Put a match to frivolous timber lawsuits

Print Article

Some people still donít understand that trees are a renewable resource.

They donít know ó†or refuse to believe clear scientific evidence ó†that†strategic timber harvests are actually good for long-term forest health, including wildlife.

You can find these people waving the banners of some of the most rabid environmental groups in America. Their desire to protect the planet is commendable. Their tactics, however, are sometimes misguided, verging on malicious.

As Sundayís front-page story by Steve Cameron pointed out, taxpayers foot the bill for millions of dollars in frivolous lawsuit expenses brought by just a few environmental groups. Itís not just taxpayers who suffer; a vital American industry is shackled by these lawsuits, depriving consumers of desirable products, the economy of one of its catalysts, and the forests of critically important management.

Going back decades, some environmental organizations have employed a playbook that effectively brings timber harvests to a screeching halt. The objective: Tie up potential harvests with lawsuits. That way, the environmentalists hope to outlast the viability of those harvests.

The madness might be nearing its end, however. Under the Trump Administration, many longstanding but questionable practices are being scrutinized. Itís the hope of this newspaperís editorial board that frivolous lawsuits become an endangered species.

The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017 would use arbitration to chop down frivolous lawsuits. Taking an idea first proposed by the Western Governors Association ó unlike many Washington bureaucrats, a group of state leaders with intimate understanding of forest issues ó the Resilient Federal Forests Act would emulate baseball arbitration.

Understanding that the legislation is likely to undergo changes, binding arbitration is an indispensable element. In baseball salary arbitration cases, a player and his team submit their separate arguments for what they think the player should be paid. The player thinks heís worth more; the team, less. At that point thereís no more negotiating. The arbitrator studies the arguments and selects the one she or he determines is most fair.

In a timber-environmentalist disagreement, a qualified arbitrator can examine both sides and render a decision in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost of some lawsuits.

A courtroom is no place to manage federal lands, nor is the American public properly served when its legal system is manipulated for delays, rather than decisions.

The answer? Play ball!

Print Article

Read More Editorial

Meditate on this for a while

February 23, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press In some corners, it was the least popular Press story in months. The story moved a handful of callers to threaten to cancel their newspaper subscriptions if ďstories like this are going to continue ...

Comments

Read More

We can fret and complain, or we can Ö

February 21, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Thereís so much wrong in the world, sometimes we just need to take a deep breath, exhale, and focus on matters we can influence, if not control. Are you going to change peopleís mind about abortion ...

Comments

Read More

After the party, then what?

February 18, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Junior is graduating preschool. Party! Missy is graduating kindergarten. Party! Ralphy is graduating fifth grade. Party! Cody is graduating middle school. Party! Caprice is graduating high sc...

Comments

Read More

Itís elementary: CdíA schools solve problem

February 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press A., break a campaign promise or B., fail to uphold your fiduciary responsibilities. For Coeur díAlene School District officials, it was going to be one or the other in deciding where to build a new ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2018 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X