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Environment & Science

Eco groups troubled by Gov. Brown's solution for bark beetle damage




An infestation of bark beetles and the drought has threatened trees in California.
An infestation of bark beetles and the drought has threatened trees in California.
Cyndy Sims Parr via Flickr

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Some forestry experts are turning a critical eye on Governor Jerry Brown's emergency proclamation to deal with the native bark beetle infestation, and they find the details worrisome.

On Friday, the governor's office said the four-year drought has made many California regions vulnerable to bark beetle infestations, so millions of dead trees will need to be culled and CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) will be suspended to expedite the actions. The lumber will be used by wood-burning power plants.

The proclamation also said die-off "worsens wildfire risk," but studies show that is not true.

Brian Nowicki of the Center for Biological Diversity said CEQA was enacted to help ensure scientifically-based forest management. "You really need the review that CEQA would provide," he told KPCC.

Is Governor Jerry Brown simply choosing the lesser of two evil in trying to prevent expanding beetle infestations? How effective is this plan considering most strategies have failed to limit beetle infestations across the U.S.?

Guests:

Brian Nowicki, California Climate Policy Director, Center for Biological Diversity; Nowicki holds a master of science in forestry