy in general. I was hoping we could have an open exchange of information and perhaps debate the merits of that info. Guess that's too much for you at this point.

By the way, I don't shop at Wal-Mart. Thanks.

More BS demands of others. (0.00 / 0)
Just curious, Koehler, have you ever read Soren Kierkegaard's Either/Or?  

[ Parent ]
Just to be fair to the dim (0.00 / 0)
your anonymous rant

Just so's you know, Koehler, the only one at this website who doesn't know who I am is you (and anyone else who wants to make specious Ad Hominems).  My name is Rob Kailey.  That you wouldn't know that is forgivable, but does cast a rather poor light on your ability to garner information.

I grew up in the mountains of the Bitterroot, and still refer to Kootenai canyon as 'mine'.  My beloved is a fourth generation Montanan who grew up in the Beaverhead.  Very little you provide here is going to be a surprise to either of us, though it could be informative.  Your tantrums directed at Matt?  Not so much.

[ Parent ]
Yep, you're right Rob... (0.00 / 0)
...I'm "dim" and have poor information gathering abilities because I didn't know that your real name is Rob Kailey, and not Wulfgar!  You win. I will try and pay better attention next time.

If you ever want to have a serious discussion about public lands policy or Tester's bill, I'm all for it. Thanks.  

[ Parent ]
And yet ... (0.00 / 0)
You knew about the exclamation point.  You are a liar, Koehler.  Admit it.  You knew my name and were bringing up the whole "anonymous" thing just to challenge my credibility.  Guess what, kitten, lying is far worse than anything I've done in this thread.  You are a liar.

[ Parent ]
Serious Wulfgar/Rob, take a breath... (0.00 / 0)
I'm not lying. I had no idea that Wulfgar's name was Rob Kailey until you told me a few minutes ago on this site. My goodness....

The only reason I knew about the "exclamation point" was from a 4 and 20 post from J-girl a while back where she made a big deal about the ! throughout the post...or in the title...I can't remember right now. That ! thing stuck with me, likely because I got started in EarthFirst! back in the mid-90s and EF!ers always made a big deal about the !.

Seriously, please calm down and stop calling me a liar. I swear to God that I didn't know Wulfgar's name was Rob Kailey until now.

Gosh, talk about talking about petty sh#t instead of talking about the issues.

I'm moving on...You win.

[ Parent ]
Matthew, I wasn't interested in winning (0.00 / 0)
All I've wanted for many months now is appropriate respect being paid to the providers of this forum, as the providers of this forum.  My going after you, tooth and claw, was simply about that.  That is not petty, nor ever has been.  They provide a service, knowledge and discussion about that.

If you wish to discuss issues, please do.  I will listen and learn.  If you wish to silence disagreement and bully the site's proprietors, then we'll mix it up.  I'm a blogger, and I know the venue intimately.  It's kinda what I do.

I'm happy to move on here, because this has not been any more pleasant for me that it has for you.

[ Parent ]
Careful JC... (0.00 / 0)
Wulfgar's likely to call your "temper tantrum" "trolling."


No (0.00 / 0)
By the terms I rather clearly defined, JC isn't trolling.  He's exchanging ideas, something you appear to dislike.

[ Parent ]
Like I keep on saying Wulfgar... (0.00 / 0)
I guess that's all you got.

You see, you're right...I hate ideas so much...that's why I posted Dr. Nie's article to LiTW in the first place!

You're anonymous comments to me are just getting more and more bizarre. I might as well have this back and forth, tit for tat with a sock puppet. If you want to discuss public lands policy and Tester's bill, I'm all for it. Otherwise...

P.S. JC: Glad your comment was approved by Wulfgar as "not trolling"...I didn't realize he had become the comment approver/censorer here at LiTW. Maybe he should get his own site.  Besides, I thought LiTW billed itself as "A community-blog focused on progressive politics in Montana." Isn't that why we can comment and have our own diaries up here?  

Scared, ain't ya'? (0.00 / 0)
You're anonymous comments

See the above, and please improve your research skills before once again telling us all how we can't argue with your pompous self.

If you want to discuss public lands policy and Tester's bill, I'm all for it.

I'm more than happy to read your stuff, as soon as you stop with the tantrum.  You see, this isn't your website, Koehler.  You don't get to call the tune here.  I didn't disagree with your points about the Tester Bill or forest management.  I disagree with you being a colossal prick and demanding the owners of the website to allow you to be a colossal prick.  We are talking about different things here.  And you demand I talk about what you want to talk about because you are scared about talking about what I want to talk about, you being a colossal prick (troll).

I didn't realize he had become the comment approver/censorer here at LiTW.

What part of the word "community" do you have a hard time understanding, Koehler?

Maybe he should get his own site.

Already have one, kitten; it's probably better read than yours.  But that's beside the point.  You want to shit on this community website, and that I will not abide.

Isn't that why we can comment and have our own diaries up here?  

Poor poor Matthew Koehler.  Comment at will.  Act like an ass, and others will comment about it.  See how that works in a community ... Matthew?

No, kitten.  You've already declared that you are the authority on forest issues and none of us can argue with you.  Notice, I haven't argued with you on that topic.  What I have pointed out is that you are out of line as regards those who host your spew.  You won't touch that with a ten foot pole, probably because of that hole you're quivering in.  A simple apology would have sufficed, I'm sure.  But the great and mighty Matthew Koehler will never give up and never surrender ... and that's why the powerful will continue to steamroll your ass at every turn.  You act like an ass and piss people off, Koehler.  You will get what you want by blind luck ... maybe.  Personally, I doubt it.  But if you do, it won't be by your effort.  You'll take credit for it, I'm certain.  But you're still just a failure, none the less.

[ Parent ]
Like I keep saying Rob "Wulfgar" Kailey... (0.00 / 0)
I guess that's all you got.

I didn't realize that asking Matt Singer to answer some of the questions or concerns with Tester's bill (which he has supported here at LiTW for a few months) was the end of the world...or breaking the Almighty Code of the Blogger.

You win. I'm "scared", "a failure" and I'm "quivering in a hole." Thanks for clearing that up for me.

[ Parent ]
And I'm sure I speak for some when I respond. (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Matt Koehler-Montana's San Francisco Treat! (1.00 / 1)
Most of Montanan's support finding a middle ground on issues particularly one as divisive as forest management. Koehler clearly has pretty deep knowledge of forest management but the more time he spends writing on blogs that the persuadable middle don't read or even know exist, the more effective the rest of us can be. Rice-o-Koeler and the rest of the San Francisco-esc fringe left must love spending time in their tent with the fringe right. The rest of us will keep this train on the tracks. God knows they can't get a real venue anywhere else.  They have no idea or concern in actually making Montana a better place to live, work and PLAY in the great outdoors.

THANK YOU Jon Tester for doing what you are doing!  


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