U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris and Rep. Salud Carbajal certainly know how to make things worse. In the aftermath of innumerable horrific fires and the deadly Montecito debris flow, these stupefied public servants are trying to make it even harder to manage the fuel loads in Los Padres Forest by “The Heritage Protection Act.” This act will prohibit roads and vehicles as well as logging and oil operations. Just what Dr. Death ordered.
Newsflash to Tweedledee and Tweedledum: Public use in general, and roads in particular, serve a dual purpose of facilitating access to remote areas and fuel breaks. And prohibitions against “vehicles” serves to prevent the use of mechanized equipment, including bulldozers, that create fire breaks, while logging serves to thin out the old growth. Unfortunately, these two politicians are not alone in their willful neglect.
A “specious argument” describes a point of view that is attractive on the surface but altogether deceptive and superficial. The Environmental Defense Center’s (EDC) specialty is specious arguments, and it was on full display at a recent Planning Commission hearing having to do with an existing oil project in the North County.
The EDC complained about the truck traffic that the project will generate, as the production will be trucked until some pipelines are operational. Moreover, the EDC tried to insinuate that the oil project presents a fire hazard to the surrounding ranch lands.
The truth of the matter can only be understood in the context of the Thomas Fire and the subsequent deadly debris flow that engulfed Montecito. The EDC, more than any other organization on the South Coast, sans the federal and state governments, is culpable for both the fire and the debris flow, along with the more than 50,000 truckloads required to remove the debris. Unfortunately, these trucking operations may continue unabated for years to come.
To understand the culpability of the EDC for this unmitigated disaster, you only have to understand two things that are incontrovertible. First, the EDC is the point of the spear in this county for leaving Mother Nature to her own devices. They oppose any and all projects that disturb native habitat, including agricultural development, the creation of fuel breaks, controlled burn operations, and mechanical clearing. Second, they have not only opposed the creation of debris basins, they have also demanded that existing debris basins be removed, as they are more concerned about fish passage than they are the health and safety of our neighbors and our infrastructure, which are at the mercy of our ability to control flood waters and debris. I don’t have to tell anyone on the South Coast that these debris basins save lives and property.
There is a reason our county is continually on fire. Half of our county belongs to the federal government, which has failed miserably to manage the wildlands by way of reducing fuels. In the case of the Thomas Fire, the area had not burned in 100 years, and the point here is the EDC, and blind and tone-deaf politicians such as Ms. Harris and Mr. Carbajal, continue to support this dereliction.
So, for the EDC to complain about an oil project posing a fire hazard, well, that is nothing less than a specious argument, considering their own contribution to our local area’s inordinate propensity to be continually on fire and the subsequent destruction and mayhem arising from the same.
Moreover, for the EDC to complain about a few very short truck trips to the Santa Maria Valley to transport oil, in comparison to the tens of thousands of trips required to remove debris to all points north and south, well, that is simply beyond the pale.