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Lawrence County Burning Up Pine Beetle Funds; Daugaard Against More Aid

Last February, the state authorized Lawrence County to spend its $1.8-million mine severance tax fund on its battle against the mountain pine beetle. The county was already on the verge of using up the half million in private donations and county funds appropriated to thinning the forest. Lawrence County has now used nearly $650,000 from that severance tax fund and this week authorized moving $120,000 from next year's budget to this year's to continue the pine beetle effort. The pine beetle fight is supposed to continue for another five years.

Lawrence County Commissioners have thus burned up the interest from that fund. They don't want to use the principal, but with Governor Dennis Daugaard now backing away from offering additional pine beetle assistance to the county, they may have no choice.

The state's already in for $8 million to fight the pine beetle on state land and offer private landowners help. The delayed Farm Bill would spend another $200 million a year for five years to fight the pine beetle throughout the West.

Hmm... could Governor Daugaard be coming to the conclusion that we won't get a return on investment for any more state funds to chop down millions of trees? Perhaps Governor Daugaard is leaning toward the conclusion of the Defenders of the Black Hills, who say our response to the pine beetle has risen from hysteria, not facts about wildfire danger. We can bulldoze a bunch of new forest roads and clear loads of brush, but will anything short of a reversion of the climate back to really cold winters stop the beetles?

Don't forget: underneath all those trees are a lot of little green saplings. The forest can fix itself; it just won't do it on our time.


  1. Michael Black 2012.11.18

    You cannot base your speculation on a Farm Bill that won't be even looked at until well into the Spring. First Congress will have to raise the debt limit which in itself may be unlikely. What can the Lawrence County and the State do with the funds they already have?

  2. grudznick 2012.11.18

    Perhaps the Governor has indeed gone green and carries cloth baggies on his visits to the food store. Now is the time of the year to cut cut cut.

  3. Les 2012.11.18

    Grud, it was you who stated, let the Bugs eat the trees, that's what bugs do. Although I agree with you, I have been personally cutting for three years now, on and around our property.

    I did notice a rusty tree this fall, that slipped by my attention. It could have been the vertical slope it chose to live on.

  4. grudznick 2012.11.18

    It is what bugs do. I might have stated that. But please don't call me a greenie or Mr. Larry will want to come over for fishsticks and mulberry wine.

  5. mike 2012.11.18

    Nature will take it's course soon enough. The problem is people are living in areas they probably shouldn't be and the brush and dead trees are piling up. The forest can't burn itself clean because of the new homes being built in the area and that also means the fire can't kill off the pine beetles.

    Noem and her crap about spending more Government money is a wasteful tactic.

  6. larry kurtz 2012.11.18

    Lawrence County should just create a mile-wide buffer at its border with Weston in Wyoming, Pennington and Meade Counties and take every tree younger than a hundred years because the Central Hills is a conflagration looking for a match.

  7. larry kurtz 2012.11.18

    Oh, and you praying people living in western Custer and Pennington Counties? You'd best be getting to it.

  8. larry kurtz 2012.11.18

    The good news is that as those thousands of acres die the water table may begin to recharge against the demands of additional white people as they build more crap in the Hills.

    The bad news is that as those trees decay, the additional methane (an even greater threat to increased global warming than Kristi Noem's 'gas of life') only contributes to the hemispheric catastrophe already underway.

  9. larry kurtz 2012.11.18

    Of course, blaming us in the environmental community is the easiest course of action because we hate white people with Rs after their names is all well and good; except that congressional gridlock is the real problem.

  10. grudznick 2012.11.18

    Calm down, Larry. You seem insaner than usual and your conflagration of posts has insured that nobody has viewed the links.

    Calm down, young sir. You are but a pawn.

  11. larry kurtz 2012.11.18

    The Spruce budworm is working its way up Little Spearfish Canyon and will kill all Black Hills Spruce in ten years.

  12. larry kurtz 2012.11.18

    Bovine antibiotics in every watershed draining the Black Hills hydrologic system: you are killing her, South Dakota.

  13. Bree S. 2012.11.18

    Boy he's really on a roll today, isn't he Grudz? You'd think Obama lost or something.

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