A guest post by James Beers:
By passing The Endangered Species Act (ESA) Congress and the President (Nixon) did two things.
First they catered to the 5-year orgy of environmental hyperbole (much like the current global warming/cooling/climate change extravaganzas) that generated political support and energized the radical environmentalism and animal rights’ organizations and their agendas during the turbulence of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
Second, Congress and the President, cleverly like Pontius Pilate washing his hands after sentencing Jesus, gave the responsibility and authority for whatever happened to federal bureaucracies, especially the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the “scientists” they would employ to justify the past 40 years of:
- Taking private property without compensation.
- Shrinking the timber, ranching, and farming economic sectors.
- Shrinking Local governments, their jurisdictional authority; and their revenue sources from shrinking rural economies.
- Stopping road projects and demanding the removal of dams used for power and irrigation.
- Subverting any State authority and jurisdiction over any plant or animal UNIT concocted by federal bureaucrats and their radical supporters to impede rural American prosperity and the “general Welfare” (per the Constitution) of rural communities and the rural families that compose them.
- The unjustified and unauthorized creation by bureaucrats of evil (the right word) “powers” to leap from saving “endangered” animals to a federal mission to “restore” the (imagined) “native ecosystem”; and the never-ending thread of absolute authority that even after “returning management of Listed endangered ‘species’ to the state” federal bureaucrats can set mandated conditions (that must be met at State and Local expense) or federal authority will be re-instituted by force.
- Creating Federal bureaucratic discretionary power to justify the elimination of highly desirable “non-native” or “out-of-(i.e. “native”)place plants and animals; steadily eliminate the management and use of renewable natural resources on and near Federally-controlled lands; and the unquestioned power to introduce and protect, or eliminate plants and animals at locations that serve other agendas from political pandering to current power structures to hidden agendas to achieve other goals from closing access and stopping new developments to further restriction of stressed rural communities that are subsequently purchased or eased with federal tax dollars.
- Inventing all manner of self-serving “science” from regulatory (yet legally-binding) concepts like “Distinct population segments” to arbitrary establishment of DNA definitions for Species, Subspecies, etc. distinctions that serve current and future bureaucratic agendas.
- Establishing an aura of “science says” that befuddles any honest judge and trumps any hope for an appeal by a citizen “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” as guaranteed in the 5th Amendment.
I often remark in talks I give and in what I write that the ESA must be repealed or at a minimum drastically amended. Aside from snickers and smiles this recommendation is frequently used to demean what else I say as the ravings of an idiot. When I was asked by a young lady reporter a few months ago if I thought the ESA did any good at all, I was taken aback and after a minute or so I had to admit that I saw no good from the ESA in the past 40 years that could not have been achieved with far less harmful consequences without the ESA.
So what does “American life without the ESA” mean? I have taken this tack, no doubt, after reflecting on the movie “America” that my wife and I saw last week. While one, i.e. “life without America”, would be a great sadness and loss to the entire world: the other, i.e. “American life without the ESA” would be a great boon to all Americans by restoring the rule of law to invigorating the national economy by putting rural Americans back in charge of their own destinies and the natural resources that abound all around them.
WITHOUT the ESA:
- Citizens concerned about a certain fish or a bird would have access to the US Congress to seek some remedy. They could make their case and request funding or a new law within the confines of Section 8 of the US Constitution that defines the “Power” the “Congress shall have”.
- Any such proposed law or funding would be subject to review and a vote in the House and in the Senate, as well as concurrence (Veto Power) by the President.
- The review of such a proposal involves a PUBLIC Hearing including statements by the proposers, comments by bureaucrats, and the pros and cons of supporters and opponents. Unlike the rigged “public hearings” sponsored and conducted by bureaucrats (like the old Soviet “show trials”) of the past 40 years that simply rubber-stamp bureaucratic ESA plans; such public hearings before Congress give Americans a fair chance before-the-fact to expose, question, and either modify or defeat the sort of hidden ESA chicanery of the past 40 years.
Consider how such public Congressional Hearings might allow for those being targeted to address Congress and the sort of questions an honest Congressman or Senator might be briefed to ask:
- “What is the position of the State government?”
- “Who will pay for this after this federal subsidy ends in X years?”
- “What effect will this have on Local government authority and revenue?”
- “Do you have any statements of support from the affected Local governments? Why not?”
- “What is the estimate of the increased danger to humans posed by these animals?”
- “What will be the effect on ranchers and farmers? What will their costs be?”
- What effect will this have on disease transmissions to humans, livestock and dogs?”
- “Who will pay for the resulting damages?”
- “How will landowners and animal owners be compensated for reduced land values and other losses of their property?”
- “How will lost power generation or lost irrigation capacity be replaced?”
- “How will lost revenues to State and Local government be mitigated?”
- “What is the Cost/Benefit Ratio for the closure of this area and these natural resource uses versus the claimed perpetual increase in animal X?”
- “Where are the statements of Veterinarians and Agriculturalists about how these proposals will modify animal and plant health and communities?”
- “How do you propose to maintain hunting and fishing revenues and programs with this project in place and considering the necessary diversion of state fish and wildlife program funds?”
- “What is the position of Rocky Mtn. Elk, or National Cattlemen’s Assoc., or Southern Timber Owners Assoc., or Pheasants Forever, or United Great Lakes Fishermen, or the residents of Timbuktu who will see their roads closed and economies hard hit?”
- “What studies confirm that this project is necessary and that this recommendation will work? What if it does not work as stated? What are the other alternatives?”
- “Under what authority can you assign a federal responsibility like livestock loss compensation to a private organization like Defenders of Wildlife who is a supporter of this bill?”
- “Where, in Federal Statutes, is there authority for the federal government to restore the native ecosystem everywhere despite opposition from state governments, Local governments, private property owners, and/or rural American residents?”
- “Why do you propose we compensate livestock owners for losses but not dog owners?”
- “If we pass this proposal and some people are killed by these animals next year or several years down the road, are we liable for placing them there? If not; why not?”
- Why does access to or recreational use of these public lands need to be restricted in conjunction with this proposal?”
- “Are you seriously requesting that we devastate the (logging, farming, ranching, power) industry and the rural American communities they support because you cannot think of any other way to maintain this (owl, smelt, wolf, bear, darter, bat, etc.)? We need people that tell us how this animal can be maintained in OUR community: not how WE must be managed to exist in theirs.”
I could go on here for pages but you get the point. Yes it would be difficult for concerned citizens and time-consuming for Congress (if they entertained much of it). Yes the vaunted bureaucrat/biologists and their fellow-“scientists” would once again serve US and not the other way around. If something is REALLY and DEMONSTRABLY important Congress could baby it along and reap the grateful votes of supporters and a solution tested by open discourse and opposition would sink or swim on its’ own.
It’s the American Way!
26 July 2014
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Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.
Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting. You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to: email@example.com