Environmentalists Destroyed California’s Forests

Millions of acres of California forest have been blackened by wildfires this summer, leading to the usual angry denunciations from the usual quarters about climate change. But in 1999, the Associated Press reported that forestry experts had long agreed that “clearing undergrowth would save trees,” and that “years of aggressive firefighting have allowed brush to flourish that would have been cleared away by wildfires.” But very little was done. And now fires of unprecedented size are raging across the Western United States.

“Sen. Feinstein blames Sierra Club for blocking wildfire bill,” reads the provocative headline on a 2002 story in California’s Napa Valley Register. Feinstein had brokered a congressional consensus on legislation to thin “overstocked” forests close to homes and communities, but could not overcome the environmental lobby’s disagreement over expediting the permit process to thin forests everywhere else.

Year after year, environmentalists litigated and lobbied to stop efforts to clear the forests through timber harvesting, underbrush removal, and controlled burns. Meanwhile, natural fires were suppressed and the forests became more and more overgrown. The excessive biomass competed for the same water, soil, and light a healthier forest would have used, rendering all of the trees and underbrush unhealthy. It wasn’t just excess biomass that accumulated, but dried out and dead biomass.

What happened among California’s tall stands of Redwood and Ponderosa Pine also happened in its extensive chaparral. Fire suppression along with too many environmentalist-inspired bureaucratic barriers to controlled burns and undergrowth removal turned the hillsides […] Read More

How California Can Do Its Part to Stop Sea Level Rise

California is a global leader in fighting climate change. California’s citizens consistently have supported cutting edge technologies to wean their state off fossil fuel and nuclear power, and are on track to be using 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. But is this enough? How else can Californians do their part? What more can they do to set a fine example to the rest of the world?

Clearly, more can be done. So why not flood California’s Great Central Valley, sequestering billions of gallons of ocean water that might otherwise be endangering coastlines around the world?

The feasibility of such an endeavor is hardly a pipe dream. One great dam, extending south from the Marin Headlands across the Golden Gate, plumb into the mountainous ramparts of the tony Pacific Heights neighborhood in San Francisco, would easily permit the establishment of a gigantic lake, over 1,000 feet deep, to extend from majestic Mt. Shasta in the north to the red rock Tehachapi Mountains far to the south. For nearly 500 miles from north to south, and 150 miles or more from east to west, this gigantic reservoir could absorb 100 percent of California’s precipitation and storm runoff for decades, slowing the rise of our expanding oceans.

At the same time, Californians can quickly harvest the “low-hanging fruit” of seawater sequestration, by flooding the Imperial Valley. Since much of the Imperial Valley is below sea level, all it would take would be a pipeline, siphoning water out of the ocean off the […] Read More