Steve Daines and the Environmental Boogeyman

Steve Daines is an embarrassment.

Steve Daines is an embarrassment. He’s bad for the state.

Steve Daines has a new radio ad on the air, in which Daines portrays himself as the protector of the timber industry, keeping timber mills and loggers safe from “fringe environmentalists” and “extreme environmental groups.”  A narrator also describes Daines as “ranked as one of the most effective congressmen” although she doesn’t cite any study or group that made this dubious determination.

 Listen to this idiotic advertisement, or read the transcript, here.

Daines has simply dusted off a twenty-year-old playbook for these ads:  Environmentalists are shutting down the state and costing us jobs, and we must fight against their lawsuits and the federal regulations that they have persuaded Obama to enact.  Montanans could all be rich from natural resource development if the environmentalists would simply get out of the way.

There’s one problem with the radio ad: In the sixty seconds of narration and sound bites from Daines, timber owners and loggers, nobody cites a single item, a single tangible thing, that environmentalists have recently done to effect the loss of jobs or the decline of the timber industry.  The script is simply Daines and his supporters talking about how he has “stood up” to “environmental radicals.”

Now, if the discussion were about coal or fossil fuels, Daines could at least claim credit for voting against, or opposing publicly, whatever is currently being advocated for in DC by the environmental community, such as EPA regulations, carbon limits, and so and and so forth.  Those are not radical ideas or proposals, but they at least are real.

Daines has instead decided to create a nebulous boogeyman, “the fringe environmentalists,” and claim himself as working hard to vanquish it insofar as it is trying to destroy the timber industry.

There is a reason that Daines can’t point to anything to substantiate his claim, not a single timber sale that has been blocked or federal law that has Obama has signed that have negatively affected the timber business: because there really aren’t any.  The cold fact is that the timber industry–in fact the entire wood products industry–in Montana has been devastated in recent years by one thing, and one thing only: the bursting of the housing bubble.  The market for the product crashed, and has not returned nearly to where it was.

But that doesn’t really matter now, because Daines has discovered, likely through polling and other market research, that if you tell persuadable voters that timber jobs have been lost due to the activities of “fringe environmentalists,” they are ignorant and misinformed enough to believe it.  Which is enough for Daines.  That’s Steve Daines’s brand of leadership.  Enjoy it.


48 Comments on "Steve Daines and the Environmental Boogeyman"

  1. Naomi Klein adds some perspective here.

    But I think it goes back to the elite roots of the movement, and the fact that when a lot of these conservation groups began there was kind of a noblesse oblige approach to conservation. It was about elites getting together and hiking and deciding to save nature. And then the elites changed. So if the environmental movement was going to decide to fight, they would have had to give up their elite status. And weren’t willing to give up their elite status. I think that’s a huge part of the reason why emissions are where they are.

    At least in American culture, there is always this desire for the win-win scenario. But if we really want to get to, say, an 80 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, some people are going to lose. And I guess what you are saying is that it’s hard for the environmental leadership to look some of their partners in the eye and say, “You’re going to lose.”

    Exactly. To pick on power. Their so-called win-win strategy has lost. That was the idea behind cap-and-trade. And it was a disastrously losing strategy.

    Whether it is timber, coal, oil,…etc., it is time for Dems and their environmental leadership to look people in the eye and tell them who is going to lose with policies that block resource development. Specifically as to timber some of you might remember how the Spotted Owl was used to paralyze logging in western Montana. Logging and timber jobs were lost. Many support businesses and those jobs were lost.

  2. Dillon Tabish at the Flathead Beacon wrote a very informative article about the timber situation.

    • Hello Craig,

      What you characterize as a “very informative article about the timber situation” I saw as something completely different. No surprise there, I guess. But here’s the comment I posted on the Flathead Beacon site and sent directly to the reporters and editor. This comment below also has some good general information about not only NAFTA, but the bursting of the housing bubble in the U.S., both of which are very relevant to Daines “Timber” ad. Thanks.


      Wow, for all the ink the Flathead Beacon spilled with two completely one-sided pro-timber industry features nobody could manage to actually talk with someone from an environmental group who works directly and fully participates in the public process for national forest logging?

