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USA Today Letters to the Editor "Tree Preservation Laws Branching out Too Far"

Steve Houser's Letter to the Editor of USA Today expressed his frustration with their recent article concerning tree preservation laws going too far.

Published September 23, 1996 By STEVE HOUSER



Regarding Sterling Burnetts' article entitled "Tree Preservation Laws Branching Out Too Far: obviously, Mr. Burnett feels Washington knows better than local citizens what they need. He mentions land owners right to do as they wish when local state and national government already control a multitude of do's and don't's in private property rights. When building a house, most parameters are dictated by local ordinances. These restrict how, when, and where development is allowed. A tree ordinance is merely an addition which is viewed as terrible? GIVE ME A BREAK!!!! Have you seen the amount of control local ordinances have over development? Do your homework!!! The ordinances are only a small part of the many regulations. Besides, these were enacted because the local citizens wanted them, not because Washington dictated it.

True, some ordinances are poorly divised, however, because these ordinances have only recently been developed, there is a learning curve to overcome so the problems can be addressed and changed. Sounds responsive to the local public to me, and not an infringement on property rights, but an improvement due to citizen input. 

Yes, there are more trees now than before, but there is also a drastic increase in heat islands (from concrete, brick and parking lots), air pollutants, ozone, and etc. If there are more trees now it is apparently not enough to offset the many problems caused by development. Besides, when you look out the window, would you rather view concrete, brick or green foliage? There is more to development than an increased tax base. Somebody has to live in these developments!!! Tree ordinances increase the viability of a development and help to blend man-made structures with nature.

Do you actually believe non-coercive means can be used to preserve trees? What dream world do you live in? Granted that a few conscientious people will respond to non-coercive means, but these are by far in the minority. Haven't you read about the "salvage scandal killing our national forests"? Local forest issues are no different in that big money and politics will wipe your "non-coercive means" right off the map!!!

Again, if you had done your homework, you would have found that most cities offer tax incentives for tree planting and preservation, but then again, your article would not have been as interesting if it was based on ALL the facts.

Steve Houser

About the author

Mr. Steve Houser

Mr. Houser is a Dallas native with almost 40 years of experience as a consulting arborist and expert tree climber. He is the president and owner of Arborilogical Services, “The Experts Your Trees Deserve.”®

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