October 17, 2017

Bishop’s Bill, Not Yet Visible to Public, on Antiquities Act

Congressman Rob Bishop has introduced a bill, H.R. 3990, that, we are told, is intended to curb the authority of the sitting president to declare national monuments in a willy-nilly fashion. Will it? I don’t know. The bill has been introduced but the public has yet to be able to see any of the wording of the bill.

Below are press releases and statements made by others about the CAP Act.

Subcommittee Chairmen Respond to Antiquities Act Reform Legislation
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 10, 2017 –

Tomorrow, the Committee will markup H.R. 3990, the “National Monument Creation and Protection Act” or “CAP Act.” Introduced by Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), the bill protects archeological resources while ensuring public transparency and accountability in the executive’s use of the Antiquities Act.

“The Constitution gives to Congress alone the jurisdiction over public lands. While the executive should be able to move swiftly to protect small archeological sites from imminent threat of looting or desecration, the decision over whether to set aside vast portions of land in perpetuity should only be made after the lengthy debate, public input and accountability that are the unique attributes of the legislative branch,” Subcommittee on Federal Lands Chairman Tom McClintock (R-CA) said. 

“Our government works best when it works with the people it serves to accomplish objectives for the common good. For too long, our leaders have not adhered to these principles. The ‘National Monument Creation and Protection Act’ seeks to protect the public’s interests from executive overreach through collaboration with local stakeholders, comprehensive review of monument designations and congressional direction on any future presidential monument reductions. I thank Chairman Bishop for his leadership on this issue and look forward to passage of this important legislation,” Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) stated.

“When Teddy Roosevelt created the Antiquities Act, his intent was to set aside unique areas of land, not to cutoff millions of acres for the federal government to control that produces no revenue or benefit – all while hurting local governments. Through the years, the abuse of this power has snowballed to a point where President Obama designated more acreage during his Presidency than all other Presidents combined. This process unfairly eliminates local input altogether and severely limits the public’s access to hunting, fishing, and other recreational activities as well as reasonable resource development on their public lands. It is important that the decision to designate or expand national monuments is returned to Congress, where the local citizens and communities can have a say,” Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs Chairman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) said.

“This legislation secures a future for locally supported national monuments, checked executive authority, and empowered local governments. The original intent of the Act is upheld and strengthened with measures that bring us into the twenty-first century. I firmly believe this will provide the accountability we need when it comes to protecting our lands,” Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans Chairman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) stated.

“Regardless of political affiliation, presidents on either side of the aisle shouldn’t be able to create massive new national monuments by executive fiat without local public input. It is, after all, the people living near these national monuments that are most affected by their creation. Our nation’s public resources are best managed when the people that use those lands are intimately involved in the process. Chairman Bishop’s ‘National Monument Creation and Protection Act’ protects private property rights and empowers local stakeholders while also including important clarifying definitions that should have been included in the original law. I am grateful for his strong leadership on this issue and am proud to be a cosponsor,” Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Chairman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) said.

Bishop Statement on Antiquities Act Reform Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 10, 2017 –

On Monday, Chairman Bishop announced the introduction and markup of the H.R. 3990, the National Monument Creation and Protection Act (CAP Act). He released the following statement

“The 1906 Antiquities Act was originally intended as an executive tool to protect historical and archeological artifacts and structures under threat. Regrettably, this worthy goal has been manipulated for ulterior political purposes. Today the Act is too often used as an excuse for presidents to unilaterally lock up vast tracts of public land without any mechanism for people to provide input or voice concerns. This is wrong.  

“This legislation provides for accountability in the Act’s uses. It modernizes the law to restore its intent, allowing for the protection of actual antiquities without disenfranchisement of local voices and perspectives. It standardizes and limits the president’s power to reshape monuments.

“If my colleagues are serious about their calls for accountability under this Act – no matter which party controls the White House – they will support this bill.”

