Sen. Mike Lee: Deadly Wildfires Could Have Been Prevented with Less Federal Regulations, Better Forest Management

Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled "Examining Best Practices for Incarceration and Detention During COVID-19," in the Dirksen Building in Washington, DC on June 2, 2020. (Photo by Tom Williams / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOM WILLIAMS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

At a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining on Wednesday on the destructive wildfires in the western United States and what can be done to mitigate future destruction, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said, despite claims on the left, that poor forest management, not climate change, is to blame.

After noting the tragic loss of land, property, and lives, Lee said much of that loss did not have to happen.

“I strongly believe that the mega fires we’re watching on TV could have in many, many instances been prevented if only active management practices had been implemented,” Lee said. 

Lee said fires have always been a part of the forest landscape long before man-made climate change was even a thing.

“[Fires] aren’t a new feature of current climate conditions as some would have us believe,” Lee said. “These fires weren’t unpredictable. They were predictable, and, in fact, they were predicted.”

“We could have prepared for them,” Lee said. “But the management of our forests has regrettably become hamstrung partly by regulation promulgated by bureaucrats, often operating many thousands of miles away from the lands they the are in charge of administering.”

Lee cited as an example how the Clean Air Act limits the amount of smoke allowed in the environment, thus virtually ending control burn practices that can help prevent or lessen the strength and size of wildfires.

Over-regulation has also led to court battles that have hindered any kind of forest management, Lee said.

Moreover, Lee said, the “military style” of fighting massive wildfires used in recent years can be even more damaging to the environment than prescribed burns.

As Breitbart News reported, President Donald Trump has been trying to put stricter management on federal forests since getting elected but has been thwarted by environmentalists and the courts. The coronavirus has also hampered forest operations.

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