The Right Opinion

Obama the Job-Killing Owl-Killer

By Michelle Malkin · Nov. 28, 2012

Welcome to the pretzel logic of liberal environmental protection: In order to “save” owls, the Obama administration is going to shoot them dead.

This is not – I repeat not – an Onion parody.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the White House released a big fat policy turkey: its final critical habitat rule for the endangered northern spotted owl. The Obama plan will lock up 9.6 million acres of land (mostly, but not all, federal) in Oregon, Washington and northern California. This is nearly double the acreage set aside by the Bush administration. Thousands of timber workers (along with untold thousands of related support jobs) will be threatened in the name of sparing a few thousand spotted owls from extinction.

As House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., pointed out earlier this year, timber-dependent counties hit hard by the federal land grab and unending environmental litigation remain racked by high unemployment. “The loss in economic activity caused by the original spotted owl plan caused an astounding decrease in federal tax receipts of nearly $700 million per year – all from rural Northwest communities.”

Despite two decades of massive government intervention and the near-destruction of the northwest timber industry, the furry bird is vanishing faster than ever. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, “(t)imber harvest on 24 million acres of federal land had dropped 90 percent from its heyday” by the year 2000. Yet, northern spotted owls are now “disappearing three times faster than biologists had feared.” Indeed, spotted owl populations in key parts of Washington State “are half what they were in the 1980s.” And overall, the bird has seen a 40 percent decline over the past 25 years, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Punishing loggers and bringing the timber industry to its knees have made vengeful environmental groups fat and happy. But the northern spotted owl they claim to care so much about is catastrophically worse off thanks to green zealotry. One root cause: habitat loss (thanks in part to raging wildfires resulting from poor forest management and green opposition to thinning/controlled burns).

The other major, nonhuman culprit: the barred owl.

These barred owls began migrating from the East Coast in the 1950s, and the USFWS reports that the larger, more aggressive and more adaptable birds “are known to displace spotted owls, disrupt their nesting and compete with them for food.” Barred owls are more prolific breeders, less finicky about their food and less picky about where they live. They also don't bow down before the Endangered Species Act or the hallowed “threatened” status of its weaker brethren. They are brutal predators known to slam into spotted owls, slicing them with their talons and decapitating them in their nests.

Conservation groups whine that barred owls are victims of “scapegoating.” But USFWS Director Dan Ashe spoke the truth earlier this year: “We can't ignore the mounting evidence that competition from barred owls is a major factor in the spotted owl's decline.”

Instead of admitting failure and letting nature take its course, however, command-and-control bureaucrats have appointed themselves Mother Nature's judges, juries and executioners. Their “main priority” is “reducing competition from barred owls.” How? By gunning them down. Final details are still in the works, but the agency has floated past removal schemes that involve “luring territorial barred owls into close range … using recorded calls and an owl decoy. … A shotgun would be used to prevent wounding and ensure rapid and humane death.” Experts say such an eradication plan would need to continue for centuries.

Twenty years of regulatory salvation have failed the northern spotted owl. Who believes that another top-down government exercise in species engineering – this time backed with bullets – will do the trick? When the government picks winners and losers, taxpayers always get screwed. No matter the job losses. No matter the death toll. Arrogant and unaccountable central planners never give a hoot.



Robinius in Broomfield, Colorado said:

Forward Komrades! What has happened to survival of the fittest? Evolution? Darwin must be rolling in his grave. Whoever trucked in all those Eastern Barred Owls should pay dearly for his crime. What's that? They flew there if their own volition? Well, Someone must pay. Damn conservatives!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 12:58 AM

Howard Last in Wyoming said:

It is not just birds but wolves and elk. The feds put wolves in to Yellowstone. And would not allow hunting of wolves that wondered out of the park and killed livestock and elk calves. It seem wolves are not that smart, they could not read the signs that indicated Yellowstone boundaries. The wolves besides affecting the elk herds killed lambs, calf's and foals. Where are the phony environmentalists calling for protection of the cute baby animals. The real environmentalists are hunters and fishermen and stock-men.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 1:39 AM

George Rogers Clark in Ohio replied:

You are on it, Howard. "You must not foll with Mother Nature."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 10:27 PM

HardThought in Kansas said:

Species go extinct. Check the fossil record.

Get over it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 6:22 AM

Ct-Tom in NC said:

I have always found it remarkable that those who so zealously advocate for Darwin, so abhor its consequences. And, this is true whether we are talking about people, other critters, or plants. These idiotic quests would be hilarious if they were not so costly.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 9:49 AM

wjm in Colorado said:

One species that should be endangered is the Liberal. Like locusts, they breed, invade, ruin, trash, and destroy, then move on. I pray that one day they will indeed be erradicated.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 10:34 AM



Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 11:02 AM

JHenry in NYSS, USSA said:

I have been advocating for an Open Season in liberals for years. For Pete's sake, they are our enemies and they are obviously proliferating at an alarming rate. Liberals are an existential threat to us, yet we allow them to continue to exterminate us with little to no resistance. Declare an Open Season with no bag limits!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 10:52 AM

billy396 in ohio replied:

While obviously joking, you have hit on the actual solution. The problem is that there isn't enough ammunition in this country to kill these traitors as fast as they can breed. Even if you could, they'd adopt Chinese and Russian children to strengthen their ranks. What kind of idiot can't see that humans can never, and shouldn't try, to "manage" nature on that level. Wind farms kill more birds of ALL types, daily, than every hunter in the country, and those huge blades don't care if they hit endangered California Condors or any other "endangered" species. Of course, that doesn't count to the leftist. Only total control matters to them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 4:18 PM

KnoxvilleAJ in Knoxville, TN said:

I bet the displaced loggers have shotguns! Unemployment solved in the NW.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 11:57 AM

BJ in St. Cloud, MN said:

I own 2 wild bird stores in Central MN and am considered to be somewhat of an expert when it comes to birds and there is one reaon and one reason only that the Spotted Owl is losing it's predator status in the NW woods. Rich people aren't paying their share of the taxes.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 3:07 PM

Kevin from Arkansas in USA replied:

You mean it hasn't been linked to global warming yet? The warming earth is allowing the Barred Owl to expand it's range. Add the rich not paying their fair share and it's "Case Closed."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 6:43 PM

George Rogers Clark in Ohio replied:

Ah, Kevin, the master of satire. Seriously, that was good !

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 10:23 PM

George Rogers Clark in Ohio said:

Oh shucks, Michelle, I cannot help myself: whooooooo do they think they are? Well, we know, and thanks to you, now I know about the barred owls. With the easily recognizable failure of the central planners, there had to some reason for the continuing demise of the spotted owl. THANKS.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 10:19 PM