A Clearing of the Air
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
Due to recent confusion and half-truths concerning the coming effort to reauthorize Endangered
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,
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
malcontent. A doe-eyed optimist. Or maybe just a dumb hick who
“doesn't understand how
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
themselves to great liberators.
In truth, they are behaving more like wolves in
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
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
under the ESA.
The bill says that property owners may only seek compensation for the taking of private property if at
50 percent of the property is taken.
means that if the government deems that only 49.9 percent of your
property was taken, you get nothing.
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
point. It is most
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
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
Unbelievable. Invasive species are any plants or animals that are not native to a particular area. For example:
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
having the power to regulate and control virtually every square inch
of land in
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
it all is beyond comprehension.
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
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
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
"invasive species" language.
-- 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.
we must prepare for the worst -- and make certain that our loyal
supporters are prepared.
job is to tell the truth and fight the battle for property rights as
it must be fought -- straight on.
light of the horrendous Supreme Court ruling on Kelo v.
sellout on property rights.
tuned, but in the meantime, see the Action to Take below.
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,
WEEK, AND NEXT WEEK.
SEND THIS URGENT ALERT TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE***
the American Land Rights Association Endangering Humans?
Original Message -----
7/15/2005 10:19:42 AM
Is the American Land Rights Association Endangering Humans?
the American Land Rights Association Endangering Humans?
July 14, 2005
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