Former Commissioner Dennis Linthicum

Oct 28, 2011 — by: Commissioner Linthicum

Spain’s largest oil company, Repsol, is moving in to spud an offshore well deep in Cuban waters. The well will be just 60 miles from the Florida Keys. Whether you see this as good, bad, or indifferent, recognize that foreign companies are eagerly seeking opportunities for using natural resources to provide cheap energy, industry, jobs, and profits.

Meanwhile, here in the US, we have shut-down deep water drilling. We would rather let others create jobs and industry. Although the current Administration is always talking about jobs there is no sense in getting dirt under our finger nails. After all, the enviro-elites would prefer those high paying jobs come from watching our timber grow and wither.

Throughout the US, and in Oregon, environmental activists have foisted a baseless and bankrupt worldview on our community. This tragedy stems from the activism of the 1960’s, when the Silent Spring was written. This book made an emotional argument about DDT that sounded plausible. There was no data, but still, it sounded plausible. It got people wondering about man’s role in the environment and concerns blossomed about man’s use of chemicals and his encroachment in the natural realm.

As a side note, this view echoes the thoughts published in 1798, by Thomas Malthus where he wrote:

"The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race. The vices of mankind are active and able ministers of depopulation.” —An Essay on the Principle of Population, Chapter VII.

Since World War II western culture has been pragmatic. Our predisposition to gathering facts and finding evidence appeared as a viable solution to the future “silent spring.” But, success could only come if we gave ample time to the science; only if we stopped pursuing “our planet’s premature death.” Time was needed to prove the truth of these theories and the appropriateness of the model.

This idea, with its morbid backdrop, actually created the impetus for the Northern spotted owl fiasco. It was 1991 when Federal District Judge William Dwyer issued an injunction that shut down the federal timber sale program on westside forests in Oregon and Washington. The shutdown was justified because of the plausibility that continued logging might negatively impact the owl’s delicate web of life.

It turns out that most of these theories are based on incorrect speculation about the unknown – the future. These speculations might seem compelling, but they aren’t coming true. They are, after all, speculations – guesses. Today, after several decades, the evidence is in and rural America is paying the price.

It turns out that humans are the solution, not the problem. Look at these examples:

Today’s conventional, status quo environmental ideology is wrong. It falsely assumes that the best thing man can do for the environment is to set aside the maximum amount of land,sea and air and prevent any further human activity.

History tells a different story. Sure, there may always be some contrary story, but the historical evidence testifies that humans are the solution, not the problem. Human creativity and ingenuity are the necessary engines for raising living standards worldwide, and I mean all living standards.

This includes the living standards for any fish, fowl, or furry friend. This is simply because polar bears can’t protect puffins or parakeets, only humans can. Neither can bighorn sheep imagine the conditions necessary to protect Klamath River salmon. There is no reason to believe that the short-nosed sucker can muster any admiration for Leona’s blue butterfly, either. This is the duty and responsibility of man. The environmental separatists’ false paradigm would pretend otherwise.

For example, if this common sense perspective were applied to the management of our “Red Zone,” here in Klamath and Lake Counties, we would sow, tend, harvest and manage the land with predictable and sustainable outcomes. Our forests would be healthier, fires would be less destructive, and animal habitat would thrive. Recreational opportunities would abound, natural watersheds would be preserved, jobs would be created and our communities would prosper.

Therefore, it is time for true science to prevail in the marketplace of ideas. This means man’s stewardship responsibilities must be accurately weighed with evidence based and historically faithful assessments. Man must be allowed access to the natural environment for its own good. Only man can sow, tend, harvest, and preserve the fruit of our natural world and rural America must take dominion back from the environmental separatists.

1 Comment

  1. Dani ~ Oct. 31, 2011 @ 8:25 am

    Bravo! Well said. #

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Commissioner Dennis Linthicum

For current postings by Dennis Linthicum, visit the Dirt Road Economist website.

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