      And what’s with all the blind acceptance of the timber industry’s PR here?

      And somehow, unless I missed it, NAFTA is mentioned zero times in these articles? How is that even possible?

      Canada, our largest trading partner, has lead the world in deforestation for the past 15 years. And every large timber mill in Montana has received NAFTA transitional trade assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor. See this article from the Missoula Indy:

      Here’s a snip from that article:

      “While Montana’s timber industry prefers to blame its fiscal troubles on environmentalists rather than globalization, the federal government now formally acknowledges that NAFTA—the North American Free Trade Agreement—is largely to blame for the loss of more than 500 jobs in Montana’s timber industry. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has certified at least a half-dozen mills in Montana—including Pyramid Mountain Lumber in Seeley Lake, Stimson Lumber in Bonner and Owens and Hurst Lumber in Eureka—for NAFTA Transitional Adjustment Assistance, which assists workers whose jobs or work hours have been lost to Mexico or Canada retrain, return to school or relocate for new jobs.

      In her investigation of Pyramid Lumber’s application for assistance in December, Linda Poole of the DOL’s Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance determined that “[i]ncreases of imports from Canada contributed importantly to the declines in sales of production and to the total or partial separation of workers at [Pyramid]…The investigation also revealed that major customers increased their reliance on purchases of lumber produced in Canada, while decreasing purchases from [Pyramid].”

      Why do these Flathead Beacon articles just gloss over the tremendous impact the trade deals like NAFTA, combined with the global economic crisis and housing bubble bursting have had on the timber industry?

      Do the Beacon writers even realize that we have built 5.35 MILLION LESS homes in the U.S. from 2009 to 2013, compared with 2004 to 2008. Do you guys think this had any impact whatsoever on the Montana timber industry?

      Instead of printing these FACTS the Beacon instead make it seem like housing is “coming back” by failing to print these sobering numbers and instead printing something about 900,000 new homes built last year and 1.1 million this year. Well, that’s still 1 million LESS homes being built per year from the highs of the 2000s. Again, how can this not impact the timber industry?

      Nope, it’s best for the Montana timber industry and our politicians to ignore all these real-world economic forces and factors and just focus on environmental lawsuits….but then the journalists never actually talk to any groups filing timber sale lawsuits to get their side of the story. Honestly, I’d be more surprised if there was actually good, investigative reporting on this issue in Montana.

      I’m not sure why that’s so hard to do, but nobody in the media can manage it, so it must be that the timber industry has all the answers, the timber industry always tells the truth and the timber industry always does what’s best of the land, taxpayers and wildlife. Must be, right?

      Apparently, the timber industry never over-logged our public lands, never demanding the building of too many logging roads (that we now can’t even maintain) and never cut down most of the old-growth forests.

      A few other things:

      One of the articles reads:

      “Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, and seen how the timber industry in those regions have suffered, and even vanished. These states have an even higher percentage of federally owned lands, and they were hit hard during the 1990s, particularly after the Northern Spotted Owl was listed as a threatened species under the ESA in 1990.”

      That statement makes zero sense since CO, NM and Arizona have NO Northern Spotted Owls.

      RE: “The original forest plan, developed in 1986, called for 100 million board feet annually to be harvested in the Flathead. But amendments were made to those sustainable output figures….”

      What’s the evidence that logging 100 million board feet annually on the Flathead National Forest (and building all the needed roads) was anywhere near “sustainable?” For perspective, 20,000 logging trucks lined up end-to-end for 170 miles would be needed to transport 100 million board feet. Yet, hauling out 20,000 logging trucks worth of trees from the Flathead National Forest year after year after year is portrayed as being “sustainable?” WTF?

      RE: “The current trend appears to be mirroring states like Arizona and New Mexico, where massive declines occurred in the timber industries.”

      Please do a little independent research and verify the situation in NM and AZ for yourself, instead of just accepting the timber industry’s version of the story. For starters there was never a huge timber industry presence in NM and AZ, for obvious reasons….Most of AZ and NM is a desert and the states have very little forest cover over all. Sure, NM and AZ at one point had a small timber industry, but to claim that they suffered “massive declines” in the timber industry is just BS.

