The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Viken Rejects motion to block Norbeck project

U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Viken has denied a motion for a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Forest Service to prevent implementation of the Norbeck Wildlife Project, which will include mechanized tree removal and prescribed burns on portions of the 34,000-acre preserve. Read the Journal's story here.

Hooray for Judge Viken. Environmental groups have for decades prevented the wise management of the Black Hills National Forest, while at the same time killed a once-thriving timber industry. Blame for the Rocky Mountain Pine Beetle infestation and subsequent devastation in the Black Hills can be placed squarely on the environmental groups which have prevented the sensible harvesting of infected trees while they still had value.

It is high time that we had a judge on the federal bench who has the best interest of a sustainable, multi-use forest at heart.


larry kurtz said...

Progress is measured by how much diesel fuel gets burned, huh, Mike?

Hey, Rapid City: think plastics gasification, make your own fuel, consider trucks dedicated to one material on a given day so it doesn't have to be sorted.

You guys do a good job with compost; now come up with a way to do glass, put in concrete block maybe.

Les said...

Larry, come take a ride and tell me how much you enjoy the scent of the dead pine.

The explosive power of dead pine in a dry year which we have been blessed to have not had for some time.

One fire in the Black Hills mutes any point on hydrocarbons you can make by burning diesel Larry.

Thanks Judge Viken

larry kurtz said...

Gee, Les. It looks like you haven't been reading ip's rants lo these many years. Nobody wants aspen to resume its historic role in forest health as much as ip does.

Neiman negotiated a deal that takes too many old green pine; one of the perks of being a monopoly.

Sanborn posted this knowing how it rattles my cage.

As ip said in the comments at the Journal: one person's patriot is another's activist judge.

Wayne Gilbert said...

As to the statement "It is high time that we had a judge on the federal bench who has the best interest of a sustainable, multi-use forest at heart," please tell us specifically what federal court rulings affecting the Black Hills and/or the rocky Mountains have affected that interest. I submit that the answer is virtually none--zero--nada. Demonizing environmentalists because of a natural phenonemon is nothing more than demagogery. On forest environmental issues there are two equally ignorant groups: those who never go into the forest and argue for no timber sales; and those who never go into the forest and blame environmentalists for bugs and drought.

Les said...

I've read your rants Larry.

I love the young aspen ranges in our woods. There appear to be many that also enjoy recreating that world or it wouldn't be happening.

Neiman is not the problem though his is a player.

To my way of thinking, checker-boarding of the logging was a possible way to help control natural disasters and much of that control has been waylaid by the incessant enviro injunctions.

I choose to live in a world environmentally still alive, actively employing and defending practices that keep it alive.

Most of the noise comes from those living in a concrete and steel world denuded of all life other than a miserable attempt to be someone by hugging a tree.

What group are you in Wayne?

larry kurtz said...

Hey, go to TIO and press the GFP commission and reduce the cougar hunt count by two.

Mike, it's hard to see hyperlinks in your comment text.

larry kurtz said...

Urge Neiman to invest in one of these:

larry kurtz said...

Here is Honeywell's investment in pyrolysis technology on fast pyrolysis in the log landing. The more carbon neutral approach to logging and plastics gasification, a nearly identical process.

Satellite tub grinders to communities on rotation instead of putting pthalates in landfills and watersheds.

Come on, Rapid City: Reduce diesel fuel consumption by making your own.

larry kurtz said...

It's important to remember that Neiman Sawmills has a virtual monopoly on logging in the Black Hills.

They also have a contract with a window manufacturer that specs knot-free pine without the blue stain associated with beetle kill. They have lobbied tirelessly and at great expense to see that this injunction was rejected.

Larry Mann knows how to grease the system. You can bet he had a lip-lock on somebody over this.

Wayne Gilbert said...

Les-I am a frequent user of the forest for recreation-hiking, photography, bird-watching. I really don't have a problem with the logging in my experience living here for the past 35 years or so. One of the values I enjoy in the forest is scenic. Thre are other values however, such as observing an eco-system work. I'm not persuaded that logging in wilderness areas to protect scenic values is necessarily good science. I don't pretend to know forestry or forest management, however, and I certainly don't know enough about what was presented to Judge Viken to talk about his decision. So I guess you say I'm a centrist. My post was a reaction to the the poorly informed yet widespread furor at environmentals as the cause of the problem.

Michael Sanborn said...

Wayne and Larry,

I didn't post this to make you angry or push a button. It's just something upon which we disagree.

I spend a lot of time in the forest. I'd like it to be here when my grandchildren want to hike through it.

