Despite all the dire moonbat predictions, global warming has turned out to be the gift that keeps on giving. Not only have we been finally able to tell those lazy ingrates we've been feeding to grow their own damn corn, but we've also received a clean, renewable energy supply in nuclear power. And just when you thought it couldn't get any sweeter, along comes Mother Nature to throw plenty of cheap lumber into the deal:
As lodgepole pines by the millions topple in the West, a crop of entrepreneurs is sprouting to figure out what to do with their remains. The bark-beetle plague has injected new life into struggling sawmills and timber towns. People like Piper are selling the wood as a designer material. Others are transforming the downed trees into fuel pellets that can heat buildings.Another benefit: After al-Qaida set the 2003 forest fires, my doctor put me on performance-enhancing inhalable steroids for a lung irritation for two weeks. If that happens to enough kids, we've got our next crop of professional athletes. Praise Him!
"It brings a tear to your eye if you've grown up here or live here," Mark Mathis, chief executive officer of Confluence Energy in Kremmling, which is building a fuel-pellet mill, said of the beetles' destruction. "But at least we're trying to do something constructive."
Tiny bark beetles used to inhabit the few forests above 10,500 feet in elevation, but in recent years they have been venturing lower.
Although beetle-killed trees helped feed fires in Southern California over the last several years, the infestation is strongest in the interior West. In Colorado last year, 650,000 acres of national forest were infected, compared with 250,000 in 2005.
One reason the insects seem to be thriving is global warming. Many of the larvae that beetles deposit in trees used to die during the depths of winter, but milder temperatures have allowed them to stay in forests year-round.