      Finally, again I must mention that it’s insane that a series like this could be produced with no mention of NAFTA’s impacts, which seem to mirror the with the situation facing Montana’s timber industry during the mid-90s to the present time.

      Does the Flathead Beacon honestly think that Canada, the world’s largest lumber producer, and our largest trading partner that shares the most miles of border with the US has very little impact on our timber industry? Sure seems like the U.S. Dept of Labor believes that imports from Canada of lumber have had a profoundly negative impact on MT’s timber industry. If so, why do you fail to report these facts?

      • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | September 16, 2014 8:53 AM at 8:53 AM |

        Anyone who has ever sailed the inland passage up to Alaska KNOWS that Montana could never even begin to compete with Canadian timber! It’s endless. Montana doesn’t even make a pimple, and the Canadians are cutting it all.

        • Good point Larry. In fact, Canada has lead the world in term of deforestation for almost the past 15 years. That fact, combined with 20 years of NAFTA, has had a devastating impact on not only the Montana timber industry, but the entire U.S. timber industry (even in parts of the country that have little to no public lands, and therefore the timber industry don’t cry for more taxpayer subsidized logging of public lands in those regions.).

      • It’s important to remember that until Europeans settled the Mountain West indigenous peoples, for thousands of years, shaped the forests to maximize ungulate populations: until it has been determined that ecosystems should look like they did before humans began engineering them policy discussions are destined to be drowned in the politics.

        Ultimately the Yellowstone supervolcano will silence the lambs but until then ignore christofascists like Skinner who believe Jesus is coming tomorrow.

        • Woops, didn’t see shorty’s rip here. I guess you still haven’t wrapped your tiny little mind around the idea that Indians managed for a human benefit and a product they wanted — easy-killin’ MEAT. Those pristine forests are actually artifacts of MANAGEMENT using available technologies. Can you comprehend that?
          As for the “christofascist” garbage — sorry to burst your tiny little bubble, but I’m half kosher and really dislike fascists. Although I love BACON.

      • Yah, right, Matt, a 2001 unbylined article in the Indy. Never mind that O and H and Stimson are long gone from the scene, both from lack of supply. Yes, I will concede that Stimson bought the Bonner mill on the presumption they would be out of PCL wood soon enough, but still, they probably hoped federal supply would resume. It didn’t, that’s what killed O and H.
        And Tabish did make a mistake — it was the M E X I C A N spotted fowl that killed the forestry sector in the Southwest, except on the tribal lands where ESA doesn’t apply if the tribes don’t want it to.

  3. Several examples of how fringe environmental groups have blocked timber sales can be found here:

     In the past few weeks alone, these two groups have appealed or litigated timber sales affecting
    over 50 million board feet of timber on six different projects (Cabin Gulch, Fleecer Mtn. Salvage, East Boulder Stewardship, Bozeman Watershed, Little Belt Roadside Hazard and Colt Summit). 

    The argument that fringe environmental groups don’t affect USFS timber sales is just plain silly.

    • Hello Drunks for Denny. Thanks for posting that PDF, which actually was part of a $30,000 state-wide Ad campaign from the “Timber Partners” of Senator Tester, Montana Wilderness Association, Montana Trout Unlimited and National Wildlife Federation calling for lawless public lands logging, no public appeals process, etc.

      Here’s an article I wrote about that $30,000 timber industry Ad campaign back in May 2012.

      Montana ‘Timber Partners’ Drop $30,000 on Ads Calling for Lawless Logging, No Public Appeals Process
      Posted by Matthew Koehler

      Just in time for the “Forest Jobs Tour ” (a series of one-sided presentations around Montana about Senator Tester’s mandated logging bill, the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act) “timber partners” RY Timber, Pyramid Mountain Lumber, Roseburg Forest Products and Sun Mountain Lumber took out this full-page advertisement today in at least six Montana newspapers, including the Helena Independent Record, Missoulian, Kalispell Daily Interlake, Great Falls Tribune, Montana Standard and Bozeman Chronicle According to Ad reps I spoke with at two of the papers, the retail cost of the advertisements likely ran between $27,000 and $31,000.

