ESA: A Clearing of the Air

 

 

(Note: This is a two-in-one and is of vital importance that the reader read -- and thoughtfully consider -- both parts. The future of all our property rights and freedom -- and that of resource providing in America by those who own and responsibly utilize their own lands and resources -- is at stake. My reply to Leo Schwartz' letter may be found below. Before you consider supporting any form of ESA or ESA 'reform' -- please read and consider what it will mean to you.)

 

 

July 12, 2005

 

 

www.americanpolicy.org

 

From the American Policy Center

Tom DeWeese, President

50A South Third St. , Suite 2

Warrenton , VA 20186

540-341-8911

Fax: 540-341-8917

apcmail@americanpolicy.org

                       

 

Due to recent confusion and half-truths concerning the coming effort to reauthorize Endangered

 

Species Act, the American Policy Center feels it is time to clear the air a bit. 

 

Some of our frequent allies on property rights are playing word games with grassroots property

 

rights advocates -- in hopes of deceiving them into supporting what appears to be a bad bill.

 

They refer to themselves as compromisers, winners, and realists who just want to work within

 

the political system to accomplish what is “doable” on the Endangered Species Act. They say

 

they have nothing but the best intentions. That they only want to do what is best for landowners.

 

That it is 'now or never' if we're going to reform the ESA. That everyone should follow them,

 

because it’s better to get some than none at all.

 

Anyone who disagrees with them is labeled an “extremist,” or a “purist.” In other words, if you

 

believe that the government has no right to steal your property because it harbors a spotted owl

 

or a snail darter -- and you fight for that belief and make your voice heard -- you are nothing but

 

a malcontent. A doe-eyed optimist. Or maybe just a dumb hick who “doesn't understand how

 

Washington works.”

 

Unfortunately these self-described compromisers and realists do not have the interests of property

 

rights advocates at heart. They are working as merely an extension of a congressional office and

 

powerful industry lobbyists. As such, it seems their goal is not to protect property rights with regard

 

to the ESA. Rather, their goal is to shepherd property rights advocates down a path to nowhere -- all

 

the while reassuring everyone that there is partial salvation at the end of the road. Amazingly, they

 

compare themselves to great liberators.  In truth, they are behaving more like wolves in sheep’s clothing.

 

The details of a long-anticipated ESA reform bill have now been made public in the press and by

 

various political interests. These details come directly from Congressman Richard Pombo’s office.

 

If the details are accurate -- and most folks (including those who are championing the bill) agree

 

that they are accurate -- then true property rights advocates have nothing to cheer, and plenty to lament.

 

For one, the bill pretends to offer landowners partial compensation when their property rights are

 

taken under the ESA. 

 

The bill says that property owners may only seek compensation for the taking of private property if at

 

least 50 percent of the property is taken. 

 

This means that if the government deems that only 49.9 percent of your property was taken, you get nothing. 

 

Can you make do with half of your property?

 

Moreover, this 50 percent threshold is only the STARTING point. It is just the initial offering. As those who

 

have been around Washington awhile know, once the fighting begins over this bill, and once the greens

 

start their multi-million dollar assault, this already meager 50 percent threshold will almost certainly be

 

whittled down to nothing. 50 percent would be a bad compromise, yet some want to offer it as a strong

 

starting point.  It is most certainly not.

 

But even those who have at least 50 percent of their property stolen by the government will likely never

 

receive compensation anyway. Why? Because the bill reportedly does nothing to fix the issue of

 

“ripeness.” Once your land is taken, you still have to file an “incidental take” permit -- and it can take years

 

before you get any response.  In the meantime, you've lost the use of your land for all those years. When

 

your permit is finally rejected, if you still have anything left, you can now go to court -- and begin that long,

 

drawn-out, expensive process. This has been the major problem with the ESA, yet nothing is being done

 

about it.

 

And then there is the dreaded "invasive species" provision. 

 

According to the details, the bill creates a new authority within the Endangered Species Act to regulate

 

invasive species! 

 

Unbelievable. Invasive species are any plants or animals that are not native to a particular area. For example:

 

Kentucky bluegrass on golf courses and English ivy on lawns. 

 

The radical greens have wanted "invasive species" regulation for years because they know it is the key to

 

eventually having the power to regulate and control virtually every square inch of land in America -- under

 

this so-called new and improved ESA, the greens will have this power. 

 

Property rights advocates have been fighting the "invasive species" nightmare tooth-and-nail for years.

