American Loggers Council leader questions Leahy’s forestry comments

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, is chiming in on the blame-game regarding the massive forest fires in California — but his comments aren’t sitting well with some logging experts.

Leahy was chairman of the committee when he oversaw the 1990 Farm Bill, which included massive revisions to national forestry laws. The bill is getting updated again but has been tangled up over its forestry management revisions.

Daniel Dructor

EXPERT: Daniel Dructor is the executive vice president of the American Loggers Council.

Daniel Dructor, executive vice president of the American Loggers Council, says the House version of the bill has the desired components to allow greater forest management policies. He said it’s a big contrast from the Senate version, which “basically does nothing.”

He added that it’s the Senate minority that is holding up the bill over the House’s provisions, and Leahy is among that effort.

In a recent press release, Leahy blasted the forestry provisions.

“It is outrageous that House Republicans and the Trump administration are continuing to hold up the Farm Bill negotiations over harmful and extreme forestry provisions,” Leahy said.

“Secretaries Perdue and Zinke [Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke] shockingly are trying to co-opt the terrible tragedies in California to push for the Trump Administration’s crass, cynical, and unaccountable logging of the public’s national forests,” he continued.

President Donald Trump and his opponents have been engaged in a back-and-forth over who’s to blame for California’s wildfires. Trump is calling for the Interior Department and the Forest Service to have new authority to clear out dead trees and brush, which according to Dructor, is a primary culprit.

Leahy argues that “historic fire prevention tools” were implemented in March via the Appropriations Committee as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act. He says that bill allows for “expedited forest management practices and fuels reduction work on wildfire-prone forests.”

Vermont Secretary of State's Office

FIRE EXPERT? U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is against forest management provisions backed by House Republicans.

“Instead of pushing for these extremely partisan provisions on behalf of a small minority in the timber lobby, House Republicans and the Administration should be joining the Senate Farm Bill conferees to discuss bipartisan forestry solutions. That is how the Forestry Title has always worked, going back to the very first one I authored in the 1990 Farm Bill,” Leahy said.

Leahy urges Perdue and Zinke to use these existing prevention tools rather than pointing to the recent California wildfires to justify “additional extreme logging authority.”

But Dructor said this is all too much politics and not enough action.

“I know there are some political games that are going on in Washington, D.C., and folks are saying the fires are caused by climate change, and other folks are saying it’s being caused by mismanagement of the forests, when in fact it’s probably a combination of both.”

He added that he found Leahy’s comments out of touch with the realities faced by Californians.

“I’m having a hard time understanding how somebody from Vermont can determine what’s best for our western federal forest lands,” Dructor said. “I think if the fires had happened in his state and his communities like they have in California, then perhaps you would think he might have a different take on it.”

Regarding forest management, he said it’s not just at the forest floor and brush level that needs clearing, but also the tree crown level. He said if the fire gets up there and there is no separation between trees, the fire will jump from tree to tree, as happened in the recent California fires.

“If your crowns are too close then the fire just jumps from crown to crown and there’s hardly any stopping it until something causes it to come back down,” he said. “Science has proven it over and over again — what causes it to come down, it’s when those crowns aren’t touching each other.”

Dructor said politicians need to stop bickering and listen to the professionals.

“I’m a forester by degree and I was trained to manage forests,” he said. “We’ve allowed folks who know nothing about forestry to come in and say this is how we should be managing the forests, which in a lot of the cases is no management at all.”

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of FEMA, Daniel Dructor and Vermont Secretary of State's Office

13 thoughts on “American Loggers Council leader questions Leahy’s forestry comments

  1. Listen up! The good senator from the fine state of Vermont, where you couldn’t get a forest fire to burn if you used a blowtorch, is lecturing us on fire prevention and forest management out of his vast body of knowledge and experience on the subject. Just read the Farm Bill, it’s all right there. Ha! What a crock. Time for this dinosaur to retire!

  2. I would be very interested in hearing our Senator’s response to this article. Please respond Mr. Leahy!

  3. You have to remember, Leahy isn’t a leader. He has always been a follower and a joiner, better described as a typical politician. What ever it takes to get a committee assignment and votes. He is one of the reasons congress has about a 29% favorable rating. It is all about self gratification! Constituents be damn.

    He is so far left he is close to falling off the edge. His positions do not reflect working middle class Americans who pay the taxes. He is competing with socialist Bernie who a year-and-a-half ago didn’t want anything to do with him (Bernie). Now he is hanging on to Bernie’s coat tails.


  4. Forever Wild is such a farce and an absolute lie. All that means is an exclusive playground for Liberal hikers and bikers. Overtime over browsed and full canopy Forest do not produce enough food for the Wildlife that are there and they quickly vacate. Vermont’s desire to emulate liberal California has cost us valuable forestry Improvement and has produce no benefit whatsoever much like the similar Folly with wind and solar also heavily pushed by the three liberal Stooges in Washington

    • Relating the VT forests and wildlife (deer especially). Settlers to VT cleared the lands to farm. That environment produced food sources for the animals, apple orchards, crops young tree buds, etc, so the animals flourished. In the 50’s when the woods hadn’t overgrew these food sources it was nothing to see 15-20 deer a day in deer season, it was a joy (and you could take only one buck-not three as now). But the VT Fish & Game Dept wants more revenue-so kill off the deer. The law of diminishing returns will be realized. Food supplies disappeared with trees taking over and these elements reduced the herds.

