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LUBBOCKONLINE.COM - Logger, activist says green movement needs reform
Vincent describes trouble with environmental protection laws during Plains Cotton Growers' annual meeting
Posted: April 4, 2014
By JOSIE MUSICO
Certain environmental protection laws fail to protect the country’s human inhabitants, according to a nationally recognized motivational speaker and logging industry spokesman on Friday morning, April 4.
Bruce Vincent told a crowd at Plains Cotton Growers’ 57th annual meeting efforts to save wildlife and clean the nation’s air and water were formed with good intentions but have become inefficient. He described how environmental groups helped pass policy such as the Endangered Species Act, which has been unpopular with certain industries and landowners.
“The movement that got empowered and the laws that came out are showing their age,” he said.
And some leaders in the green movement rely more on scare tactics than on hard science, he suggested.
“It’s a business — a business that sells fear, and they’re very good at what they do,” he said. “(They say,) ‘The weather’s changing. Send me some damn money.’ ”
But the speaker doesn’t support dirty air or exterminating wild species. He told his audience of farmers they know their environment better than most of the politicians who have the authority to create laws about it, and they deserve more input.
“We need a new environmental movement based on hope rather than fear,” he said. “American agriculture has a great story to tell. You are the green choice.”
Vincent hails from Libby, Mont. The fourth-generation logger described troubles he’s had in his hometown with legal protection for grizzly bears. He felt certain efforts to save the bears were based more on untested theory than on real research and hurt the natural ecosystem more than they helped it.
“There’s plenty of room for that bear and for us,” he said. “We can coexist quite nicely.”
Similar controversies surround protection under the Endangered Species Act for the timber wolf, spotted owl and — more recently and closer to home — the lesser prairie chicken.
Vincent encouraged the group of cotton growers to stand up politically. Speak to their county commissioners and congressmen, he told them, and publicly support candidates who support them.
“You have a responsibility to speak about your vision,” he said. “... Decide to do something. There’s a way to save the last best places. It’s going to take the last best people to do it.”
The annual meeting coincided with the Texas Cotton Ginners Association’s annual convention and trade show in the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center.
Another hot topic was the new farm bill.
Brandon Willis, an administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency, described the evolution of the bill. Although direct payments to producers were once among its provisions, a return to crop insurance is more justifiable economically, he said.
“I think there’s a simple reason the crop insurance program has lasted while other programs have come and gone — it makes sense,” he said. “It makes sense for farmers who need a safety net. It makes sense for consumers, and it makes sense for taxpayers.”
josephine.musico at lubbockonline.com• 766-8796
Follow Josie on Twitter @josiemusico
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