Saturday’s editorial by Lance Hostetter on the subject of beetle killed trees raised the issue that the state has not been doing enough to remove this fire hazard from Colorado mountains. The state of Colorado is not the landowner of most of this dead timber; rather it is the federal government’s domain under the jurisdiction of the Forest Service or in some cases the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
One of the most promising opportunities to remove dead trees from the forest was scuttled by our own Alamosa County commissioners last year when they refused to allow a seed park to have land east of town re-zoned into an industrial park area where dead trees were proposed to be recycled into clean bio-diesel. There were synergistic businesses proposed to be located in this $ 10 million industrial park complex that would allow one business to operate off the waste products of another adjacent business, such as using the waste heat produced from the bio-diesel operation to dry the water out of potatoes to produce dried potatoes, which had a market overseas. This process could have actually paid people up to $40 a ton to harvest dead trees in the forests and haul them here for processing, so a 20 ton semi load of trees could of brought $800 to hire employees harvest the trees and delivery them here. The trees could have been harvested in a manner to produce fire breaks and allow for better regrowth of young trees and vegetation.
But a few local people did not want it in their back yard, and the county rejected the application to allow this seed park concept near the RR tracks east of town where no one is even living nearby. This is the type of action that destroys a nation, because gov’t is no longer doing what is best for the people with a view toward long term prosperity and beneficial use of natural resources, but is instead using their political power to throw up road blocks via too many regulations that halt wealth-producing businesses and industries.
So in this case it was not the state or federal gov’t that was the problem, but local land use laws, which is something each one of you can rectify by sharing your opinion with local government leaders to work for less land use laws—and maybe different local elected officials such as county commissioners!