      The title of the Ad is “Out of Control Administrative Appeals and Frivolous Lawsuits Against the U.S. Forest Service Must be Stopped Now!!!” View the Ad here:

      The full-page timber industry Ad is full of statements such as this: “We believe the Forest Service is being held hostage by a small group of professional obstructionists.” The Ad ends with these timber mills providing the following “solutions,” including suggesting that Congress could simply exempt many timber sales from judicial review, just as was done with the Wolf Rider from Senator Tester. [note: all emphasis is as it appeared in the Ad]

      “We see several options available to Congress to immediately rectify these abuses:

      1) Amend the Equal Access to Justice Act by requiring a Cash Bond in these types of administrative appeals and lawsuits. Amend the Act further by implementing a Loser Pay System, where the loser is responsible for paying the attorneys’ fees and costs of the overall prevailing party.

      2) In designated Timber Management Areas already established under the approved Forest Plans, Congress could exempt from judicial review those Timber Sales which deal with trees that have been killed or severely damaged by the Mountain Pine Beetle. The authority of Congress to limit court jurisdiction can be found under Article III Section 2 of United States Constitution. A similar limitation was recently enacted by Congress when they removed Gray Wolf from the Endangered Species List and barred the federal court from any further review.

      3) Scrap the entire Forest Service Administrative Appeals Process and use the more streamlined approach that the Department of Interior – BLM uses for their timber projects.”

      More about the timing of these Ads. It must be pointed out that these same exact timber mills are sharing the stage this week and next week with their friends – or is the correct term ‘collaborators’ – representing the Montana Wilderness Association, National Wildlife Federation, Montana Trout Unlimited and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition for the Forest Jobs Tour to support Senator Tester’s mandated logging bill, S. 268. So, the timing of the timber industry’s $30,000 Ad ‘Blitzkrieg’ couldn’t be more transparent.

      Honestly, having already attended a number of these one-sided FJRA dog-n-pony shows I doubt I’ll waste my time – and a perfectly good spring evening – attending any of the ‘Forest Jobs Tour.’ In the past, these events have been carefully scripted to limit any tough, substantive questions or dissent and I assume that tonight’s Tour stop in Missoula will be the same. Heck, during a similar FJRA event – held in a public building at the University of Montana – a representative of Montana Wilderness Association even attempted to prevent one of our interns from passing out simple handbills announcing a “Forest Jobs and Recreation Act Study Club,” the sole purpose of which was to simply read the actual bill language, and then discuss what the language means.

      However, I can’t help but wonder if during this so-called “Forest Jobs Tour” if these conservation groups will bother to express concern or speak out against their “timber partners’” wish list for more logging, less public and scientific over-sight and no judicial review of Forest Service timber sales? Or will these conservation groups give their consent through their public silence? I have a hunch I know how the “collaborators” will roll. And, if that hunch is correct, what does that truly say about the state of their collaboration with the timber industry?

    • HI Matthew. I believe Todd Morgan, much quoted in the Beacon article, works for the University of Montana. He is not in the employ of the timber industry. Perhaps you could contact him and get a response to your questions.

      • Hello Craig. I don’t have any questions for Mr. Morgan. And honestly, based on how off his research and proclamations have been over the past few years, I’m not sure why I’d even contact him.

        For the record, many view UM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research department to be an extension of big business. Mr. Morgan is the director of the Bureau’s Forest Industry Research wing and that research is used to serve the desires of the timber industry in Montana (often calling for more public lands logging, while ignoring many economic realities) in much the same way the Bureau did when Chuck Keegan ran the Bureau’s pro-timber industry department.

        I can’t think of one instance of where UM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research Forest Industry Research wing actually called for protection of public lands because of ecological, wildlife, etc reasons.


        • Matthew, I think your reply demonstrates the reason why dealing with your organization is like trying to pet a porcupine. It’s painful, the porcy just doesn’t care, and there is nothing constructive coming from the experience. If those were serious questions and issues you posed above, and not just rhetorical musings to garner attention, then take them to the ‘man.’

