Trump Is RIGHT to Blame Poor Fed Land Management As Factor In California Fires

P. Gardner Goldsmith | November 16, 2018

The current crop of multitudinous infernos known as the California wildfires are taking many lives and wreaking havoc. In fact, this latest group of fires is reported to be the deadliest in state history.

So one isn’t being flip or dismissive when one writes that it is easy to understand how some California residents might get upset when hearing President Trump criticize federal Bureau of Land Management and EPA policies for being part of the problem.

But, in fact, not only is Trump correct, he’s years behind those who have already observed the problem and explored this important insight. Indeed, for years, many citizens in the west have been protesting the unconstitutional, lax, dangerous ways in which the federal government claims state lands, then mismanages them, creating terrible fire hazards that not only put those parcels at risk, they put private property at risk as well.

But it appears that looking into the history of wildfires on federal lands -- that taking even a few minutes to research the stark difference between that history and the examples of land management offered by private companies handling their own land – is beyond the scope for some “stars” who already appear to know that Trump is just plain wrong.

Noted empiricist Neil Young offered this clearly researched opinion:

California is vulnerable – not because of poor forest management, as DT (our so-called president [sic] would have us think. We are vulnerable because of climate change.

Too bad Neil didn’t bother noting that his almighty “climate change” is code for the term “global warming”, which was dropped by the climate cult because the globe stopped warming for almost nineteen years beginning in 1997, because “scientists” involved with promoting the canard were caught evidently telling each other to fudge data in the Climategate scandal, and because just in the past week, new claims about ocean warming were proven to be not just bogus, but mathematically impossible.

Katy Perry seemed to let emotion dictate her response, Tweeting:

This is an absolutely heartless response. There aren’t even politics involved. Just good American families losing their homes as you tweet, evacuating into shelters.

But it is heartless? It seems as if Ms. Perry might have allowed prejudice against Mr. Trump to shade her interpretation of his comments. Even as a guy who didn’t vote for Trump (or Hillary, or anyone, for that matter), I can certainly see that his attempt to try to find a possible cause or complicating factor for fires such as these could be an indication that, indeed, he cares.

But is he wrong in his assessment, as Neil Young argues?

Not at all.

In fact, President Trump is late to dinner on this issue. For years, numerous folks living in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana – in most states west of the Mississippi, in fact – have complained vociferously about not just the unconstitutional control the Bureau of Land Management and Environmental Protection Agency, but the lazy, sloppy, and dangerous manner in which the feds manage the lands they claim to control.

The popular term for these protests is “Sagebrush Rebellion,” and they actually began shortly after Richard Nixon started the Environmental Protection Agency in the 1970s. Homeowners, ranchers, farmers, and others in states where the feds claim to control huge tracts of land began to speak out about the claims and the poor management. In 1982, then-governor of Colorado, Richard Lamm, added his voice to the opposition of federal land management because of the destruction is caused.

In 2016, Utah activists correctly noted in a series of public forums offered in Utah and Idaho that the feds had no place to be controlling the lands the BLM claims the power to “own”.

For decades, Utah ranchers have noted and protested the fact that, not only do the feds not clear brush and deadwood from the forests the feds control, the feds have started “back-burns” without giving notice to private property owners – backfires that have gotten out of control and destroyed homes and even burned cattle alive.

As Tad Houbt, an Oregon resident noted in an interview:

I’ve fought fire for probably over thirty years, off and on. The forest service is so out of control on their back-burn… they’ve burned homes, even, from their back-burns gone wrong.

Even the left-leaning Vox admits that in these western states, where the feds claim to own over 84% of Nevada, over 61% of Idaho, and over 52% of Oregon thanks to the unconstitutional 1906 “Antiquities Act”, local citizens are justifiably up in arms.

Heck, just ask folks living downstream from the Gold King Mine, in Silverton, Colorado, what happens when the feds get involved with land control. The poisons that the EPA released into the Animas River destroyed wildlife and property for miles, and, of course, the EPA claimed “sovereign immunity” to prevent people from suing.

The sheer number of fires on poorly managed federal lands can be seen on this interactive map simply by hitting a few options on the directory, and it is so staggering as to make one ask why they don’t garner more attention and demands for change. Heck, a simple glance at a map of the CA wildfires allows a viewer to see that nearly all of them started on government-controlled lands.

And to add insult to injury, the government of California itself has contributed to the problem by imposing price controls on home insurance. As Christian Britschgi reports for Reason, a 1988 California law is putting insurance company rates under political control, and keeping them artificially now, inspiring people to build and live in high-risk areas when the costs of doing so should be much, much higher.

Passed in 1988, Prop. 103 created an elected Insurance Commissioner, who is responsible for approving rate increases. The law also allows for extensive public input on any proposed rate hike. This makes trying to increase rates in response to increased risks a laborious, political process. As a result, insurers are slower to respond to risk, and less able to write policies that discount fire-safe practices on an individual basis, say, by charging less for having a stone porch instead of a flammable wood one.

But pay no heed to President Trump’s comment. He clearly didn’t know what he was writing. Certainly, one shouldn’t investigate to find out some of the details I mentioned.

And, by no means should anyone talk to folks who have already tried to sound the alarm about government controls and the poor land management of the feds.

Trust in Neil Young and other celebs. Not your own capacity to seek out the truth.