Lauren Boebert’s forest management bill ignores climate change

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Screenshot: Lauren Boebert

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert wants you to think she has the solution to the wildfires.

On Thursday, Boebert deployed a new announcement claiming that ‘eco-terrorism’ and ‘far-left lawsuits’ have ‘closed’ forests, creating a ‘powder keg’ of dead trees. “We all want fewer fires, clearer skies, and land much less susceptible to flooding and landslides,” she says in the ad, standing in front of a tree-lined landscape.

The solution she touts is a forest management bill she presented last summer, which aims to mitigate the impacts of bark beetles, which have exploded across the West (thanks in part to milder winters) and the establishment of forest thinning programs. Boebert seems to rely heavily on positioning of legislation as “bipartisan” and based on “science”, with one staff member emphasizing Colorado Public Radio last summer she modeled pieces of the bill on other laws introduced by Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennett. (In July, Bennet’s office told the Durango Herald that it was “still reviewing” the bill. We’ve contacted Bennet’s office for an update and will include if they get back to us. .) Colorado has seen devastating fires in the past year, including Unprecedented and destructive forest fires in Decemberas the West’s historic drought continues to ravage the stateso it seems natural that its politicians are working on solutions.

Whenever we talk about Boebert and environmental policy, it’s important to remember that she personally benefits from the profits of the oil and gas industry. Last year, the news has fallen that she conveniently forgot to report her husband’s income as an oil and gas consultant on her campaign disclosure forms when she first ran for the House in 2020. Boebert’s wife , according to documents made public last year, earned $478,000 in 2020 and $460,000 in 2019 from an oil and gas operator. Nothing to see here, friends!

That money could help explain why Boebert has been particularly eager during her short career to hit GOP. climate denial talking points. She joined a fake conservative bunch claiming the Biden administration force Americans to reduce their consumption of red meat. She introduced legislation to prevent the United States to join the Paris agreement and legislation for block moratoriums on oil and gas leases. And she became obsessed with the idea of ​​“Green New Deal extremists” infiltrating the government, spending precious time during a hearing on the drought crisis in the West last May questioning a Home Office employee’s ties to Michael Bloomberg. (At the time of the hearing, almost all of Boebert’s district was in drought, so you’d think she wished she’d used the time she had to learn more about the science behind what’s going on.)

Using forest management as a stick to divert attention from climate change and pretend to offer solutions is not exactly a new trick in the GOP playbook. (Remember how obsessed Trump was with “raking”?) Keeping forests healthy is absolutely a crucial part of helping to keep wildfires from spiraling out of control. But with all the emphasis on our ability to stop rampant fires by repairing forests oversimplifies the effects that climate change and the prolonged western drought are having on fire strength, duration, and timing.

Boebert’s bill is indicative of how the next generation of GOP leaders is slyly moving on climate as disasters mount in red states. Rather than doubling the total denial, Boebert is positioning himself as a solutions-first leader, proposing legislation that, on the face of it, appears to do something to address the problem, but does not engage at all with climate change, one of the root causes of deadly forest fires. It’s the same strategy Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is using with rising sea levels threatening his state: make ambitious and impressive commitments to help communities adaptwhile never mentioning climate change and giving oil and gas the green light continue to thrive in Florida.

However, the bill has not moved since it was introduced in the House last summer and it currently has no Democratic co-sponsors.

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