Committee Passes Legislation to Require Transparency, Public Input in Antiquities Act

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 11, 2017 –

Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R. 3990, the “National Monument Creation and Protection Act” or the “CAP Act.” Introduced by Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), the bill protects archeological resources while ensuring public transparency and accountability in the executive’s use of the Antiquities Act.

“Congress never intended to give one individual the power to unilaterally seize enormous swathes of our nation’s public lands… Our problem isn’t President Obama or President Trump. It’s the underlying law – a statute that provides authority to dictate national monument decisions in secrecy and without public input. The only path to the accountability we all seek – no matter which party controls the White House – is to amend the Act itself,” Bishop stated.

“Under this new, tiered framework, no longer would we have to blindly trust the judgement or fear the whims of any president. The bill ensures a reasonable degree of consultation with local stakeholders and an open public process would be required by law. It strengthens the president’s authority to protect actual antiquities without the threat of disenfranchising people.

“Ultimately, if enacted, it will strengthen the original intent of the law while also providing much needed accountability.”   

Click here to view Chairman Bishop’s full opening statement.
Click here to view full markup action.
Click here for more information on H.R. 3990.  

 

 

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Bills to Modernize Endangered Species Act Advance Through Committee

Press Release from the House Committee on Natural Resources:

*Editor’s Note* – It is highly recommended that readers take the time to read the full text of each proposed bill. Links are provided. A synopsis, as is provided, often only relays what the author wants readers to read and not what a bill actually says and does, or does not do.

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 4, 2017 –

Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed five bills to reform the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement:

The ESA is a landmark statute created with noble intent. It also includes fatal design flaws that inhibit greater success and handicap state-led, science-based recovery strategies. These flaws must be addressed and the law must be modernized. This slate of bills provides a framework for this discussion that we will build upon in coordination with the Senate, Trump administration, states and all interested stakeholders. I thank the bill sponsors for their work on these important pieces of legislation and look forward to our work ahead.”

H.R. 424 (Rep. Collin Peterson, D-MN), the “Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017,” reissues the final rules from the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to delist the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes region and maintains effective state wolf management in Wyoming. The bipartisan bill passed by a vote of 26-14.

H.R. 717 (Rep. Pete Olson, R-TX), the “Listing Reform Act,” allows for the consideration of economic factors in threatened listing decisions. It also provides flexibility to agencies’ prioritization in processing listing petitions, which relieves FWS from excessive litigation and allows more resources to be used for species conservation and recovery. It passed by a vote of 22-13.

H.R. 1274 (Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-WA), the “State, Tribal and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act,” fosters greater cooperation between the federal government and states by ensuring state, local and tribal scientific data is factored into ESA species listing decisions. The bill passed by a vote of 22-14.

H.R. 2603 (Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-TX), the “Saving America’s Endangered Species Act” or “SAVES Act,” removes duplicative permitting requirements for interstate movement of nonnative endangered species enhancing opportunities for conservation. The bipartisan “SAVES Act” passed by a vote of 23-16.

H.R. 3131 (Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-MI), the “Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act,” combats the recent proliferation of ESA-related litigation by capping attorneys’ fees to the same reasonable levels allowed for other types of citizen lawsuits against the government. It passed by a vote of 22-16.

Click here to view full markup action.

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The Left, The Right, Reality and Zinke’s Proposed Forest Management Practices

From the Left all we ever hear is “We’re all gonna die!” From the Right all we ever hear is “It’s about time we’re gonna get it right!” The reality is nothing ever changes. But, don’t go look. The Left/Right paradigm is fake but exists only in echoed rhetoric and that is exactly what we are seeing when Trump’s new Secretary of the Interior announced changes in forest management practices.

The West is burning up, as one report this morning stated. Forest fires are popping up everywhere and as is usually the case, the Left blames is on Global Warming, and the Right blames it on poor forest management practices that result in the creation of tinder boxes.

