Year 2, Month 6, Day 30: This Is Not Funny

Big fires happening in Arizona. Big discussions in the Senate. Al Franken brought something up:

Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, one of the witnesses present at the hearing, cited research from within the service to link fires and climate change.


Tidwell’s testimony was prompted by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who used the positive response to chide committee members into considering climate change as one of the committee’s key issues.

“I would just like to underscore that for members of our body, when we have discussions about the impact of climate change, the cost of this,” he said. “It would be all well and good for members to understand that this is related to climate change, and how important it is for us to address and take national action to reduce our carbon emissions.”

Following which, Lisa Murkowski criticized the Government’s performance in handling fire management:

However, climate change was not the focus of members’ disapproval of current fire management. Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) was quick to point to poor management and slow policy implementation as the primary factor for out-of-control fires, caused by recent cuts to the Forest Service budget as well as a strategy of tackling smaller areas rather than larger projects. Murkowski criticized the Forest Service for not implementing the Healthy Forest Restoration Act to its fullest extent. Less than a third of the authorized projects were ever completed, according to Murkowski.

Now, I don’t know a thing about Fire Management, or about how the Federal Government is handling it. There’s probably as much ineptitude there as anywhere else in a big bureaucracy, but I don’t see that as an anti-government argument; it’s an anti-ineptitude argument.

But today I was in a hurry, so I just pointed out that Republicans are anti-science dingleberries without exception. Easy. Sent June 15:

As Alaska’s Senator Murkowski asserts, lags in implementing forest management policy are a big factor in forest fires like the one currently devastating huge swaths of Arizona. As Senator Franken points out, so is climate change. And there in a nutshell is the difference between the two parties’ approaches to environmental issues. Republicans bend every effort to underfund essential programs, then cite their failures as reasons to mistrust “big government.” Republicans are forced — from above by their energy-industry sponsors, from below by their ideologically inflamed tea-party base — to deny the relevance of basic science. When it comes to environmental policy, necessarily based on measurements, facts, and probabilities, the GOP’s approach is practically surrealist in its gleeful disregard of ideologically inconvenient expertise. Whether or not the Wallow fire is directly linked to climate change, the connection between Republican climate denialism and the failure of American environmental policy is unequivocal.

Warren Senders