Friday, April 11, 2014

Don't Smoke Chainsaw Pot

The “Don’t drink chainsaw wines” stickers are fading, but haven’t been removed from the bumpers of our friends and neighbors’ vehicles, constant reminders of their hypocrisy. For those interested in saving our environment, a more relevant sticker would be “Don’t smoke chainsaw pot!” The Preservation Ranch proposal that spurred an avalanche of local activism was opposed on the grounds that it would clear cut a small portion of the property, and would use ponds to impound water to irrigate the vineyard.

In contrast, pot production in Northern California uses huge amounts of water by damming and drying tributary creeks, rendering them graveyards for endangered salmon and steelhead fry. Instead of one small controlled clear-cut, pot cultivation indiscriminately clear cuts and bulldozes fragile hillsides leading to stream-clogging sediment runoff during the winter, and herbicide, insecticide, and rat poison contamination during the summer pot-growing season. And lots of CO2.

The liberal dispensing of rat poison during pot cultivation is particularly insidious. It not only kills rats and other animals that eat it directly, but also kills predators that eat the poisoned animals such as mountain lions, bobcats, eagles and raptors, and even spotted owls. Then when rains wash the chemicals into streams, whatever is left gets killed. And of course people kill other people to get a share.

The Press Democrat, perhaps inspired by a letter I sent two weeks ago, published a front-page report this past Sunday: “Marijuana’s thirst depleting North Coast watersheds." My letter emphasized that pot uses as much California water in a day as fracking does in a year, and that pot puts huge quantities of dangerous chemicals into the environment compared to the small quantities of carefully controlled chemicals that fracking puts deep underground.  Naturally, liberal environmentalists adore pot and detest fracking. Go figure.

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