Another example of the emotional reactions of brainwashed and blinded people is that immediately fear mongering began about the possibility that a tree might now be cut on Maine’s new and mostly unwanted national monument, Katahdin Woods and Waters.

The Right claims that their intent is “a healthy forest through active timber management,” with never a definition of the intent – and that is for a reason. The Left threatens a lawsuit if Zinke tries to cut down one tree in Katahdin Woods and Waters.

St. Clair, the original owner’s son, who is now the front man, without having a clue what Zinke meant by changing forest management practices, said, “We didn’t donate this land to be used as a commercial timbering operation.”

And this is business as usual here in the U.S. of A. While nothing changes in the Federal Government, except that which the ruling establishment wants to change and Congress just does as they are told, a part of what never changes, which is the reason the Federal Government gets away with what they do, is that the Left and Right continue their reactions and responses in the usual manner. In this case, the Left says we’re all gonna die and the Right says it’s about time to get it right. And then it’s on to the next round of fake announcements and none of these mouthy people ever go back to examine exactly what took place.

I think James Beers, former member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says it quite well as to why nothing will change – except the emotional rhetoric that always accompanies false political announcement. The Left controls every aspect of government, as well as every non-governmental agency. Because of the infiltration and successful years of brainwashing and mind control throughout our indoctrination factories, even those, like Sec. Zinke, who, to the Left, appears to be a Rightist intent on destroying the forests, cannot help but do anything except what the Left desires – protect the forests and create the tinder boxes. Only politics calls for the political rhetoric to satisfy the voters of each perspective party.

Beers points out much the same when he says that the only way anything could change is through serious changes and/or repeals of certain draconian federal laws that prohibit change of any kind. And we know that will NEVER happen because it is not intended to happen. And so we keep on keeping on.

Beers writes in a recent email:

All of these above mentioned reasons for fuel accumulation and many, many other dwindling public land benefits that are slated for elimination by fiats, regulations and unjust law authorities granted federal bureaucrats in the past 40 to 50 years have a common taproot..  Past Administrations, their appointees and the bureaucrat “scientists” they have hired, all have this land closure and sustainable natural resource management elimination  as their ultimate goal.  Unless and until that “legal” (?) authorization for federal bureaucrats in federal laws like the ESA and Wilderness Act is either repealed or severely and specifically controlled in the specific federal laws authorizing such tyranny I don’t believe these somewhat generic and feel-good directives amount to anything.  The next Administration (look to all the Obama directives and letters, etc. on a wide variety of subjects) will simply issue their own directives (and probably in less than 9 months) and just drop the government truck into high gear and truck on down the road from where they left off on 19 January, 2017.

Because we cannot see, with each announced or “leaked” (that’s funny) change to anything, we will always keep hearing, we’re all gonna die, and it’s about time to get it right, but the truth is nothing ever changes, because “We the People” call all the shots and “we the people” have nothing to say about it – but we are trained to think we do.

Yep, somethings never change. Just more talk.

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Secretary Zinke signs Secretarial Order to Support Sportsmen & Enhance Wildlife Conservation

Order seeks to expand access on public and private lands and to promote hunting and fishing among youth, veterans, and minority communities

9/15/2017

Date: September 15, 2017
Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3356, which will support and expand hunting and fishing, enhance conservation stewardship, improve wildlife management, and increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans. Secretarial Order 3356 is an extension of Secretarial Order 3347, issued on Zinke’s first day, March 2, 2017. That order identified a slate of actions for the restoration of the American sportsmen conservation ethic, which was established by President Theodore Roosevelt.

The new order comes days after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a survey that found there are 2.2 million fewer hunters in America now than in 2011. The order seeks to improve wildlife management and conservation, increase access to public lands for hunting, shooting, and fishing, and puts a new and a greater emphasis on recruiting and retaining new sportsmen conservationists, with a focus on engaging youths, veterans, minorities, and other communities that traditionally have low participation in outdoor recreation activities.

