I was going to post a story a friend who runs a local manufacturing company just shared with me about the absurd experience with the EPA he had in his past. It was too depressing, plus I don’t think I can share it without giving away names … I am rewriting it as a piece of fiction and will post soon. In the meantime, here’s Holly Fretwell on what has become of the US Forest Service, or as she calls it, the US Fire Service:
The first national forests were set aside more than 100 years ago. Under Forest Service management they were intended to provide a continuous flow of water and timber for Americans. By the 1980s the agency provided about 25 percent of US softwood lumber consumption. The timber budget was the largest of all agency activities (see chart). Timber harvest on the national forests has declined by more than 80 percent since 1985. The current agency mission is ecosystem protection but spending has shifted to wildfire management which now makes up nearly half of the agency’s budget. More than half of that is for fire suppression. Nonetheless, wildfire burned nearly 70 million acres over the past decade.
Are Americans getting what they pay for on public lands? Even the General Accounting Office [PDF] questions that:
Historically, the Forest Service has not been able to provide Congress or the public with a clear understanding of what the Forest Service’s 30,000 employees accomplish with the approximately $5 billion the agency receives each year.
I still like the Forest service, at least they at least try to serve their constituents. The problem for them is that the USFS has many masters and it is totally impossible for them to objectively serve them all.