Letters, Sept. 22-24: Wildfire proposals from congressmen are disingenuous
Cynicism from congressmen
Congressmen Blake Moore and Bruce Westerman’s guest editorial (“Big government can aid in fight against wildfires — by getting out of the way,” Sept. 11-14.) was at best uninformed.
Research shows that climate change is the largest contributor to wildfire risk. A USDA study projects that every one degree (Celsius) in planetary warming increases the area burned by wildfires by 600%.
With only a passing mention of climate change, Moore and Westerman make their disingenuousness clear. Their proposals, which ignore climate change, are akin to placing a Band-Aid on a major artery bleed. We are on track to cause at least 3-4.5 degrees Celsius of warming compared to pre-industrial levels. Based on the USDA study, this will increase the area burned by wildfires by 1,800-2,700%. Wildfire risk cannot be effectively mitigated without reducing emissions.
Reps. Moore and Westerman identify an important issue: insufficient and ineffective land management practices. But they misdiagnose the cause. It’s true that the U.S. Forest Service “only carries out 2% of needed fuel reduction treatments per year,” because the USFS is severely underfunded. Reps. Moore and Westerman gaslight their constituents, claiming the lack of fuel reduction treatments is due to excessive regulation. There are millions of acres of USFS fuel reduction projects that already cleared environmental reviews but are backlogged because of funding shortfalls.
Rep. Westerman voted to reduce the USFS’s budget for wildland fire management from $2.4 billion in 2016 to $1.9 billion in 2021. He and Rep. Moore have contributed to the management issues they highlighted. They hope their constituents won’t notice their willful negligence.
Effective policy to address wildfire risk would address the causes of climate change and provide more federal resources to support prevention and responses, including enough funding to complete the backlog of USFS fuel reduction treatments and increased funding for controlled burns. These initiatives should recognize traditional ecological knowledge held by Native Americans and empower these original land stewards to lead the way to improved land management.
What Reps. Moore and Westerman proposed in their guest editorial is woefully inadequate. Their editorial is a cynical attempt to score political points while deceiving readers about climate change and the problems they helped create.
Rubell is a listener
Living in Kimball Junction I can’t vote for Park City Council candidate Jeremy Rubell but I would if I could. The one thing that sets him apart is he deliberately listens! From the beginning he worked hard to talk to as many people as possible in an effort to gather various points of view and get a sense of the “climate” in this incredible place in which we live. Initially impressed by his opinion piece in The Park Record, I emailed him and we arranged to meet at the Park Silly Sunday Market. He’s young and energetic with a long-term view of the future and committed to do his part to keep it a place that is safe, comfortable and accepting of all. He wants to hear your voice and will always listen deliberately.
Invest in Park City’s schools
In the coming weeks, you may receive solicitation from the Park City Education Foundation in the form of a mailer or by means of a student-made phone call. When you do, please consider supporting our public schools by making a donation to the PCEF. I have been a teacher at Park City High School for a long time. I’ve worked closely with students who are learning English, I’ve coached the nationally ranked debate team, and (for the past 12 years), I have proudly served as the teacher of our amazing, bilingual and bicultural students in Latinos in Action.
All of these programs (and others, like robotics, STEM programs and visual arts programs) depend upon the funding provided by the PCEF. The outcomes are amazing: First-generation high school graduates proudly boasting of their college success, debaters getting substantial offers and scholarships to prestigious colleges around the world, and LIA students holding leadership positions, as they translate for teachers or help elementary-aged students thrive in dual-language immersion classes.
Thank you, Kara, Abby, Jennifer and the entire PCEF team for believing in me and my colleagues, so that we can continue to offer high-quality, enrichment programs PreK-12.
Park City, please answer the call, donate to the PCEF, and invest in our public schools!
Anna Martinez Williams
Park City High School teacher
Honored and humbled
During the last two years I have received several awards recognizing my work as executive director for Mountain Trails Foundation. Awards from the Park City Rotary Club, Park City Board of Realtors and most recently the Park City Chamber/Bureau. The Chamber/Bureau award, the Community Impact Award, in its inaugural year, was over the top and compels me to write this letter.
During the last 36 years I have been blessed living in Park City and hope to spend another 36 blessed years in PC. The accolades I have received during these years is a direct result of the wonderful people I have encountered along the way. Working with the staff at the city, the Basin, the county, local nonprofits and most importantly the MTF crew has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me. These folks have always acted for the best interest of our community, our environment and our future. Its not always pretty and probably not even perfect, but every effort to do the best job with the best possible outcomes for our citizens has always been the top priority. We are all so fortunate to live in Park City and to benefit from all this positive energy.
Moving into the retirement years looks promising, and I can only hope to continue to contribute wherever possible. Again thanks to everyone in the community, city staff, the Basin, MTF and all the organizations I have had the privilege of working with these last 36 years. I am truly honored and truly humbled. Thank you!
Former Mountain Trails Foundation executive director
Planning Commission must listen to Parkites
Over the last year I have read over 20 letters against PEG’s development plans for the PCMR lots. For various reasons such as reduced parking spaces, traffic, uncontrolled parking costs, sightlines, etc.
The Planning Commission has NO obligation to change any zoning variances that would let them proceed with this project. Please, listen to your neighbors. Vote no!
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