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Caught in the crosshairs

By Henry Lamb
web posted December 24, 2001

Canada LynxNo one should be surprised by the fact that employees of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service planted fake evidence of Canada lynx in the Gifford Pinchot and Wenatchee national forests. What is surprising is that they were caught.

Radical environmentalists have long demonstrated the belief that the end justifies the means. Stories about environmental extremists mishandling the truth are legion. Sadly, there are many environmental extremists still among the employees of the federal government.

When Bill Clinton and Al Gore took control of the White House, the red carpet was rolled out to environmental extremists. Many of the top jobs went to former executives of environmental organizations.

Bruce Babbitt left the League of Conservation Voters to become Secretary of the Interior; George Frampton left the Wilderness Society to become Chief of the Fish and Wildlife Service. More than 20 of the top jobs in the resource management agencies went to executives from environmental organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund; World Resources Institute; Sierra Club; Audubon Society, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and others.

These management officials were free to hire whomever they chose. They didn’t hire people from the property rights, or resource-use movement. They hired their friends and colleagues from environmental organizations. The top people were replaced when George Bush took office. But many people in mid-management and the field staff, stayed on. Some have civil service protection. The not-so-surprising result, is a continuation of the effort to use the power of government to implement the agenda of extreme environmental organizations.

The seven unidentified government employees caught red-handed planting hairs from captive lynx in the national forests had a great explanation: they were testing the laboratory that was conducting DNA tests on the evidence.

As Don Amador of the Blue Ribbon Coalition says, this is like bank robbers saying they robbed the bank to test the security system.

A widely published goal of environmental extremists is to end logging and motorized recreation in national forests. Had the federal employees been successful in their deception, these two national forests could have been designated as "critical habitat," for an endangered species. This designation would trigger expanded authority for the federal agencies to outlaw logging and motorized recreation in these forests.

The question that begs an answer is: how many times has this kind of deception been used in the past to impose no-use restrictions on other land? In every state in the nation, land, both private and public, is being locked up on the pretext of protecting some exotic species. Rarely is the science on which these lock-up decisions made subjected to objective, peer-reviewed science.

Throughout the Clinton years, an environmental organization needed only to petition the federal government to list a species as endangered or threatened, based on allegations of questionable authenticity. Friends in high places within the government were only too eager to oblige their friends and take restrictive action.

Nearly 1500 farm families in the Klamath Basin had their water rights denied because a sucker fish and a coho salmon were listed as threatened or endangered. U.S. District Judge, Michael Hogan, ruled that the Fish and Wildlife Service erred in their listing, but when challenged by an environmental organization, the decision was overturned by the 9th Court of appeals.

The scientific evidence on which the salmon was listed is, at the very least, questionable. Coho salmon are, in fact, so plentiful, that the Fish and Wildlife Service actually club hatchlings to death so the hatchlings will not mix with the coho salmon in the streams. There is no genetic difference between those hatched in captivity, and stream-hatched salmon. Nevertheless, 1500 farm families have suffered enormous economic and psychological damage because of the actions of environmental extremists.

These same extremists now want the federal government to buy the farmers’ land at $4,000 per acre, rather than to delist the species and allow the water to flow to its rightful owners. The objective of the environmental extremists is to get the farmers off the land - not to protect a species that needs no protection.

The forests where the bogus lynx hair was planted are in a high-priority area for environmental extremists who want to return as much as 50 per cent of the nation’s land area to pre-Columbian wilderness - off limits to humans. These folks have demonstrated, time and time again, that they will resort to any means necessary - including the burning of a ski resort, and destroying private property from one end of the country to the other - to achieve their objectives.

We applaud the officials who caught the culprits, and urge all agencies of government to be on the lookout for holdovers from the Clinton-Gore era who are more concerned about their own radical agenda than about the law, ethics, or the rights of all other Americans.

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

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