“Hunting and fishing is a cornerstone of the American tradition and hunters and fishers of America are the backbone of land and wildlife conservation,” said Secretary Zinke. “The more people we can get outdoors, the better things will be for our public lands. As someone who grew up hunting and fishing on our public lands – packing bologna sandwiches and heading out at 4AM with my dad – I know how important it is to expand access to public lands for future generations. Some of my best memories are hunting deer or reeling in rainbow trout back home in Montana, and I think every American should be able to have that experience.

“Today’s Secretarial Order is the latest example of how the Trump Administration is actively moving to support hunting and other forms of outdoor recreation on public lands. This means finding ways to expand hunting and fishing on public lands, improving access, and taking necessary actions to facilitate the enjoyment of these time-honored activities by any member of our society.”

Secretarial Order 3356 directs bureaus within the department to:

  • Within 120 days produce a plan to expand access for hunting and fishing on BLM, USFWS and NPS land.
  • Amend national monument management plans to ensure the public’s right to hunt, fish and target shoot.
  • Expand educational outreach programs for underrepresented communities such as veterans, minorities, and youth.
  • In a manner that respects the rights and privacy of the owners of non-public lands, identify lands within their purview where access to Department lands, particularly access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and other forms of outdoor recreation, is currently limited (including areas of Department land that may be impractical or effectively impossible to access via public roads or trails under current conditions, but where there may be an opportunity to gain access through an easement, right-of-way, or acquisition), and provide a report detailing such lands to the Deputy Secretary.
  • Within 365 days, cooperate, coordinate, create, make available, and continuously update online a single “one stop” Department site database of available opportunities for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on Department lands.
  • Improve wildlife management through collaboration with state, Tribal,? territorial, and conservation partners.

“On behalf of the 5 million hunters, recreational shooters and members of the NRA, we commend Secretary Zinke for continuing to follow Teddy Roosevelt’s sportsman legacy by opening more land and water to hunting and target shooting,” said Chris Cox, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association. “In the past, management plans for federal lands have been put in place to ban hunting and shooting. Sportsmen and women can now breathe a sigh of relief that those days are over. This administration values access to public lands for sportsmen and we commend them for it.”

“For too long, sportsmen’s access to our federal lands has been restricted, with lost opportunity replacing the ability to enjoy many of our best outdoor spaces. This extension to Secretarial Order 3356 will go a long way to reversing that trend and help grow the next generation of hunters, fishermen, and recreational shooters,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “I appreciate this new order and am committed to working with Secretary Zinke and my colleagues to do everything we can to expand and enhance access to our federal lands for all Alaskans, and all Americans, so that we can continue our rich sportsmen’s heritage.”

“Restoring wildlife habitat and expanding opportunities for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation will help increase wildlife populations and connect millions of Americans with our nation’s natural treasures,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Secretary Zinke’s order demonstrates his commitment to collaborate closely with conservation organizations and state agencies to achieve these critical conservation outcomes. We look forward to working with the Secretary, the Department, and our conservation partners to recover America’s wildlife and connect every American with nature.”

“Secretary Zinke’s action today follows in the great tradition of President Teddy Roosevelt and recognizes the central role that hunters play in conservation and successful wildlife management,” said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “The National Shooting Sports Foundation is deeply grateful to Secretary Zinke for the historic Secretarial Order that he signed  today. NSSF has worked closely with, and in support of, Interior Department officials on these priorities and other positive steps announced today. Today’s action will serve to benefit current and future generations for years to come.”

“Americans depend on reliable and affordable access to public lands to participate in outdoor sporting and recreational activities,” said Chairman Rob Bishop. “Unfortunately, these lands are not being managed to facilitate consistent, open access. Today’s Secretarial Order to increase these opportunities strengthens the foundation of our country’s hunting and fishing heritage and helps ensure that sportsmen and women continue to enjoy access to our federal lands and waterways.”