 

And now our so-called property rights allies are trying to sell this as a win for landowners? The absurdity

 

of it all is beyond comprehension.

 

Here is the bottom line. 

 

If you support the repeal of the Endangered Species Act, this bill is not for you.

Reauthorizing the ESA now will take the repeal issue off the table for at least ten years, perhaps for a

 

generation. 

 

If you support full property rights protections within the Endangered Species Act, this bill is not for you. From

 

what we've seen so far, this bill is all smoke and mirrors and no real property rights protections. Don't be

 

fooled.

 

If you support partial property rights protections within the Endangered Species Act, this bill is not for you.

 

Again, from what we've seen thus far, takings will continue unabated and will likely even increase due to

 

the "invasive species" language.

 

But -- If you support business as usual with the Endangered Species Act -- by all means, this bill is for you.

 

Of course, we hope that what we've seen so far in the press and from Congress is not actually

 

representative of the bill itself. We hope that when the actual ESA “reform” bill is introduced it doesn't

 

have all the major deficiencies mentioned above. However, we've been given no reason to be optimistic.

 

So we must prepare for the worst -- and make certain that our loyal supporters are prepared.

 

Our job is to tell the truth and fight the battle for property rights as it must be fought -- straight on.

 

In light of the horrendous Supreme Court ruling on Kelo v. New London , we simply cannot afford another

 

devastating sellout on property rights.

 

Stay tuned, but in the meantime, see the Action to Take below.


* Action to Take *

 

Call your Representative at 877-762-8762 [toll-free] or 202-225-3121 and urge him or her not to

 

support any ESA reauthorization bill that doesn't fully protect property rights100 percent. Tell him or her

 

that the ESA ought to be repealed, not strengthened. Explain that it would be a serious, serious mistake

 

to reauthorize the ESA without fully bringing the bill in line with the U.S. Constitution. No half measures.

 

No invasive species nightmares.  No smoke and mirror property rights language. Call TODAY,

 

THIS WEEK, AND NEXT WEEK.

 

***PLEASE SEND THIS URGENT ALERT TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE***

 

=====

 

Is the American Land Rights Association Endangering Humans?

 

----- Original Message -----

To: VLRC Undisclosed Recipients;ccushman@landrights.org;resources.committee@mail.house.gov

Sent: 7/15/2005 10:19:42 AM

Subject: Is the American Land Rights Association Endangering Humans?

 

Is the American Land Rights Association Endangering Humans?

 

Mr. Chuck Cushman                                                                                                    July 14, 2005
American Land Rights Association
30218 N.E. 82nd Ave., PO Box 400,
Battle Ground, WA 98604
(360) 687-3087
ccushman@landrights.org
http://www.landrights.org
 
Dear Mr. Cushman:
 
