by Greg Walcher, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow
As appearing in the Daily Sentinel
We sometimes laugh at our 1970s pictures, now fading mercifully. I personally never liked bell bottoms, white belts, or double-knit polyester leisure suits. But I wore them because they were all the rage. We all had to, because in that era nobody could risk appearing uncool.
Thankfully, fashions change, but do we? We still want to stay on top of the latest trends, however strange they may look years later. We are like that in our politics, too, and few people want to risk political incorrectness — the modern version of uncool.
Consider the craze a few years ago to “save the old growth” forests, a popular chant among zealots who successfully stopped almost all forest activity, especially logging. Today we know that healthy forest restoration requires considerable thinning to achieve a more natural condition, and logging is a key component of successful management. By the time most of the political world figured that out, though, bark beetles had marched across millions of acres of forests from New Mexico to British Columbia, leaving a trail of destruction that would make Sherman blush. Colorado alone now has over 3 million acres of dead trees, not counting the vast swaths that have already burned.