“For many Americans, hunting and fishing wouldn’t be possible without public land and the access it provides for these pastimes. Secretarial Order 3356 represents a renewed commitment to working with our nation’s sportsmen and women to ensure that our legacy of hunting and fishing-driven conservation continues to stand the test of time,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “We applaud Secretary Zinke for recognizing the critically important role that expanded federal land access plays in achieving this goal.”

“We support Secretary Zinke’s order to expand opportunities for hunters and anglers on BLM, Fish and Wildlife Service and Park Service lands as well as on private lands,” said David Allen, President and CEO of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. “Access to quality wildlife habitat remains one of the most significant factors impacting hunting and fishing participation throughout the country. This order will help ensure sportsmen and women continue to have opportunities for quality recreational experiences on public lands and potentially private lands.”

“Generations of Idahoans, including me, have passed on their love of hunting, fishing, and shooting sports to their children and grandchildren,” said Senator James Risch, Co-Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. “I applaud Secretary Zinke’s quick action to protect those fundamental rights and expand access for sportsmen and women across the country.”

On his first day in office, Secretary Zinke reversed an order that would have banned lead ammo and tackle on National Wildlife Refuge lands, and he began the process of expanding hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands across the Department.

In August, the Secretary announced a proposal to expand hunting and fishing opportunities at 10 national wildlife refuges, and he announced the initial stages of a plan to acquire land to make the Bureau of Land Management Sabinoso Wilderness Area accessible for the first time ever to hunters, hikers, and wildlife watchers.

In addition, Secretary Zinke recently made recommendations to President Trump on 27 national monuments that call for changes to some that, while still protecting the land, would also protect and expand public access to that land for citizens who want to hunt, fish, and hike and experience the joy and beauty of these special places.

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Committee Passes Sportsmen’s Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 13, 2017 –

Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R. 3668, the “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2017” or “SHARE Act.” This bipartisan bill expands opportunities for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting; increases safety and hearing protection for sportsmen and women; and protects Second Amendment rights. Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement:   

“The SHARE Act removes bureaucratic roadblocks that inhibit Americans’ access to outdoor sporting activities on federal lands and reigns in federal encroachment on Second Amendment rights. Members also adopted important amendments that improve upon this package, including provisions to address cumbersome permitting processes for guides and outfitters, which will result in more jobs and more Americans recreating outdoors. I look forward to advancing this package through the House and working with our Senate colleagues on a final bill that can be signed into law.”  

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The Ethics of Baiting Deer….or Any Other Game Animal

Maine has recently passed a law prohibiting the “feeding” of deer from August 15th to December 15. This Act was supported by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), which should be no surprise as we know MDIFW has tried for years to ban the act of feeding deer at anytime.

However, the real issue, I think, is the prevention of “baiting” deer for the purpose of improving your chances of taking a deer during the archery, rifle or muzzleloader seasons.

In V. Paul Reynolds article this week, he says that in this debate about baiting deer, ethics should be part of the discussion. But ethics of any kind, can be a very sticky wicket.

Who decides what is ethical? For years I have written about ethics as it may apply to hunting and still believe, within the written laws, ethics is a personal perspective.

I support the baiting of bear for harvest purposes because there is a need to limit or reduce the growth of the black bear populations in Maine. It is my understanding that the MDIFW mostly sees the bear baiting issue much the same way. In short, it is a necessary management tool, even if it perceived by some as ugly. Without this tool, the alternative may be even uglier.

Because most of Maine has few deer and historically the state has never really been overrun with deer, the need to call for the implementation of baiting as a management tool to reduce numbers, has never been necessary and is definitely not needed today.

But this really has little to do with ethics. I’m not a bear hunter but I can clearly say that if I was, I would NOT bait – unless, of course, I was very, very hungry. I am a deer hunter and I would NOT bait deer for much the same reasons. I don’t necessarily object to those who choose to bait their game, where legal, but I personally would not care to implement baiting regardless of how, if any, doing so effects the odds of bagging game.

