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Hold tight the reins

By Henry Lamb
web posted August 5, 2002

"When in the course of human events...," government gets too uppity, the people have to jerk the reins, hold tight, and bring the wayward creature under control.

During the Clinton/Gore era, agencies of our federal government were infiltrated by former executives and operatives from some of our most extreme environmental organizations. Bruce Babbitt, former head of the League of Conservation Voters, took control of the Department of Interior, and promptly hired Reed F. Noss as a special consultant.

Reed F. Noss

Noss is the primary author of the Wildlands Project, the extremist's plan to transform "at least half" of the U.S. land area to core wilderness, off limits to humans, connected by corridors, and surrounded by government-managed buffer zones.

George Frampton, former head of the Wilderness Society, headed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a time. The Wilderness Society advocated the nationalization of all forests back in the 1930s, and has worked continuously to promote policies to achieve this goal.

More than 20 leaders of environmental extremist organizations held key positions in the Clinton/Gore administrations, and they hired their favorite activists to fill many of the middle-management and field positions in each agency.

While most of the top agency people were replaced - when the people jerked the reins of government by electing George W. Bush - not all of the underlings have been rooted out and replaced. Many are still advancing the extreme green agenda at every opportunity inside the government, while their extremely green organizations promote the agenda on the outside.

For example, The Nature Conservancy and the Audubon Society provided substantial funding to Reed Noss to write the Wildlands Project plan, published in 1992. During the last five years of the Clinton/Gore era, TNC received grants from the federal government totaling $102,846,284, and the Audubon Society received $10,458,184 - much of which was expressly for use in Florida for wilderness and wildlife "restoration" projects - consistent with the aims of the Wildlands Project.

These "restoration" projects are planned by so-called "stakeholder" councils, which consist primarily of employees of environmental organizations and employees of federal, state, and local government. The people - land owners and business people - are at work, and rarely have the opportunity, or the time, to devote to the process.

Not until the result of the process is announced, and the landowners begin to discover the consequences of these restoration plans, do they get involved. They have to get involved, because, often, they discover that these professionals have made decisions that affect their property and their lives.

Such is the case in South Florida. For years, government-paid officials, and government-paid environmental groups have been meeting and planning the fate of thousands of landowners, many of who had no idea the meetings were even underway. Now, the consequences of the planning threatens to flood thousands of acres, displace thousands of people, and destroy the investments and dreams of land owners across the state.

Of course the Wildlands Project clearly states that the "...needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans...."

The humans who own the land and live in South Florida may have something to say about this. They have formed the Sawgrass Rebellion, a coalition of organizations in South Florida, joined by other grassroots organizations around the country, who are standing together to once again, jerk the reins of government, to hold tight, and bring government back under control of the people.

The people who own the land have a different vision of how their land should be used. They are the real stewards of their own land. They don't want others telling them where and how they should live. They are not alone. People in California, in the Klamath Basin, in New York, in Nevada, in Pennsylvania, and all across the country, are experiencing similar constraints on the use of private property.

Government-paid officials, supported by government-paid environmental organizations are moving to "restore" wilderness everywhere, to connect the wilderness areas with corridors, sometimes called "greenways." Buffer zones along stream banks, and viewsheds along highways, "heritage" corridors, "open space," and critical habitat for questionably listed "endangered" species - are all devices used to force people into compliance with the vision of the Wildlands Project.

It's high time the people jerk the reins of government again, and say loud and clear that the needs and desires of humans must take priority over the utopian vision of American wilderness.

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization, and chairman of Sovereignty International.

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