Skip to comments.Local Empowerment Key In Fighting Federal And State Bureaucracy
Posted on 05/02/2003 10:03:43 AM PDT by farmfriend
Local Empowerment Key In Fighting Federal And State Bureaucracy
"We want to keep what rightfully belongs to the people from coming under the command and control of the federal government, stated Ric Costales in introducing the Grange-sponsored Western Lands Use Conference (WLUC) in Klamath Falls, Oregon.
For two days, February 22 and 23, those attending the WLUC were shown case law, U.S. Supreme Court rulings, and Constitutional guarantees that make local government the lead agency in any federal or state projects, including environmental regulations or land takings.
Ric Costales and Kathy Van Tuyl at a planning session.
They are the Master and Secretary of People For The USA Grange
and were instrumental in putting on the WLUC Conference.
At the level furthest removed from the people, the federal government should exercise the least control, stated Costales in his opening remarks. All here can bear testimony that in too many areas, the reverse has become true. This conference will seek to assist you in bringing control back to where it properly belongs. In some cases, that means the state ... but in many cases, control can be returned to county and municipal entities. We will show you how you begin to empower these local forms of government.
As the saying goes, all you will have to do is add water after this conference. In this case, the water is time, energy, money, and most importantly, people, declared Costales. The conference provided details on key technical components of the legislative, regulatory and legal issues in accomplishing local empowerment.
Interest in local empowerment was evinced by the local governments who had attendees at the Conference.
Representatives of local governments attending included Supervisor Marcia Armstong of Siskiyou County, CA; Mark Linquist of Walklakum County, WA; Commissioner John Griffith of Coos County, OR; and Supervisor Mike Dunn of Modoc County, CA. Also attending were William Riley, Executive Director of Big Bend Economic Development Council in Moses Lake, WA; John Walsh of Jackson County NRAC, OR; Vickie Cochran, County Counsel for Modoc, CA; Shawn Curtis, Resource Analyst for Modoc County, CA.
The Conference was a cooperative effort between the People for the USA Grange #835, the California State Grange, and Klamath Community College. Kathyrn Van Tuyl of PofUSA Grange was responsible for coordinating the efforts and getting the speakers for the Conference. The speakers, dedicated to the principles that they teach, waived their fees beyond normal expenses for transportation, lodging and meals. The speakers were:
Congress created the ESA in 1973 in response to an at then un-ratified treaty, The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or more commonly known as the Convention. The Convention was ratified by the U.S. in 1975. Frost has studied the committee report of Congress that contains all of the transcripts documenting the discussions held over a period of months leading to the creation of the ESA, and many of his conclusions are based on that study. Its purpose of the Act was to finally put under one roof three earlier attempts in the 1960s to create an act that captured the intent of several other treaties. These treaties went back as far as the early 1900s, and dealt with wildlife that were primarily migratory in behavior (crossing international boundaries) and had commercial or cultural value. Section 2(b) under Purposes of the ESA states:
The basic purposes of this Act are:
1) to provide a program for the conservation of such endangered species and threatened species,
2) To provide a means whereby the ecosystem upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved,
3) to take such steps as may be appropriate to achieve the purposes of the treaties and conventions set forth in subsection (a) of this section (emphasis added). It is important to understand this origin, since the ESA derives its authority and power from these international treaties.
The Constitution set forth three divisions of our government to create laws for the citizens of this country and in dealing with foreign entities. Treaty creation power is one of those three powers. It is also important to understand that the Constitution forbids Congress from enacting treaties that have powers over the states. To do so would violate the sovereignty not only of the states, by giving foreign countries the ability to dictate state affairs, but would also violate the sovereignly of the citizens of this country.
The founding fathers who wrote the Constitution were tired of foreign powers dictating the lives of and imposing taxation on American citizens and established this separation to ensure that would not happen again.
The treaties on which the ESA is based are listed in the ESA Section 2(b)(a). It is interesting to note that several of the treaties were ratified after the passage of the 1973 version of the ESA (as late as 1979). It is also notable that these treaties have not been significantly modified from their original language and thus carry their unique intents to this day.
A study of the treaties reveals that the overall gist of these treaties is to protect wildlife and their habitats from extinction because of human reliance on them, and from which economic and cultural benefit is derived. That is, if a species goes extinct and there is a commercial or cultural connection to that species, they will be negatively impacted. In other words, these treaties were constructed to protect the human cultures and economies dependent on the natural world.
Summarizing the general intent of these treaties, one finds that they were written to:
Protect species that are of great value as a source of food; Protect species that are of great value in destroying insects which are injurious to forests, forge, crops or a threat to health; Permit rational utilization of species for sport, food, commerce and industry; and to
Promote and secure maximum sustained productivity of food. Scrutiny also reveals that there are exceptions for certain situations in every treaty. The writers of the treaties were careful to ensure that the individual countries were able to deal with events that threatened the well being, health and productivity of its citizens. Among those exceptions are:
Takings are permitted when ... they become seriously injurious to the agricultural or other interest in any particular community..., they become injurious to agriculture and constitute plagues ..., and for the protection of persons and property...
