USA Lars Larson, Portland’s conservative radio talk show host, had his moment to question the White House on Wednesday, when he was the third Skype seat to be allowed to ask a question during the daily press briefing.
“Commander Spicer, it’s a pleasure,” he began before asking Press Secretary Sean Spicer a question he told us he might ask on Tuesday.
Spicer currently holds the rank of commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
“The federal government is the biggest landlord in America. Does President Trump want to start returning the people’s land to the people,” Larson said, adding, “can he tell the Forest Service to start logging our forests aggressively again to provide jobs for Americans, wealth for the treasury and not spend three and a half billion dollars a year fighting forest fires?”
Spicer thanked Larson for his two questions and answered that Trump has been “very clear” that as part of an energy plan “we’ve got to utilize the resources that we have that the federal government owns whether that’s the forest or natural resources or minerals that exist above and below the ground.”
A variety of factors contribute to forest fires. In October, a study was released which showed that the increase of temperatures brought on by climate change has increased fire activity.
Scientists also suggest that some forests of Washington and Oregon are overstocked and need to be thinned.
The current Forest Service plan for combating forest fires does address some of these issues. The plan for the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington, called “Eastside Restoration Strategy,” actually already includes harvesting of resources while maintaining the forest.
On the Forest Service’s web page dedicated to the project, it reads, “We cannot afford to lose the forests, and we cannot afford to lose the mills. The eastside restoration strategy is focused on accelerating the pace and scale of forest restoration to provide both healthy forests and healthy communities.”