            This is an open reply to your recent commentary/action alert, 7/11/2005, on Congressman Pombo’s Endangered Species Act improvement efforts.
Many involved in efforts to protect Property Rights have supported work you have done in the past. But your current crusade for Mr. Pombo’s bill to “update, improve and strengthen” the ESA undermines years of work by Property Rights advocates nationwide.
At a critical time when momentum was building to kill the un-Constitutional ESA, you have led or joined an alliance which has effectively compromised away years of effort by many dedicated people. It appears to me the net effect has been to splinter, dishearten and cause dissension in our ranks. I believe your position has also had the effect of misleading countless numbers of American property owners who have been hoping for relief from the tyranny of the ESA. In my mind, your efforts are a wrong of great magnitude, inflicting damage and wounds which may never heal.
I do not know you personally. I have only spoken with you by phone a few times. Therefore I can not speak to your motives. But I feel many of your statements, below in italics, have no basis in logic or fact. Your position has played a critical role in strengthening a very clever disinformation campaign by radical environmentalists. They and their media partners have repeatedly and strongly attacked Mr. Pombo and his ESA revisions knowing full well their diversionary attacks would rally support from the “conservative” faithful for an “improved” ESA. I believe that is exactly what the environmentalists want: a new, “improved” ESA with which they will be able to continue their assault on our Rights. With your help, they may get it.
I am limited in my ability to comment by the fact there is no final bill before the American people. But all preliminary indications lead me to believe the final draft will prove to be an even more monstrous and complex assault on our Rights than what we have now. Yet you support “the Pombo Bill” which, presumably, none of us have seen or have studied. It appears to me common sense would, at the very least, dictate great caution until we have a bill before us. Your support for a non-existent bill raises the question of whether you have inside, privileged information which has not been shared with the public, and why it has not been shared.
It may be you are basing your comments on a secretive “Staff Discussion Draft” which has surfaced within the past few days on a Google search. http://www.thecre.com/ If this is the case, have you been allowed to review it? If so, why have you been privy to it and not the rest of us? It seems the radical environmentalists have also studied the Draft. There may be good reason for Mr. Pombo to keep such a Discussion Draft confidential pending final revision. Apparently there has been a leak. If that is the case, and if you and the enviros have indeed reviewed it, it appears to me you have done none of us any favors. Just who is working with whom behind the scenes?
The ESA was never truly intended to recover species. It is a federal land control act, pure and simple. I am quite sure you are familiar with the national and international agenda and the history which led to the original legislation. The bill has done exactly what was intended: it has advanced the goals of a global, collectivist power structure. Contrary to your assertion, it is not a failure. The failure has been the failure of Americans to understand and recognize the fraud perpetrated by the federal government in collusion with a UN collectivist elite who seek control of American private land and resources. The failure has been a failure of certain Property Rights advocates and members of congress to stand firm for repeal.
A few of our well-meaning allies…feel his bill does not go far enough. They're demanding their complete agenda…or nothing. Our ultimate goals are virtually identical. But our purist friends are insisting on everything.
My alliance is with the principles of our Constitution, not with organizations, politicians or individuals except insofar as they support our fundamental Law. That is my agenda. I see no federal authority for the ESA in that Document. Our goals, yours and mine, can not possibly be virtually identical on this issue. In fact, it seems to me they are diametrically opposed. I do not insist on everything, just compliance with our Law. Is that too much to ask?
You cannot always say no. You have to be for something instead of against everything. And you have to trust somebody in Congress once in a while… We believe in Chairman Richard Pombo. We support him. He has a wonderful property rights record going back his entire career. He is trustworthy and a team player. He is well respected by the rest of Congress on both sides of the isle.
When necessary, I will and do say “no.” Saying no to a deception is taking a stand for something: truth. And, if we would adhere to the frequent admonitions of our Founders, we would never trust any man elected to office, no matter how well-meaning and honest, but would bind him down with the chains of the Constitution—not once in a while, but always. The last thing I want in an elected official is a team player who is working with the opposing team, even if well-intentioned. You claim Chairman Pombo has been an outspoken advocate for Property Rights and has a wonderful record. Unfortunately, his record does not fully support your claim. He, along with others who generally support Property Rights, has been on the wrong side of a number of issues, such as his recent advocacy for federally subsidized wind energy. That, too, is a   Property Rights issue, one of the biggest federal scams on American taxpayers and electric ratepayers. You should know words are cheap, especially in Washington. Actions are what count.
The Pombo Bill will save a lot of landowners.
This is pure conjecture unsupported by fact, logic or historical precedent.
What if Schindler of Schindler’s List had said that since he could not save all the Jews from Hitler, he wouldn't save any Jews from Hitler?
What if? Schindler, one man, did all he could do, without question. If my memory is correct, he spent every penny he had to save 1200 humans and, in the end, died a pauper. Your speculative remark is an insult to intelligent people.
I hope you will reconsider your position. I hope you will do everything within your power to convince Mr. Pombo to rethink his, to realize this is a no-compromise issue. I hope you will persuade him to reaffirm his Oath of Office by working to repeal the ESA. America can not afford another extension of the ESA. Time is running short on our Liberties.
You must decide where you fall on these issues.
I prefer to take a stand for what is right and I hope you will also.

Sincerely,
L. M. Schwartz, Chairman
The Virginia Land Rights Coalition
POB 85
McDowell, Virginia FOC 24458
540-396-6217  

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Action Alert--Wall St Journal On Pombo Endangered Species Effort American Land Rights Association

 

