Friday, April 03, 2009

Bush's Death Sentence To Spotted Owls Likely To Be Overturned

Not surprisingly, Obama's Interior Department is reconsidering Bush's order to open up northern spotted owl habitat in the Pacific Northwest to commercial logging. They are justifying this by pointing to political interference in scientific reports by Bush administration officials.

Certainly this is a good thing. Commercial logging is not the future of the Northwestern economy. Logging is so automated now that relatively few jobs would be created by easing spotted owl protections. Moreover, it could drive this very sensitive species significantly closer to extinction.

On the other hand, logging restrictions in the Northwest are really only a good thing if we don't simply replace that logging with trees from some other forest. We have to cut consumption to make environmental regulations effective. As it is, I can't help but wonder if we aren't engaging in a form of environmental imperialism, exporting our production needs to places where we can't see the damage, while benefiting from destroying land and people elsewhere.