Past environmentalists have taken great delight in stopping all logging in the Black Hills. The reason Neiman's have a monopoly is because all the other loggers either went broke or abandoned the Black Hills. Neimans have addressed this by buying timber from private landowners and buying land and growing timber. Little River, Continental and Pope & Talbot et. al. just didn't do that and they're gone.

I blame the Forest Service as much as I blame the environmentalists. They could have restricted the timber buys so that clear cutting didn't take place and so that all old timber wasn't taken. The canopy could have been reduced without being clear-cut. New growth would have happened. Bug trees could have been harvested before the timber was ruined and thereby reduced the bug kill. It has been done before and was done for years before the Sierra Club and Brademeyer decided in the late 80s and early 90s to ruin the timber industry.

Wayne Gilbert said...

I'm not angry at all--not even slightly. But you're not reading my posts. For the third time, it is not true that "Past environmentalists have taken great delight in stopping all logging in the Black Hills." Not true (that's four). You're demonizing again, without a factual basis. You're also using buzz words like "clear cut" and "canopy" that frankly don't have a lot of application to Black Hills logging and forestry. My point is only that--we are blessed with a lot of letter-to-the-editor writers who think that we have a bug problem because environmentalists have sued and sued to stop all logging and that is simply not true (that's five). I honestly don't know what good science says about addressing the bug problem but I fear that the current reactions are motivated by anecdotal and largely fictional outcries which are motivated solely by preservation of scenic values and not by preservation of a natural forest and wildlife habitat. I disagree with the use of this inaccurate anecdotal magical thinking (yes I mean to use all three adjectives here). You and I may well agree with how best to manage the forest however--it depends on the science and how it teaches us to do that management.

Michael Sanborn said...

Okay Wayne,

I get that not all environmental groups have taken delight in stopping logging. However, I was still at the Journal when guys like Brian Brademeyer repeatedly said they were delighted when a timber sale was stopped or stalled by their legal actions, understanding that legal fees associated with fighting these frivolous suits eventually made actually logging the timber financially unprofitable.

So I should have said "some" past environmental groups...

I distinctly remember Brian, who at the time was with the Sierra Club, specifically using the word "delight" when Little River Lumber closed up shop and warning the cattle and mining industries that they were next on his list. Personally, I wish he had concentrated on them first, as it is my belief that cattle and mining have done more to destroy more forest than logging.

"Canopy" and "clear cutting" are not buzz words. Both are applicable to Black Hills forestry and logging.

I'm assuming we all know what they mean. And, I happen to believe some of the folks I've spoken with and worked with over the years, know more about it than either of us.

And, you're right, I'm not all that interested in a "natural" forest and wildlife habitat. That is the goal of mmany of the environmentalists who believe that allowing natural growth, (read overgrowth) and eventually natural (and in my opinion, catastrophic) fires.

I freely admit that I am far more interested in a managed forest that serves many needs. The Black Hills hasn't been a "natural" forest since white people began logging it. It is now full of people and roads, reservoirs and dead trees and it will never be a "natural" forest again.

Consequently, it must be managed for the good of the forest and the wildlife. Burning it down, whether "naturally" or by controlled burn won't benefit anyone or anything, including the forest or the wildlife living in it.

And, yes I want to preserve the scenic values more than I want to preserve the "natural" forest and wildlife habitat because when nature takes its course and the forest burns, there will be no habitat for wildlife.

And, finally, it makes no sense to me to pay a logging company to clear bug killed trees that have no value in the marketplace, when we could have sold bug infected trees when they still had value.

I do read your posts. I just don't always agree with you.

larry kurtz said...

Awww geez, Mike. Why do i let you suck me in?

i logged some old growth bug-killed pine, it's very humbling.

Aspen was logged out in the US and Canada for mine timbers (yes, the Homestake, too) and to build cities. Clones were essentially grazed by cervids, then cattle, to the dirt by 1900.

An excerpt from "Biogeography of
Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)"

"Some ecologists suggest that restoring predators may be an important component of maintaining healthy aspen. In a four-level trophic model with humans, wolves, elk and aspen, humans and wolves keep ungulate populations low, which enables vegetation to flourish. By managing on the assumption that an ecosystem works on a bottom-up, food-limited principle, we ignore crucial top-down aspects, and allow ungulates to repress aspen sprouting."


Michael Sanborn said...

Read again. I agree.

Michael Sanborn said...


In answer to your question about decisions from the federal bench affect the Black Hills, I urge you to read Brademeyer's blog:

Brademeyer is quite proud of every decision in his and the Sierra Club's favor.