Welcome to the pretzel logic of liberal environmental protection: In order to “save” owls, the Obama administration is going to shoot them dead.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the White House released a big, fat policy turkey: its final critical habitat rule for the endangered northern spotted owl. The Obama plan will lock up 9.6 million acres of land (mostly, but not all, federal) in Oregon, Washington and northern California. This is nearly double the acreage set aside by the Bush administration.
And despite two decades of massive government intervention and the near-destruction of the Northwest timber industry, the furry bird is vanishing faster than ever. According to the Smithsonian magazine, “(T)imber harvest on 24 million acres of federal land had dropped 90 percent from its heyday” by the year 2000. Yet, northern spotted owls are now “disappearing three times faster than biologists had feared.”
One root cause: habitat loss (thanks in part to raging wildfires resulting from poor forest management and green opposition to thinning/controlled burns).
The other major, nonhuman culprit: the barred owl. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reports that the larger, more aggressive and more adaptable birds “are known to displace spotted owls, disrupt their nesting and compete with them for food.” Barred owls are more prolific breeders, less finicky about their food and less picky about where they live. They are brutal predators known to slam into spotted owls, slicing them with their talons and decapitating them in their nests.
But instead of admitting failure and letting nature take its course, command-and-control bureaucrats have appointed themselves Mother Nature’s judges, juries and executioners. Their “main priority” is “reducing competition from barred owls.” How? By gunning them down. Final details are still in the works.