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Public Responses


Smoky Skies

Aug 01, 2018

It's hard not to start the day with feelings of rage, waking up once again to skies covered in a smokey overcast and suffocating toxic air. It didn't have to be this way. The health of forest trees that used to be safeguarded through careful harvest, and underbrush that used to be cleared, are now burning out of control up and down California. Blazing thickets of dying timber are spewing exponentially more CO2 than the six wood-chip powered electrical generators that California forestry firms used to use to clear out the fuel-load. In a cruel irony, those were shut down due to stringent air quality standards. The overpopulation of trees prohibited from being thinned are still missing, but they have been devoured by beetles or burned to the ground instead. Too many trees competing for too little resources led to the disruption of sap production, a natural defense necessary to inhibit Bark Beetle invasions. Our Sierra has been wrongfully ravaged, our air quality severely impacted, and damage to watersheds is being realized. Without roots to hold soil in place, erosion is carrying ashy hillsides into our waterways, washing nitrogen and phosphorous into drinking-water reservoirs. Both of these minerals contribute to poisonous Cyanobacteria blooms (blue-green algae) responsible for closing lakes to recreation statewide. On full display, from the moment I open my eyes each morning and from the first breath of outside air, is the aftermath of radical environmentalism and the opposite of protection for habitat, fresh air, blue skies, and clean water. It didn't have to be this way.

Kristi Diener