I have often read those who define ethics as, “what you do when nobody’s watching.” While this may be partially true, personal ethics goes beyond whether or not someone chooses to stay within the bounds of regulations. Short of legitimate regulations to guide the scientific management of game animals, it should NEVER be left up to Government to attempt legislating ethics. When you consider the corrupt and unethical existence of Government at all levels, surely one cannot seriously ask such an entity to make the decisions as to what is ethical and not ethical.

We have been brainwashed and manipulated into a totalitarian form of existence in which one of the greatest problems in today’s society is that “useful idiots,” i.e. the totalitarian sheep, believe it is their right and their duty of conquest to tell others how to live.

To what degree ethics should be discussed in this debate about baiting deer, would be a crap shoot and more than likely would only serve to create more problems. Within the laws of man, whether or not we agree with them, my personal ethics should remain as such…personal. If I strongly believe in my own ethical practices, perhaps, and I mean perhaps, I might share that philosophy with friends…if they care to know. Besides that, I mind my own business and expect that same respect in return.

Here is a link to the story of how Maine’s record Boone and Crockett buck was shot over a pile of “bait” – culled potatoes.

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Members Discuss Bill to Bring Much Needed Reforms to the Endangered Species Act

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 19, 2017 –

Today, the Full Committee held a legislative hearing on five bills, most of which have advanced with bipartisan support, to reform and improve the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The bills work to empower states, ensure data transparency, improve listing and delisting processes, and discourage costly litigation that diverts critical resources away from species recovery.

It is my hope that, in coordination with our colleagues in the Senate and this Administration, we can lay the foundation for ESA reform that creates better outcomes for both species and communities,” Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) said. “We can improve ESA if we build consensus to address existing failures and pursue targeted, common sense reforms.”

Signed into law in 1973, over 1,564 species have been listed under the ESA, but only 23 recovered species have been delisted, amounting to a one percent success rate.

H.R. 1274 (Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-WA), the “State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency Act,” fosters greater federal and state cooperation and data transparency in species designations. It also ensures on-the-ground data is factored into listing decisions.

These agencies too often overlook local conservation plans that are developed to ensure the protection of native species and habitat. These local efforts should not be disregarded,” Newhouse stated. “By providing states, tribes, and localities the data used to promulgate these proposed listings, an opportunity arises for local stakeholders to get involved and have their voices heard.”

H.R. 424 (Rep. Collin Peterson, D-MN), the bipartisan “Gray Wolf State Management Act,” delists gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes and returns them to State management. The bill also maintains state management of Wyoming’s wolves and relieves both regions of the possibility of further litigation.

A single judge, sitting in Washington D.C., that I would say had no clue about what’s going on in our part of the world, created a mess by somehow deciding that the wolf had not reestablished themselves in the entire range,” Peterson said. “This was all done in spite of scientific evidence by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that gray wolf populations recovered and thrived.

H.R. 717 (Rep. Pete Olson, R-TX), the “Listing Reform Act,” allows for the consideration of economic factors in listing decisions for threatened species and also provides more agency flexibility in the petition process to discourage excessive ESA litigation.

We need to protect our endangered species, but we need to do it in a smart way. Arbitrary deadlines do not help. Neither do sweeping listings that threaten the communities and landowners who have been on that land since before the time states like mine were created.” Olson stated. “We can update the law without endangering our legacy for the next generation.”

“The ESA is a powerful law that can be inflexible and costly, with far-reaching effects on local economies,” Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar said.

H.R. 2603 (Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-TX), the bipartisan “Saving America’s Endangered Species Act” or “SAVES Act,” removes duplicative permitting requirements for nonnative endangered species.

The inclusion of non-native species is out dated, overly burdensome, and in fact, works against the very intent of the ESA. Instead of promoting conservation of these international species, the redundant regulation hampers significant non-governmental resources in our country genuinely seeking to enhance conservation of non-native endangered species through captive breeding programs,” Vice Chairman Gohmert said. “Time and time again, in the modern world, we see well-intentioned legislation pit the federal government against the very private citizens who have a vested interest in the preservation of endangered species.”

