Q&A: Johnson calls criticism of his forestry hearing ‘absurd’

By Seth Tupper
South Dakata Searchlight
April 6, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Dusty Johnson resents the implication that he’s looking out for the timber industry at the expense of the Black Hills National Forest. “The idea that anyone in government wants to allow the timber industry to cut what they want to cut is absurd,” Johnson told South Dakota Searchlight. “I think it does a tremendous disrespect to this process.” Johnson, a Republican who is South Dakota’s lone U.S. representative, disliked a recent commentary written by retired U.S. Forest Service employee Dave Mertz and published by Searchlight. Mertz wrote the commentary in response to Johnson’s March 2 forestry roundtable discussion in Spearfish. “Repeatedly,” Mertz wrote, “panelists stated what the timber industry needs. Never was there any concern for what level of timber harvesting the forest needs.” …The researchers said wildfires and a mountain pine beetle epidemic drastically reduced the number of trees suitable for logging.

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