Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Critics say fire retardant's impact on animals, plants too great
The red liquid pumped into air tankers every summer at a base here and at another in Stockton is coming under increasing scrutiny and might in the future be banned from use if fire-retardant critics have their way. After more than seven years of legal battling, a federal judge in Montana in July ordered the U.S. Forest Service to do a full environmental impact study on how to prevent the harm that retardant does to species such as steelhead and salmon when the chemical gets dumped into waterways. No one disputes that the main chemical in retardant - a form of chemical fertilizer - kills fish and rare plants if it gets into streams. But federal fire officials say spills into creeks are rare and that retardant is a valuable tool that saves human lives, forests and property. "It decreases the fire's intensity and slows the advance of the fire," said Jennifer Jones, a Forest Service employee and public affairs specialist for the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. In steep, difficult-to-access terrain, air drops of retardant can buy time while ground crews try to reach an area to cut fire lines, Jones said...more