I’m guessing this moron is a book-learned, ponytailed, east coast liberal that has never lived outside of the city.
More than 81,000 gallons of retardant were dropped on two of the biggest fires in the north state in the past two weeks.
That kind of firefighting strategy is coming under closer scrutiny, though, as a federal judge has ordered the U.S. Forest Service to take a closer look at the environmental effects of dropping fire retardant on wildland fires.
“The government has to begin to reassess how, where and when this is done,” said Andy Stahl, executive director of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (FSEEE), which sued the Forest Service over its use of chemical fire retardant.
“Retardant is toxic,” Stahl said.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Donald Malloy of Missoula, Mont., ruled that the Forest Service needs to complete an environmental-impact statement on the use of retardant by the end of 2011, The Associated Press reported.
The case dates back to a lawsuit filed by FSEEE in 2003, challenging the use of retardant without an environmental impact report, AP reported. The case was dismissed in 2008 after the Forest Service completed an environmental assessment.
But FSEEE filed again in 2008, claiming the environmental document was inadequate, AP said.
Jennifer Jones, a Forest Service spokeswoman, said her agency hasn’t determined whether it will appeal the judge’s ruling or complete another environmental review. Jones said she doesn’t know how much retardant is used in the Shasta-Trinity or Lassen national forests. Nationwide, an average of 20 million gallons of retardant is dropped on fires annually by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and state agencies, she said.
The Forest Service’s policy is to not drop retardant within 300 feet of any body of water, Jones said. Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said Cal Fire’s retardant policy is similar to the Forest Service’s.
Berlant said that in 2009 Cal Fire dropped 5.3 million gallons of retardant statewide.
Stahl said his organization has notified Cal Fire that it intends to sue the agency, claiming the retardant kills threatened and endangered species.
Berlant said his agency has not received that notice. He said Cal Fire has studied the environmental effects of using retardant and issued what is called under the California Environmental Quality Act a “negative declaration,” which means using retardant won’t have a significant environmental impact.
Even though only 14 of the 128,000 retardant drops during the past eight years caused the death of protected fish or plants, Malloy said the assessment was still needed, AP reported.
Stahl said he didn’t know of any cases where retardant drops killed protected species in the Shasta-Trinity or Lassen national forests. But hundreds of endangered steelhead were killed when retardant was dropped in a creek while firefighters were battling the Jesusita Fire in Santa Barbara County this summer, Stahl said.
Jones said that using retardant to fight fires protects endangered species from having their habitat destroyed by wildfire.
Water is a better alternative than retardant, Stahl said, noting that retardant is rarely used east of the Mississippi River.
Of the 110.2 million gallons of retardant used nationwide from 2004 to 2008, about 2 million gallons — just less than 2 percent — were dropped east of the Mississippi, Jones said.
Retardant is used more in the West because fires often occur in more remote places, where there are fewer roads, Jones said.
Retardant is about 85 percent water, 10 percent fertilizer and 5 percent other ingredients, Jones said.
“Because retardant contains fertilizer it is more effective than water,” Jones said. “When the water evaporates, the retardant still slows the fire.”
But many plants in the West thrive in tough conditions where there are few nutrients. Introducing high levels of fertilizer allows invasive species to grow and push out the native plants, Stahl said.
Retardant is toxic says Stahl. Hey asshole, so is fire. Retardant and air attack is the only thing that keeps the western US from burning to the ground, and this jackass worries about killing a few fish or plants to save humans.
Stahl also says, “Water is a better alternative than retardant, Stahl said, noting that retardant is rarely used east of the Mississippi River”. And just how many forest fires start east of the Mississippi? Fucking retard.