  4. A Mother Jones piece tells readers when the GOP began hating the Earth:

    According to a new study in the journal Social Science Research, the key change actually began around the year 1991—when the Soviet Union fell. “The conservative movement replaced the ‘Red Scare’ with a new ‘Green Scare’ and became increasingly hostile to environmental protection at that time,” argues sociologist Aaron McCright of Michigan State University and two colleagues. [Chris Mooney, When Did Republicans Start Hating the Environment?]

  5. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | September 15, 2014 1:10 PM at 1:10 PM |

    Atta boy, Pee Wee! Now, you’re a logger! bwhahhaahaa! Too funny. Yes, Pee Wee, pretend you know what the hell it’s like to be a working man. Next thing you know, you’ll be a longshoreman! Or maybe an underground miner!

    But Pee Wee, you made your THIRTY-TWO million dollar wage keeping people happy, according to your bio at rightwingnow tech. I don’t EVEN want’a know how you DID that, Pee Wee! You were a high tech COMFORT boy! So, yeah, you’ve got a whole LOT in common with a guy who actually RISKS his ass for a living! I mean, Pee Wee, SOME folks might say you LOOK like a techie comfort boy, but not me. I think you LOOK like a little industry pimp pree- TENDING to be a logger!

    Pee Wee, you’re a wee willy winky PIMP for the Wilks brothers, pure and simple! You a little hand puppet sittin’ on the Big Kockh lap, mouthing whatever the Wilks brothers want you to say! You want to PIMP away our resources that we all hold in common! It’s called THEFT, Pee Wee.

    Well sorry, Pee Wee, but you’re pissin’ up a rope on this one. Poll after poll indicate that Montanans actually CARE about the environment! This AIN’T the freakin’ nineteenth century any longer! People do NOT want to spend their lives as a logger if they can find a much better job! Only YOU and your puppet masters still think this way! Hell, SPEND a day underground in the palladium mine and then tell us just how many people want to do that for a living!

    So, keep talkin’, lil’ fella. You’re diggin’ yourself deeper into the hole. You’ve got nuthin’ but your lil’ pimp talking points, and that ain’t enough. Sayin’ that you want to STEAL whatever is left for the Kockhs and Wilks ain’t the brightest way to get elected!

    As I’ve told the Dems many times, if Pee Wee wants to go there, GO THERE! And he went there! Now, make the dumbass defend his idiotic remarks! We gtosta save them damn few timber jobs LEFT so’s that the Big Kockhs and Wilks brothers can scrape the last remaining environment dollars LEFT in Montana, for that’s the way poverty capitalism in general works! Get every last cent outa the turnip while you can! Ain’t that right, Pee Wee?!

    Pee Wee and his big Wilks buddy. I let you guess which is which! (unauthorized photo)

  6. Daines wearing Carhartts is priceless.

  7. Environmental Boogeyman, thank you for them. If they hadn’t been there, the Clark’s Fork would still be killing everything down stream from Anaconda to places further west. Scrubbers on coal fired plants were a result of these people and those scrubbers created more high paying jobs at the time of installation and afterwards in plant maintenance than Dipshit for Brains Daines has ever done . The only Teepee that this Dipshit Daines wants is the burner type that used to be near every lumber mill in Montana . There are a multitude of things that environmental boogeymen have done to improve and prolong our lives.
    If this shithead ever worked a real job, he know that there are benefits of having a cleaner environment.

  8. Why would we want to clear cut all the tree’s so a few lumber mills can stay in business. Another business would be Hemp for those mills and the Libertarians are the only folks talking about this new industry.

  9. Jon Tester, call your office. Steve Daines is stealing your shtick.

    Wow, those two guys are going to work well together, two Timber Lobby puppets.

  10. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | September 15, 2014 10:33 PM at 10:33 PM |

    Why SHORE you did, sweetie! Pee Wee’s base, the walmart inbred crowd! Give’em walmart, Jaysus, a gun and a flag, and by GOD they’ll even vote for a dipshit like daines!

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | September 15, 2014 10:38 PM at 10:38 PM |

      skinflute, i THEENK he might be talkin’ bout you, craigy, giantfart, pee wee, the wee willy winky Wilks bros., and the entire ReePube base! Dummber than dog shit and twice as proud of it!

