Earlier this month, Representative Tom McClintock took to the House floor and argued that effective strategies that were once used to put out wildfires in the early 20th century were largely abandoned due to national outcry from environmentalists and liberals alike. Specifically, McClintock argued that several laws that were implemented in the 1970s, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act, have led to poor forest management and inefficiency when it comes to putting out wildfires.
According to the congressman, the laws “have resulted in endlessly time-consuming and cost-prohibitive restrictions and requirements that have made the scientific management of our forests virtually impossible." (Related: Wildfires are bankrupting western states and accelerating their financial demise.)
Back in May, McClintock touched upon this same issue during a congressional hearing, arguing that 45 years ago, the United States began “imposing laws that have made the management of our forests all but impossible.”
“Time and again, we see vivid boundaries between the young, healthy, growing forests managed by state, local and private landholders, and the choked, dying, or burned federal forests,” McClintock said at the time. “The laws of the past 45 years have not only failed to protect the forest environment – they have done immeasurable harm to our forests.”
Recently, the Reason Foundation published a study that indicated that the number of wildfires in the United States has grown dramatically over the past three decades, and the average size of each wildfire has more than doubled. Additionally, the study argued that climatic factors alone couldn’t possibly explain this increase in the size and number of wildfires, and that the practice of small, prescribed burns opened the door for fire suppression, which eventually led to the emergence of large-scale fires. (Related: California wildfires are the result of natural phenomena, not climate change.)
But this increase in the number of wildfires isn’t the only tragedy that has arisen as a result of radical environmentalists. In the 1970s, around the same time when the new rules and restrictions regarding the fight against wildfires were implemented, environments fought for and succeeded in banning the highly effective pesticide known as DDT. They claimed that the pesticide was harming the environment, and that it had to be outlawed in order for our world to remain clean and pollution free. The end result of the ban, however, was more tragic than anyone at the time could have possibly predicted.
Since DDT was officially outlawed in the United States in the year 1972, more than 50 million people – the vast majority of whom resided in sub-Saharan Africa – have died from malaria. The World Health Organization has stated that “more people are now infected [with malaria] than at any point in history,” and that as many as half a billion cases are being reported each and every year.
Nizam Ahmad, a Bangladeshi analyst whose studies primarily focus on the problems that affect developing countries, explained that “the resurgence of a disease that was almost eradicated [many] years ago is a case study in the danger of putting concern for nature above concern for people.” And yet, putting concern for nature above concern for people is what the radical left and the environmentalists have gotten pretty good at over the past several decades.
Of course, you would be hard-pressed to find a single person in this country who doesn’t want to live in a safe, clean world. But as Representative McClintock implied during his time on the House floor earlier this month, new rules, excessive regulations and more government are not always the answer. Much of the time, government steps in and makes things far worse than they were before.