Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Great American Land Grab. Part One - The Wilderness

And so it begins.

On December 23, 2010 Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced plans "to reverse a Bush era policy and make millions of undeveloped acres of land once again eligible for federal wilderness protection." ( Bozeman Daily Chronicle 12/24/10). Secretary Salazar and Interior Department Management will review some 220 million acres to possibly designate as wilderness. This is an area larger than the entire state of Texas . However this only the beginning.

Secretary Salazar has clearly stated he will designate certain areas as "Wild Lands". The term "Wild Lands" has not been officially defined by the Interior Department or Congress. Because “Wild Lands” is not defined, it allows Secretary Salazar and BLM Director Bob Abbey to use their discretion to define areas within the 220 million acres as off-limits to any activities they disagree with. These activities will include on and off-road mechanized travel, livestock grazing, and placing any gas and oil exploration completely off-limits. The current administration's relationship with the environmental lobby certainly supports the restrictions of these types of activities.

The question isn't how much land will be declared "Wild Lands" but rather why will the land be declared as such? Are we wearing out the existing wilderness? According to Citizens for Balanced Use there are over 107 million acres of designated wilderness in the U.S. That's an area larger than the state of California . Does anyone really believe that this wilderness is being overrun from hikers and wildlife enthusiasts? Quite the opposite. Past surveys suggest that only 3% of the outdoor recreating public utilize wilderness for their recreation. Remember that wilderness areas cannot be travelled by mechanized vehicles which include mountain bikes.

All the facts aren't in yet. If the past is any indication much of the proposed "Wild Lands" will consist of Federal property rich in natural resources. Placing these lands off-limits makes the U.S. even more dependent on foreign imports while denying Americans access to their own resources and stymieing good paying jobs.

Remember ANWR? The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? Originally established in 1960 as the Arctic National Wildlife Range , it was expanded by President Carter and the Democrat-controlled Congress in 1980 and its designation was changed from "Range" to "Wilderness" thus placing it off limits to natural resource exploration. This area has one of the largest known oil reserves in North America . The area of development for oil extraction is estimated to be around 2,000 acres. The total size of ANWR is 19 million acres. That's .01 percent of land usage. Even if the total amount of developmental area is ten times that number, it’s foolish not to develop it. This isn't even bringing into play the amount of ANWR that is considered by many objective observers to be nothing more than barren tundra. (For more on the development of ANWR click  here).

While declaring ANWR a wilderness area wasn't a death blow to an already struggling U.S. economy in 1980, it did nothing to help the U.S. ease its dependence on foreign oil. It was, however, a huge victory for the environmental movement. This would be one of the few victories for the movement that would actually pass through the halls of Congress. The court system and fiat would prove to be much more lucrative venues for them. The environmental movement is well funded, well organized and gaining momentum through a sympathetic press and an ignorant public. With the ANWR victory, they were just warming up.

One of the keys to a “land grab” is to deny access of lands to off road recreationalists. The theory is that once access is denied, for whatever reason, the ease at which the land can be made a wilderness is magnified many times.

Access to public lands is being shut down where ever it is easy to do so and with 100% cooperation of which ever federal agency is involved. In the Gallatin Forest, snowmobilers were told certain areas would be closed unless proof that these areas had been used for snowmobiling before 1975. After the proof was given in sworn affidavits and testimony, and U.S. Forest Service signs of the era promoting snowmobiling, an activist Federal judge closed the areas anyway.

Areas in the Beaverhead National Forest were closed because they were "potential" breeding grounds for wolverines. No scientific evidence has been offered as to why wolverines are “potentially” breeding in five feet of snow at 7500 feet with no food supply. This is just wildlife management theory but in this case, it was good enough. These are but a couple of examples of multiple-use closures in my area. These closures occurred with less than adequate and less than accurate evidence and reasoning.

The biggest question to all of this is "why can't there be any compromise or middle ground?” The answer is simple. The environmental movement has proven time and again they want it all. From wanting snowmobiles totally removed from Yellowstone National Park , to the national monument designation on the Upper Missouri River , to welshing on delisting the wolf from the Endangered Species list after the population reached 300 (it's currently 1700). Environmentalists cannot be trusted. Their credibility with stock growers and multiple-users is non-existent. While their credibility with the general public may be in question, their strength and influence with the press is growing as well as with virtually any elected representative with a “D” after their name.