  11. Yes, how dare Rep Daines use words like “extremists” and “fringe environmentalists” when talking about his efforts to dramatically increase public lands logging.

    Everyone know that Senator Tester and his mandated logging collaborators at groups like the National Wildlife Federation and Montana Trout Unlimited started using words like “extremists” and “fringe environmentalists” when talking about Senator Tester’s efforts to dramatically increase public lands logging through congressional riders attached to unrelated must-pass pieces of legislation.

    I mean, clearly Rep Daines is guilty of plagiarizing these words directly from Senator Tester, Tom France and Bruce Farling!

    “If you look at the folks opposing this bill, [Tester’s mandated logging bill, the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act] they’re the extremes. Quite frankly, extremists are extremists and I don’t really care. – Senator Tester in the Missoulian 1/3/11

    ” a cadre of small fringe organizations challenge [Forest Service logging projects].” – Tom France, National Wildlife Federation in a 4/28/14 guest column supporting Governor Bullock’s no public notice, no public input process that resulted in 5 million acres of National Forest lands in Montana being nominated for ‘fast track’ logging

    “”I find these charges that are coming from fringe groups….almost ridiculous.” – Tom France, National Wildlife Federation on KPAX 12/ 16/10

    “I simply have to shake my head at the blatantly false accusations and statements made in the press lately by a few fringe environmentalists concerning Gov. Steve Bullock’s [no public notice, no public input process that resulted in 5 million acres of National Forest lands in Montana being nominated for ‘fast track’ logging].” – Bruce Farling, Montana Trout Unlimited 5/9/14

  12. Anyone believing the GOP will do anything other than rape, pillage and scorch Montana or any other state is delusional.

  13. We see a lot of discussion on the timber industry with Jobs being the outstanding emphasis. But who has concerns for the long term future ? We ship this precious natural resource to other countries with seemingly no thought of what can become a major future blunder. Considering how long it takes [ about fifty years to grow a tree from birth to harvest,] with fires, and possible drough which is plaguing our nation, it seems maybe too much emphasis is placed on jobs and not the loss of this precious resourse. If the forest is gone .then there will be No Jobs. America should be thinking FIRST in keeping our natural resources intact. Coal and the earths minerals once depleted do not have the ability to reproduce. Once gone then what ? it seems people think only of their comfort and pleasure for a season, and don’t care about the obsticals

  14. We see a lot of discussion on the timber industry with Jobs being the outstanding emphasis. But who has concerns for the long term future ? We ship this precious natural resource to other countries with seemingly no thought of what could become a major future blunder. Considering how long it takes to produce a tree, [about fifty years to grow a tree from birth to harvest,] with fires, and possible drough which is plaguing our nation, it seems maybe too much emphasis is placed on jobs and not the loss of this precious resourse. If the forest is gone .then there will be No Jobs . America should be thinking FIRST in keeping our natural resources intact. Coal and the earths minerals once depleted do not have the ability to reproduce. Once gone then what ? it seems people think only of their comfort and pleasure for a season, and don’t care about the obstacles that in all probability will happen in the near future from hasty and careless decisions made today.

  15. That ad is to fool low-information voters into thinking Daines isn’t some rich daddy’s rich kid from Bozeman. Tough talk. Lunch-bucket buddies. All phony as a $3 bill. That plaid shirt isn’t ten minutes out-of-the-box. It still has creases from when it was sewen, folded and boxed in China. Why, he’s a genuine 21st-Century Paul Bunyan.

    On one level, however, it’s a thing of beauty. He can stick it to Tester, ignore Curtis, and coast because neither Democrats, nor Republicans seem to want to discuss issues that might be of interest to most Montanans. War with Russia? No way. Health care costs? No way. Low wages? No way. Political corruption? Nope. The rising cost of food, rent, gasoliine, and just about everything else? Not a peep.

    Name a single mother or father willing to look into the camera and say publicly with a straight face that they have aspirations for their son or daughter to land a lifetime job in a Montana sawmill?

  16. he’s a genuine 21st-Century Paul Bunyan

Comments are closed.