When passing laws, Congress recognizes that to pass laws diametrically opposed to each other will create legal chaos. So they are created within the concept of pari materia, they create new laws with the intent of being read with other existing laws. The ESA was not created with the intent of standing alone or to override other existing laws. When created, the Congress did not declare that the ESA would supercede any existing law. One law cannot override another law unless Congress specifically declares it to do so.
All of these conclusions are well corroborated with case law, subsequent and pre-existing Acts of Congress, Supreme Court decisions and Executive Orders. Included in the conference materials were lists of such validation.
Dr. Angus McIntosh II:
Dr. McIntosh explained the property rights owned by Western Ranchers. This included a history of water law developed in the west which differed from the water rights as developed in the East. Western law is based on the old Spanish laws which evolved for a land on which water was more precious than gold. Eastern water law evolved from the English codes.
In the West, certain property rights, including the access to water, are guaranteed even on lands owned by the government. Under the law, for example, a grazing allotment constitutes a property interest in the nature of a right of way or easement, which basically gives the rancher control or management authority over the allotment. This includes water rights, forage, right of ways, and range improvements. These rights constitute the ranchers share of split estate ownership, separate from the governments title to the underlying land.
This is a very important concept to understand. A property rights discussion with federal land management agencies usually begins with the agency stating that the issue of ownership is strictly one of title to the underlying public land. All too often this diverts the rancher from the real issue of base property, rights of way, easements, rights of ingress or egress, forage crops, improvements, and the value of the land for grazing granted by Congress.
Stock raising was being conducted on western ranges for over 200 years before the Mexican Cession of 1848. They operated under a split-estate property system. Congress statutorily recognized and confirmed the continuation of this system in the 16 contiguous states wholly or partially west of the 100th meridian. That is why water rights may differ in the West than in the East. For example, appropriation of water is separate from the title to the underlying land.
One of the first Acts of the California Legislature after the Mexican Cession was to re-enact as state law the previous Mexican range laws called the jueces del Campo and Rodeo laws. Since then, a myriad of court cases, statutes, Supreme Court decisions and Congressional actions have declared the validity of these laws.
While government under the guise of the EPA has attempted to curtail these property rights, the preponderance of court decisions and statutes have upheld these property rights. The conference materials provided include a long list of case law and statute, and a step by step procedure for farmers and ranchers to protect those rights.
John Williams spoke on the Local Environment and Resource Network (LEARN). Approximately 96% of the locally elected government officials in the United States are ordinary local citizens who desire to provide their talents to better the custom, culture, economy and environment of their local area. They have not been schooled or trained to handle the increasingly complex and stressful legal decisions that local government must make.
Few of these officials understand that because they are the elected persons closest to the citizens of their county, the U.S. Constitution empowers them to use laws to protect their citizens from illegal actions of federal and state agencies.
The goal of the LEARN project is to stop the loss of rights, livelihoods, jobs and property to an overzealous federal bureaucracy along with misguided environmental organizations that are using environmental regulation and unchecked power to seize control of the natural resources of the United States.
A local ordinance is the best legal action, when requested by local citizens, to ensure compliance by federal and state agencies. A local governments written request, sent by certified mail, to federal and state agencies is a quick method of legally bringing the two groups together. The best method for improving legal status and providing the best protection for local citizens is for each grassroots citizen to ask local elected officials to adopt an ordinance for the purpose of coordinating local, state and federal government actions affecting land and natural resource use.
Participants were warned not to let the fox (federal/state government) run the chicken coop (county). Local governments can create a natural resource advisory committee (NRAC) comprised of local residents. The U.S. Constitution gives this power to citizens, but there are also strict guidelines that must be followed to implement local empowerment. That process was thoroughly discussed and explained at the Conference.
Mark Vande Pol:
Mark Vande Pols presentation explained how regulatory socialism corruptly manipulates property value and explained how implementing a free-market alternative that respects unalienable property rights would do a better job of protecting both nature and humanity. Marks theory has been presented in previous issues of CGN.
Marks presentation was often emotional, as much of his presentations examples came from his own property and the local area surrounding it. One example was the encroachment of alien weeds that were being allowed to flourish, choking out the natural flora of the region, in the name of preservation. Marks book, Natural Processes, is a recommended read and can be purchased by calling 831-438-5335, or by sending $37.25 to Wildergarten Press, PO Box 98, Redwood Estates, CA 95044-0098.
Much of the material reported on above is available in the Western Land Use Conference notebooks. There are a limited supply of them available for sale at $35.00 each. Orders will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. Contact Kathy Van Tuyl be emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Grange would like to thank Kathy for her organizing efforts that made this conference such a success. We would also like to recognize the efforts of Barb Hall of the Klamath Bucket Brigade, Lee Riddle of the Easter Lily Research Foundation, Bob Miller of Jackson County Stockmens Association, and volunteers from PofUSA Grange 835.
The Conference was so successful, and so full of useful information, that the idea of putting more of them on throughout the West is being considered. We are looking for funding, such as grants and other donations, to make this series a reality.
The bottom line, says Kathy, is that the empowerment of local government is not only possible, but a necessity for all America, and particularly for rural America. It is their government, and people need a seat at the table with state and federal agencies as they determine the future and welfare of local areas. People need to understand the greatest power lies in the instrument of government that is closest to the governed. They need to understand they dont have to defer to anyone else, especially not a branch of government, to find and implement management solutions.
On or Off, let me know.