      I bet back in the 1700’s when the woods were cleared for farmland and stonewalls built, Vermont was a better looking place, you could see the land, not only trees. Taft’s came to VT from Uxbridge MA March 1800 in 6 ft of snow. In an old cellar hole just below my land, the family of Howard’s lived there; David, Charles and William. President William Howard Taft as a youngster lived there and that’s how he got his name. The Taft’s moved onto Ohio and died there. So I know the land was open areas. The old deeds describe boundaries “by a corner by some small cherry trees”. They are now dead, but there.

      For interest: VT had three counties NY’s Cumberland, Charlotte and NH’s Glocester. Look at early land deeds, it’s there and the land was paid for in Pounds and Schillings. I have copies of such deeds. Also the land was given out by King George III by land grants via Benning Wentworth.

      This past October we walked and marked trees on 157 acres for cutting. The trees were full growth and would start deteriorating. In all our walking, very rarely little deer sign. There were two or three trails crossing moving from one area to another, no droppings which would indicate them being around, no food. When we selectively cut, it’ll open the woods, provided food. Also plan on throwing seed for eatable plants in the landing areas. I’ve seen results on other lands when feeding areas were established, tremendous animal activity and as witnessed by game cameras. The Fish & Game Dept won’t do the same.

      VT needs more timber harvesting and less tree huggers. This also flies in the face of Leahy’s “knowledge” for “additional extreme logging authority.” All of Leahy’s rhetoric revolves around “Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act”. Interesting the field people state “I’m having a hard time understanding how somebody from Vermont can determine what’s best for our western federal forest lands”.

      VT history is in the old deeds and are public property, so you should be able legally to access if desired..Trust this holds your VT interest as to it’s history, not the Montpelier crap.

  5. Ah Leaky Leahy, VT’ finest knows everything about nothing. Expert in all subjects. His pic doesn’t look like the old man face down reading at the Kavenaugh hearing symbolizing Alzheimer’s. He doesn’t know his time has come and gone.
    Got the nickname Leaky from his short time on the Intelligence Committee where he got briefings from the CIA. then went on TV and spilled the secretive information. How many agents were killed / assassinated due to his exposures. Where’s Fred Tuttle when people really need him now. Leaky got a little scared when running against Fred. I met Fred at the VA Hospital in WRJ, nice guy, well respected, a true honest Vermonter.

    Leaky shames Vermonters. Guess he wants to leave the Senate like Robert Bird. I could show you an email from Leaky sent to a friend about his position regarding Kavenaugh. Very delusional, out of touch, a true Liberal against anyone Conservative. Leahy is a symbol of Liberal Vermont, sad.

    • Tom,
      Thank you for the nice summary on Leahy.

      You forgot to mention he is a mastermind of EB-5 law, along with Grassley, in the US,m and especially of its programs in Vermont.

      He was APPEARING by ACCIDENT in SINGAPORE, of all places, when a “dog and phony” show was being held by infamous Vermont folks to fleece unsuspecting Asian millionaires by boasting about the benefits of EB-5.

      All that led to the largest EB-5 fraud EVER, $200 billion, and NO ONE GOING TO JAIL, right here in rustic Vermont

      • I was going to mention Leahy’s doings along Slicky Shumlin with the EB5 involvement but figured I’d run out of space. Where’s there money, these two (and Bernie) are there. (ref Shumlin’s East Montpelier land grabbing, screwing a neighbor). The EB5 debunking involved Burke MT and Jay Peak. When these places went bankrupt, these two characters tucked their tails between their legs and headed out of Dodge. There’s pics of them in EB5 meetings. As a result many foreign investors who paid $500K for the Green Cards to be here, got screwed. One of the main organizers was from Florida, very corrupt There’s a hole in the ground in downtown Newport VT for a business (part of the package) that’s still a hole.

        I contacted Sheryl Atkinson who’s TV program “Full Measure” exposes government corruption hoping she would do a segment. Thus far she hasn’t that I know of.

        There’s a lot more about Leaky Leahy might get boring.

  6. Totally different forest in the west, they need fire to reproduce. Perhaps if they had more fires, the intensity wouldn’t be so extreme. We did some controlled burns in Forestry class, it was amazing and fun. Politicians love to attach global warming to anything that can promote their cause for a carbon tax, maybe a higher tax will reduce the massive fires! There is rarely any intelligent discussion of the sides in news articles. More fuel certainly does make for bigger fires.

  7. I have lived in VT for over 67 years, I have hunted in the same woods ( National Forest ) most
    of that time and I have never seen any sort of forest management !!!

    Luckily Vermont only has a few months a year of hot weather and the remainder of the year its
    rain & snow or we would be looking like California ( Burnt ) with all the dead trees and growth
    we have in our forest that’s not being maintained ……Idiots with an agenda.

    As far a ” Babbling ” Pat Leahy, he’s not thinking of Vermont, all he’s thinking of is stopping any
    ideas from Republicans and especially if it came from ” President Trump ” ….. Shameful.

    • The reason you see very little forest management in this state us due to Leahy, Sanders and former senator Jeffords. The forest service wanted more Forever Wild forests in Vermont nearly 2 decades ago. Many of us as recreationalist, loggers and Hunters opposed this. After many meetings with the US Forest service we negotiated the amount down to half of the initial amount. When presented to the 3 stooges, they put it back to the original amount and waved the fickle finger of fate at us. Then proceeded to put it in bill, voted it to the affirmative. Now we, are stuck with their selfish act.

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