Obama's foul owl policy
Welcome to the pretzel logic of liberal environmental protection: In order to “save” owls, the Obama administration is going to shoot them dead.
This is not — I repeat not — an Onion parody.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the White House released a big, fat policy turkey: its final critical habitat rule for the endangered northern spotted owl. The Obama plan will lock up 9.6 million acres of land (mostly, but not all, federal) in Oregon, Washington and northern California. This is nearly double the acreage set aside by the Bush administration. Thousands of timber workers (along with untold thousands of related support jobs) will be threatened in the name of sparing a few thousand spotted owls from extinction.
As House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., pointed out earlier this year, timber-dependent counties hit hard by the federal land grab and unending environmental litigation remain racked by high unemployment. “The loss in economic activity caused by the original spotted owl plan caused an astounding decrease in federal tax receipts of nearly $700 million per year — all from rural Northwest communities.”
And despite two decades of massive government intervention and the near-destruction of the Northwest timber industry, the furry bird is vanishing faster than ever. According to the Smithsonian magazine, “(T)imber harvest on 24 million acres of federal land had dropped 90 percent from its heyday” by the year 2000. Yet, northern spotted owls are now “disappearing three times faster than biologists had feared.”
Punishing loggers and bringing the timber industry to its knees have made vengeful environmental groups fat and happy. But the northern spotted owl they claim to care so much about is catastrophically worse off thanks to green zealotry. One root cause: habitat loss (thanks in part to raging wildfires resulting from poor forest management and green opposition to thinning/controlled burns).
The other major, nonhuman culprit: the barred owl.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reports that the larger, more aggressive and more adaptable birds “are known to displace spotted owls, disrupt their nesting and compete with them for food.” Barred owls are more prolific breeders, less finicky about their food and less picky about where they live. They are brutal predators known to slam into spotted owls, slicing them with their talons and decapitating them in their nests.
But instead of admitting failure and letting nature take its course, command-and-control bureaucrats have appointed themselves Mother Nature's judges, juries and executioners. Their “main priority” is “reducing competition from barred owls.” How? By gunning them down. Final details are still in the works.
Experts say such an eradication plan would need to continue for centuries.
Twenty years of regulatory salvation have failed the northern spotted owl. Who believes that another top-down government exercise in species engineering — this time backed with bullets — will do the trick? When the government picks winners and losers, taxpayers always get screwed. No matter the job losses. Arrogant and unaccountable central planners never give a hoot.
Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2009).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: Winning home games crucial for Penguins
- Icy roads, bridges trigger minor accidents in Western Pennsylvania
- Heart stent implanted, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg goes home
- Police identify driver in North Side crash that killed pregnant woman
- Penguins GM prepares for emotional series against Carolina
- Nonprofit plans to keep Blairsville WyoTech campus open as part of $24 million purchase
- Pipeline project could bring thousands of construction jobs to Burrell Township
- Pryor’s 22 points lead Robert Morris past Louisiana-Monroe
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger says Saints game is ‘must win’
- Lack of money may crush ISIS
- Four of five Blairsville-Saltsburg schools improve state performance scores