Healthy Fire Initiative

Americans need to see the damage done by conservative policies enacted over the past seven years. Through Orwellian use of language and slight of hand, they have convinced the American people they are doing one thing, while in reality they are doing another. Bush's Healthy Forest Initiative is just such an example.

In 2003, the Congress passed and President Bush signed the "Healthy Forest Restoration Act." This bill was touted as a major step towards avoiding the catastrophic forest fires of 2002. Two days before its passage, the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) published an article highly critical of the bill, saying that it failed "to provide increased protection from fire for human communities." The publication elaborates, claiming that the bill was a giveaway to the logging industry that bestowed on them the right to log large trees (the most likely to resist forest fires) but did not mandate the removal of the underbrush which acts as the "fuel" for forests fires. The Healthy Forest Restoration Act actually encouraged the growth of this underbrush through its forest thinning policies. EPIC was not alone in its condemnation of the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. Robert Devine, in his 2004 book "Bush versus the Environment," spent over 40 pages attacking conservatives' forest management policies as a windfall for logging companies and a prescription for increased forest fires.

Republican's policies of the past seven years have failed to protect the public. Whether it has been the White House's incompetent handling of Hurricane Katrina, a Clear Skies Act that weakened regulations on air pollutants, or Healthy Forest Initiatives that fail to protect the West from forest fires, conservative leadership in the White House and Congress seems less concerned with the public's welfare than with repaying the lobbyists who made big donations to their campaigns and expect returns on their investments.