Cornyn blames California fires on “forest management”

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The GOP’s battle with facts and science continues. On Tuesday, Sen. John Cornyn took to the Senate floor to downplay the effect that climate change has had on the fires raging in the West Coast, instead pointing to forest management.  

Cornyn accused Democrats of “blaming this side of the aisle or the president for everything that happens in the world, including hurricanes and forest fires, largely as a result of failing to undertake proper forest management which we know can prevent fires, and they blame it on climate change.

Unsurprisingly, Cornyn was echoing an argument Trump has made repeatedly in recent days. Trump has flatly denied that the world is heating up at all, claiming, without evidence, that things will soon cool down. 

Experts say that both improper forest management and climate change have contributed to the fires. While it is true that lack of proper management is resulting in larger fuel loads, it’s hard to argue that the Pacific Coast becoming hotter and drier with the changing climate didn’t play a big role. It’s not an either/or situation, the fires we’re seeing now are the result of a perfect storm created by the combination of climate change and forest mismanagement. 

The experts also say that no amount of forest management can stop the new breed of wildfires that are emerging as a result of climate change. Cutting emissions will have to be part of the solution as well.

Even if the fires were solely the result of forest mismanagement and not climate change, that still wouldn’t let the Trump administration off the hook. Currently,  57 percent of California’s forests are owned and managed by the federal government, with state and local governments owning only three percent and the rest is privately owned. Trump has repeatedly sought to cut funding for forest management, including money for wildfire suppression and forest management. 

So if Cornyn wants to pin the blame on forest management rather than climate change, perhaps he should point the finger at his own president.

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images  

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