Their solutions caused this problem. How many times are we going to listen to these people?

April 27, 2013

English: Logo of the US Environmental Protecti...

I recently read a couple articles about air quality in Montana. I’m not surprised that Lewis and Clark county was one of 3 in Montana, to receive a failing grade from the American Lung Association. I guess we ranked 23rd worst in the nation for short-term particulate pollution.

I understand these reports compile an average over 3 years. The report they‘re talking about now, covers 2009, 2010, and 2011. I also understand, the particulate pollution they’re talking about has multiple sources, but they mostly talked about wood smoke from wildfires and residential wood burning stoves.

I don’t disagree that smoke is a problem here in Montana. Even if it’s actually true, that wood burning stoves contribute more to particulate pollution than wildfires, I still don’t like what I’ve been reading.

Like most independent minded individuals, I don’t like being told what to do, by bureaucrats that have probably never even set foot in my home state, let alone tried to heat a home through one of our winters, but that‘s only part of it.

From what I read, the county is hoping to get a $50,000 grant to help with the situation. They want to spend some $5,000 on advertisements to educate the public about wood stoves. They want to spend $19,000 on a roller, to tamp down freshly graded roads, and the rest is to go to the purchase of magnesium chloride, which will help reduce dust from roads.

$50,000 isn’t a whole heck of a lot of money these days, but I don’t think these efforts are going to do a whole lot of good. In fact, I have sneaking suspicion, they don’t mean for it to either. I think this report and these plans, are nothing more than a calculated effort, to distract the public from the real problem.

Yes, the real problem is the bureaucrats, and I realize I probably don’t have to say much more than that, but I’m going to break it down a bit anyway.

We all know, a few decades ago, people had some good reasons to start worrying about air pollution. We had high octane leaded gasoline and cars that would pass everything, but a gas station. We had primitive coal powered industry and a society that was driven to produce and consume. We were clear cutting forests to keep up with the growing demand for lumber, but we also, quite commonly, just let wildfires burn and only really focused on protecting property. I wont deny, the situation wasn’t very good, but there’s no excuse for the side effects of the solution.

Most people my age and younger don’t realize, before there was a significant human presence in this area, there weren’t as many trees in Montana as there are now. There isn’t supposed to be. Right now we are actually experiencing the effects of unnatural over forestation. Ironically, this time around, it’s the environmentalists that messed up natures balance. This is very much a manmade ecological disaster, but not only are they not doing anything to correct their mistake, they seem to be doing everything they can, to avoid acknowledging it.

People aren’t just getting sick from the smoke from wildfires and wood stoves. People are getting sick from the dust from all the dead trees. I know that for a fact. I went camping at Park Lake about a year before they went up and cleared the beetle kill. It was absolutely miserable. That dust gets into everything. My lungs were irritated, my eyes burned, and my skin itched like I had been rolling in fiberglass insulation. After we came home, I spent the entire next weekend washing the dust out of my equipment.

I realize the pine beetle is part of nature, but it isn’t supposed to spread like it did, because the trees weren’t supposed to spread like they did.

When the environmentalists shut down Montana’s logging industry, they took away the best tool we had to maintain our forests. As should be expected, nature over compensated to reset the balance. Now there’s more smoke every summer, and a heck of a lot more dust in the air. Of course the bureaucrats that are responsible, aren’t going to take responsibility. They wouldn’t let us log to stop the beetle from spreading, and now they’re trying to take away the publics best incentive, to clear out the trees that are now dead.

Of course they’re being tactful about it. I haven’t heard anything about stoves being confiscated, yet, but it does appear that they plan to try to convince people to buy the new EPA approved stoves. The only problem I have with that, is I don’t know how well they actually work. If you have a decent furnace in your house, and you only burn wood to take the edge off your power bill, I’d say the only thing you have to lose is probably some of the money you’ve been saving. On the other hand, if you’re stuck with one of those newer furnaces that are supposed to be more efficient, like I am, I’d say keep your old stove. The furnace in my house is a joke. I ran out of firewood for a while this winter, and my house got cold. I wouldn’t say it was dangerously cold, but it definitely wasn’t comfortable. Just something to consider anyway.

Glenn W. Uncles Jr.

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