This movement must be fought Maybe you believe that this virtual takeover of OUR land is so the current administration can use it as collateral for borrowing more money. Maybe you believe that this is a backdoor attempt to get the U.S. to comply with Agenda 21, the United Nation's attempt to negate our sovereignty. Regardless, the environmental movement and its supporters including those within our own government, will strive to control every acre of land they can and our nation will suffer for it.

We all need to get informed and be involved. Stay alert and aware of the areas in your state that are being designated "Wild Lands". Write your State and Federal representatives and call them frequently. Most importantly, challenge the environmentalists where ever you can. Their arguments are easily defeated as the facts are against them. But unless they are challenged, the rest of the sheep in the flock will follow their inaccurate, sometime fraudulent, and often emotional rhetoric.

Thanks to my friend Ben E for his great additions to this post. MRM


Reagan Indian said...

It's all about the money, or follow the money trail. Enviromantalism is about being green, Big Green, as in Cash $$. In 2008, the Sierra Club took in $56 million in contributions alone and this does not include money made from their sizable investment portfolio. With that said, the environmental movement has to have a cause or a crisis to continue raising cash, they need a boogey-man. In Montana, the newest boogey-man is the 2.5 million acre "Montana's Northern Prairie", a piece of the 220 million acres under consideration by comrades Salazar and Abbey. This 2.5 million acre section sits atop of a portion of the Bakken Formation, a huge oil reserve. The last thing groups like the American Prairie Foundation and the Sierra Club want is oil exploration there. While the people of NE MT rallied against Abbey, his pals at EPA have been doing his dirty work for him. Just two weeks ago, the EPA issued a notice "of it's intention to disapprove Montana's air regulations for oil and natural gas". This would technically make 900 oil and gas facilities in MT illegal. The MT DEQ was shocked! The EPA has given the DEQ and the public until Feb. 7th to submit comments. If existing facilities are shut down, new ones will never stand a chance of being permitted. It is worth noting that so much of Montana's oil and gas is in NE Montana and within the proposed boundaries of the Montana Northern Prairie "Wild Lands". It's not difficult to connect the dots here. That part of the state could use new jobs, jobs that are stable, good paying and long-term. Just what the enviros don't want. MRM said it best about getting informed and involved.

Milk River Madman said...

Welcome aboard with your great comments. The EPA's actions further prove my argument that the Enviro-Nazi's know they can't win in a fair fight so they subvert the process. I wonder what Governor Schwietzer will do about this except for nothing.

chickory said...

right on reagan indian! we have been sold out by our government...our natural resources will be looted by private entities, while the public is made to conserve and feel guilty about drawing a breath because were killing the earth.

I didnt know if you would go back and read your MCW comments so I will also thank you here for your kindness and thoughtfulness with your post. It meant a lot to me and I want you to know that. thank you.

I will be back on MCW after this...I havent faded I just was overwhelmed today.

please keep posting on these land grabs - and dont forget to look into the agenda 21 thing.

thanks again, friend.


Pam said...

But MRM, maybe, just maybe, all that wilderness is needed for the black helicopters to land and for room to muster all those armies that are meant to invade Canada? Am sure it could have nothing to do with strategic oil reserves because that would involve the use of logic and/or foresight/planning.

moi said...

Oil is about to hit $100 a barrel, gasoline is over $3 in many communities, and yet where is the outcry we heard three years ago in similar circumstances? There isn't one. Because the current administration does not want us to explore our own oil and gas reserves. Doing so is not environmentally "correct."

Just recently the Public Service Company of New Mexico, the entity that provides gas and electricity to a good portion of the state, asked for permission to raise their rates—the third time in as many years. Why? Because they need to fund upgrades to their power plants, all of which must now comply with government mandated green energy initiatives.

Is it a good idea to explore alternatives to traditional oil and gas? Sure, but not if it's a forced alternative. But that's exactly what this administration is doing. Big Brother knows best, don't cha know.

Milk River Madman said...

I did get your comments and you are more than welcome. Do what needs to be done and we will be waiting for your return.

Canada was re-claimed for the U.S. in 1983 when Brother Bill snuck across the border in his '79 Bronco and stuck a flag in the ground. He was not met with resistance.

Obama and the enviros are changing regulations without legislation at every opportunity. The spike to $4 gas was just to get us used to $3 gas and thinking that it is normal.