H.R. 3131 (Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-MI), the “Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act,” caps attorneys’ fees in ESA cases and ensures that the fees are only awarded to prevailing parties. This measure would bring lawsuits under ESA in line with other types of citizen lawsuits against the government.

For too long litigating attorneys representing non-governmental entities have taken advantage of the Endangered Species Act raking in millions of dollars of taxpayer funded money. In many cases, attorney billing rates have climbed as high as 400, 500 even 750 dollars an hour with hardworking American taxpayers left footing the bill,” Rep. Huizenga stated. “These exorbitant payouts funded by the American taxpayer only impede efforts to achieve the common goal of protecting species and habitats.”

Click here to view full witness testimony.

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Maine Legislature Increases Ban on Feeding Deer

With discussion surrounding a bill that would allow baiting of deer, a really dumb idea for Maine, not only did the Maine legislative process nix the idea of baiting for deer, they extended the length of time when feeding deer is banned. At this rate, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will get their wish and will eventually get their all out ban on deer feeding pushed through.

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Maine Passes Bill That Unconstitutionally Targets Hunters and Fishermen

This is a tough one to address because I do not, in any way, shape or form, condone the destruction of anybody’s property, including “Posted” or “No Trespassing” signs.

LD 557, with amendments, has passed the Maine Legislature that, in summary, states: “The hunting and fishing
licenses of a person convicted of destroying, tearing down, defacing or otherwise damaging a property posting sign in violation of section 10652, subsection 1, paragraph B must be revoked, and that person is ineligible to obtain a hunting or fishing license for a period of one year from the date of conviction.”

There should be laws that protect a landowner from such destruction, and there probably are. Piling on to prove a point, while it might be a bit understandable, particularly to a frustrated land owner, cannot be justified by targeting a specific sector of the general public to punish that group for a law violation more than any other member of the public that is not part of the hunting and fishing community.

Even in testimony given in support of the law, a landowner states that he believes the majority of sign destruction comes from “hunters” shooting up his signs, but also admits destruction of his property, other than just signs, is being carried out by many different individuals and groups of individuals. Is it then constitutional to increase punishment on one group over others? I think not!

I’m not a lawyer but you don’t have to be a lawyer to understand that this law is not right. I am surprised that the Maine Legislature, the Governor, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and others supported this law and could not see that it violates the constitutional rights of licensed hunters and licensed fishermen.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for a dismissal of lawful punishment for the willful act of property destruction, protected by Maine law. However, in order to be justified in taking away the licences of hunters and fishermen for one year, then one must ask what is the punishment for the same kind of destruction that might be carried out by a snowmobiler, an ATVer, a hiker, a berry picker, etc.?

I believe the term that might apply to such an egregious violation of due process, can be found in Supreme Court cases that involve “unconstitutional animus.” If you Google that term, you can spend hours reading about what this term is and how it affects all of us. In brief, unconstitutional animus is a violation of equal protection under the law. In this case a hunter or fisherman, is not afforded the same due process and equal protection as someone else who might commit the same crime.

As a society we have been programmed to believe that the more draconian our laws are the more of a deterrent it is to prevent the crime in the first place. Whether that is true or not, I do not have the data to show one way or another. All drivers of automobiles that violate the law by speeding, are subject to the same set of laws and punishments. Would it be considered the right thing if hunters and fishermen were targeted for greater punishment because somebody believes them to speed more than other groups or individuals? This is what this new law allows.

This bill needs to be repealed and a different, constitutional approach taken in order to protect the rights of all people to ensure equal protection under the law, due process and to stop the obvious discrimination this law allows.

 

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SAM Claims High Road to Protect Second Amendment

They might claim that high road, but do they actually do what they say they are doing. According to SAM’s Facebook Page, “Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine-Leading through Action!”