The House Resources Committee is holding a hearing on the ESA on Tuesday, July 19th. Efforts to update and modernize the ESA face possible make-or-break legislative action in Congress sometime after July 19th. Things are really moving fast on ESA in Congress. It’s important for you to call, fax and e-mail your Representative to let him know you want the Endangered Species Act updated and modernized so that it actually recovers species while protecting private property, communities and jobs. This is the best chance you are going to have, perhaps for decades. A few of our well-meaning allies are actually fighting the bill soon to be offered by Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), Chairman of the House Resources Committee. They're also attacking Chairman Pombo. They feel his bill does not go far enough. They're demanding their complete agenda . . . or nothing. Our ultimate goals are virtually identical. But our purist friends are insisting on everything. Some have even issued what amounts to ultimatums to Chairman Pombo, Committee staff and others. Those tactics never work in Congress. They will get them and you nothing. Our view is simple. We save landowners. We don't just talk about it. We don't just hold conferences about it. We don't just write papers about it.   We don't just send out press releases. We get between the government and landowners and stop condemnations, eminent domain, takings, and over regulation. We've even stopped forclosures [sic] instigated by the government. We try to stop bad legislation and pass good legislation. We've been doing it for 33 years and our success rate is very high. Unlike some groups, we've actually helped pass legislation. You cannot always say no.  You have to be for something instead of against everything. And you have to trust somebody in Congress once in a while. Pombo’s bill isn't perfect. I doubt if any bill that has passed Congress has ever been perfect in the eyes of its supporters. There is always give and take in Congress. But we want to save landowners. The Pombo Bill will save a lot of landowners. Will it save all landowners? No. Do we wish it would do more? Yes. But insisting on everything in the perfect bill dooms the Pombo bill to failure. It would never pass Congress. That saves no landowners…or Federal land users, or communities. We would rather have part of something than all of nothing. What if Schindler of Schindler’s List had said that since he could not save all the Jews from Hitler, he wouldn't save any Jews from Hitler? What do we say to all the landowners, families and businesses who could have been saved by the Pombo ESA Bill if it were to fail because we insisted on getting everything and got nothing? We save landowners. The Pombo Bill saves landowners. The environmental groups have been successful at passing their agenda because they've been willing to accept a partial win and come back for more. They are successful at passing their agenda incrementally over time. We could do well to learn from them and follow that method. There really is no choice if we want to be successful. We believe in Chairman Richard Pombo. We support him. He has a wonderful property rights record going back his entire career. He is trustworthy and a team player. He is well respected by the rest of Congress on both sides of the isle. The ESA has failed to do its job for 31 years. Only 10 species out of 1300 have been recovered by the ESA, and even those 10 claims are dubious. The Pombo Bill will go a long way to recognizing the failures of the ESA. Its language learns from the mistakes of the past so the ESA can be updated and modernized to actually recover species while protecting landowners, Federal land users, communities and more.> You must decide where you fall on these issues. L. M. Schwartz, Chairman POB 85 McDowell, Virginia FOC 24458 540-396-6217 "Working to Protect the Rights of Virginia's Property Owners" Visit our website at http://www.vlrc.org Leo, I'm finding it sadly funny that my own gut feelings about this issue -- and its players, who support this abomination 'reform' -- are being found to be correct. Those "we's" that are being bandied about are suggesting that we choose which rope will be used to hang us -- as though it's our only choice, which it is most certainly NOT. The ESA has no place in a Constitutional Republic. It was never meant to 'save' anything, but rather to take and take and take until America had no more resource providers who owned their own lands, no more ability to be resourceful and self-reliant. Those terms are synonyms for sustainability, but those utilizing Language Deception for their own means have sought to use 'sustainable' and other terms to make Americans think they are safe. The ESA -- and its 'reform' version -- use such deception with the full intent of taking what's left of America's ability to own property and use that property wisely. How can anyone cognizantly support such 'legislative imprisonment'? Thank you, Leo, for your excellent letter of concern; I am relieved to see a few brave souls join me in recognizing the Red Flags and warning others of them. The generalized marginalization and attempts to discredit those of us who truly care about people and everyone's property rights and freedoms -- not just their own -- is pitiful holds as much water as a sieve. Thank God for moxie! We may not be on or near the top of many popularity lists, but that is not what we stand for. I'd rather be shunned by the popular and keep on helping the little guys -- like the Jesse Hardys -- than be the darling of the Beltway crowd. My allergy to Congress stems not from my being 'against everything,' but from my studying the ways in which most elected officials have EARNED the distrust with which I view them. No one said they had to emulate a kid in a candy store, unsupervised, and get sick from the excess of sugar available at every turn. This is life, and having scruples and principles that are not for sale at any price means not seeking popularity, but seeking instead the ways of America's Constitutional Republic and founding principles. Statesmen are rare for a reason. Few have standards that high. John Bricker comes quickly to mind. James A. Garfield may well have been another. Aiming that high in one's own standards means that many will seek to discredit and bring discomfiture to one's doorway. "I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." - Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 1802. Leo, you and I -- and a growing number of others -- are not Mr. Cushman's "well-meaning allies." We are allies of freedom and property rights, period. 

 

Julie Kay Smithson 

www.PropertyRightsResearch.org  

propertyrights@earthlink.net