Time to Split the Baby?

US court to review two cases covering wetlands
The US Supreme Court on Thursday decided to step into a controversy over the federal government’s power to protect the environment, agreeing to hear two cases that pit environmentalists against property developers.

The anxiety about this splits my little green, tree hugging heart in two. On one hand, does a Beach Mouse really need 75% of an island, along with a king’s ransom extorted from landowners, to sustain a population of 500 or so? Especially since no one’s actually seen said rodent since Ivan? Probably not. But could New Orleans have used a couple more acres of schwamp around it to absorb storm surge and the chemicals floating around after said surge shoved through? Probably so. Do we need every last old growth forest harvested? Probably not. Likewise with dams on the (what, two? schmaybe?) remaining wild rivers? Probably not. Will we see more old homes along scenic rivers/waterfront torn down in favor of concrete palaces for the tax base’s sake? Probably so. Whatever the outcome, it’s gonna be a twist, watching W and his boys having to argue against developers and for the environment.

9 Responses to “Time to Split the Baby?”

  1. Mike Rentner says:

    No one has a very good definition of what “old growth” is in regards to forests. I have no idea what it means and why it’s important.
    By the way, I’m HOME!!!!!!

  2. Dave J says:

    “Do we need… ?”
    But that’s a legislative question. The Court isn’t supposed to decide whether something is good policy or not.

  3. (Woo Hoo, MIKE!!!!! Welcome home, Jarhead! Hugely glad you’re in uno piece-o!! {8^P)
    I would think ‘old growth’ has something to do with a never before tapped forest/swath of green. Or even one lumbered/cleared during colonial times that has had a chance to return to a pristine state. There were places that were simply inaccessible even 70 years ago and I think we should leave them that way. Trees with circumferences measured in feet are few and far between and need to be left ALONE.

  4. Cullen says:

    Yes and no, THS. There are areas that are still like that. They are usually protected by the Federal Government as a natural reserve. However, logically, what does a really old tree add to the environment that a young tree doesn’t? Not much.
    Old growth timber is prized for its uses in furniture, cabinetry and musical instruments. There does need to be a balance, and it should be expensive as hell to cut an old-growth resource, but the truth is that trees are a renewable resource, unlike fossil fuels.

  5. The Real JeffS says:

    (Welcome home, Mike! Glad to see you’re back!)
    But that’s a legislative question. The Court isn’t supposed to decide whether something is good policy or not.
    It is a legislative question, Dave, but enforcement has gone through multiple twists in adminstrative law. Usually those twists have been induced by court cases, but not always. And the changes have usually been tighter controls, not lesser.
    As a minor example, the National Marine Fisheries Service once proposed a complete ban on certain agricultural pesticides in the Pacific Northwest where the water might flow into a stream that could contain coho salmon.
    The problem was the way the proposed rules were written, as even home gardens would be impacted.
    Imagine that…Uncle Sam in the home garden regulation business. The mind boggles. The rules were shot down, but that’s often the approach when the interpretation of Federal law is written into adminstrative into the Code of Federal Regulations.
    And since the controls are generally tighter, the problem is cumulative.
    Ideally, a legislative approach would correct the administrative codes. But the real problem is the Federal takings of private lands (or the use of private lands) without compensation. There doesn’t seem to be much enthusiasm within Congress or the White House to directly address this issue.
    The only case that I’ve read about required full compensation by the Federal government, and it wasn’t too well received, apparently because no one wants to say, “Sure, the Feds will pay such compenstion…we’ll just make sure that the subject agency pays out of their budget, and it has to be fully justified before the taking.”
    That’s because the central issue is actually control, and that is being pushed by mid-level bureaucrats across the nation. How else would they justify their jobs?
    Mind you, not all government employees are greedy and cold hearted. I know quite a few who go out of their way to minimize impact to the land owner. But the ones who write the rules are generally suspect.
    So, the only route left open is the legal system. Joy. More legislation from the bench.

  6. The Real JeffS says:

    Rats. Dorked up the hyperlink!!!!!
    (CrusaderI fixed it.)

  7. The Real JeffS says:

    Thank you!

  8. Crusader says:

    Just forgot the ” at the end of the link addy. No biggie.

  9. However, logically, what does a really old tree add to the environment that a young tree doesn’t? Not much.
    Ooooh, Cullen, DAMN that’s so wrong! Stand in Muir Woods on a quiet day and try to visualize what you see and hear happening with a stand of skinny, 10 year old trees. Even the smell is different in the old forests. So much else has come along with those trees in the years since they sprouted that can’t be replaced. It’s not the trees alone, taht’s so simplistic ~ it’s the forest ‘world’, the eco-system, their age, numbers and stature creates that is the true miracle. And it can’t be replaced by Georgia Pacific sticking seedlings in the ground after a clear cut. None of that can be returned in one generation or five. And everyone has a right to experience that if they so choose. In the Northwest, the loss of the old growth changes the landscape completely ~ there are no roots in the rocks to hold the hillsides in or that density to discourage brush generation, which helps feed those big a$$ wildfires. When the landscape changes that drastically, so does the mix of what takes hold there.
    Jeez louise, you better hope Fangorn doesn’t hear about this heresy of yours. He’d be stomping your pad mad.

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