On their list of achievements is the passage of LD 9 – “to Ban State of Government Agencies from Creating Gun Owner Registry.”

“An Act to Prohibit the Creation of a Firearm Owner Registry”, sponsored by Rep. Patrick Corey is now law. This quote from the last SAM News accurately sums up this important SAM bill, “The creation of a gun owner registry is the Holy Grail for gun control advocates, because all extreme gun control measures like semi-automatic bans, high capacity magazine bans, and other firearm confiscation schemes, require a database of firearm owners to enforce. Without the government knowing who owns what types of guns and where they are, there is no way to reduce the number of guns in private ownership.” (emphasis added)

Below is the text of LD 9 (also from SAM Facebook page)

Sec. 1. 25 MRSA §2014 is enacted to read:
§2014. Government firearm or firearm owner registry prohibited Notwithstanding and other provision of law to the contrary, a government agency of this State or a political subdivision of this State may not keep or cause to be kept a comprehensive registry of privately owned firearms and the owners of those firearms within its jurisdiction. (emphasis added)

SUMMARY

This amendment, which is the majority report of the committee, replaces the bill and provides that a government agency of the State or a political subdivision of the State may not keep or cause to be kept a comprehensive registry of privately owned firearms and the owners of those firearms within its jurisdiction.” (emphasis added)

We are programmed to automatically accept any effort by those claiming to be in support of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, passage of any law that claims to protect gun owners or ease the restrictions on gun ownership, we blindly accept as a good thing. It might be better…or the equivalent of being hung with a new rope, than continued chopping to bits our Second Amendment rights, but even if you keep cutting off pieces of a plank, a little here and a little there, eventually there’s no more plank and you free fall.

LD 9 is being hailed as a victory for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and gun owners because they say, as I highlighted above, The creation of a gun owner registry is the Holy Grail for gun control advocates, because all extreme gun control measures like semi-automatic bans, high capacity magazine bans, and other firearm confiscation schemes, require a database of firearm owners to enforce. Without the government knowing who owns what types of guns and where they are, there is no way to reduce the number of guns in private ownership.”

This Bill, LD 9, is being flaunted as a bill that will prohibit the “comprehensive registry” of all firearms, and that without such a registry, governments and non governmental agencies cannot confiscate guns because they won’t know where to find them.

The first question I might ask is this: What will be the state of things in this country WHEN the U.S. Government goes about confiscating our firearms? Will following the rule of law any longer exist?

I thought so.

A federal firearms dealer is required to “register” every gun he sells and keep a record. As I understand LD 9, now a licensed firearms dealer will have to make a second copy of that registration, mark it “State Copy” and make it available to any government, law enforcement or prosecuting attorney upon demand. That’s some protection of a gun owner from that registry created at the point of sale. (Note: It was brought to my attention, and correctly so, that current law requires the “State Copy” to be kept on file. LD 9 eliminates the “State Copy” and thus the only “registration” of the purchase of your gun is the one created by the federally licensed gun dealer. Also understand that this registration is still a registration and can and will be accessed when the governments so desire.)

LD 9 prohibits the creation of a “comprehensive registry” (whatever lawyer wants to define that one for us). Comprehensive, in the context used (I’m guessing), means complete. Please define “complete.” Who gets to decide? We are not told that and this is the kind of crap sandwich we are fed by lawyers. They craft laws for themselves not for you and I.

So, if it is now unlawful for the Government to “keep or cause to be kept” a “comprehensive” gun registry, does that mean if they leave off the registration, say your sexual preference, does that now make the registry “uncomprehensive” and thus can be used by governments and law enforcement when it comes time to confiscate your REGISTERED guns that you REGISTERED when you purchased your guns from a licensed dealer.

Stop kidding yourselves! The Second Amendment is the only item in the Bill of Rights that we, not only give away, but do so gladly and all the while believing we are doing the “reasonable” thing.

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