From: Sent: Monday, September 19, 2005 10:21 PM
Subject: H.R. 3824 also known as TESRA: My Official TestimonyMy Official Testimony regarding any "reform" action, "strengthening" action, H.R. 3824 and all related heads of this Medusa.September 19, 2005To: Dimple Gupta Dimple_Gupta@judiciary-rep.senate.gov and all those addressed in this email, including, but not limited to: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Congressman_Greg_Walden_News_Release@mail.house.govFrom: Julie Kay Smithson firstname.lastname@example.org Thorn Locust LaneLondon, Ohio 43140The entire text located at:plus this entire email (which contains the entire text) is my Official Testimony regarding H.R. 3824 (and whatever the Senate version of this bill may be), and all related activities of Congress relating to the Endangered Species Act, including, but not limited to, "reform," "strengthening," refunding, etc.Anyone receiving this who wishes to post it on the Internet may freely do so, so long as it remains intact and complete, with no omissions or changes.I hereby ask that the entire text of this email be entered forthwith into the Congressional Record as evidence of my testimony.Simply put, any version of the "Endangered Species" Act is rife with Language Deception and lays private property rights and freedom upon the altar of The Wildlands Project, utterly abandoning all United States of America Constitutional precepts. Thus, any version of such an unconstitutional "act" is, according to Marbury v. Madison, "Null and Void."There is no "fix" for such an abomination, other than complete and total repeal -- the sooner, the better. It is long overdue that all elected officials -- from local levels to those within the District of Columbia -- stop subscribing to a global dictate and return to the Constitutional Republic upon which our foundation was built. The shifting sands of globalization and its language, designed to deceive, bodes ill for all such "legislation."While the cotton wool of habit, overindulgence, sloth, etc., has invaded much of "government," there is still a blueprint to which hardworking and honest Americans ascribe. We now mandate that you do the same. Such a double standard offers just one standard by which the rest of the world looks to America. The other "standard" is an ill wind and has the effect of pulling a loaded manure spreader with one's back to the wind.Here is the entire, pasted text from this location: http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org/articles6/many_facets_of_the_endangered_sp.htm
The Many Facets of The Endangered Species Act (updated version 09-13-05)
September 6, 2005
Original version published in May 2002
By Julie Kay Smithson email@example.com
While we are familiar with the enforcement of the ESA in America, the Act and its enforcement have expanded to include species found anywhere on the planet. By specific exclusion as a species, human populations have become victims of the ESA.
Treaties, International Agreements and the Origins of the ESA
Congress passed the Endangered Species Preservation Act (ESPA) in 1966. This law allowed listing of only native animal species as endangered and provided limited means for the protection of species so listed. The Departments of Interior, Agriculture, and Defense were to seek to protect listed species, and insofar as consistent with their primary purposes, preserve (protect) the habitats of such species. Land acquisition for protection of endangered species was also authorized.
The Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969 (ESCA) was passed to provide additional protection to species in danger of "worldwide extinction". Import of such species was prohibited, as was their subsequent sale within the U.S. This Act called for an international ministerial meeting to adopt a convention on the conservation of endangered species.
A 1973 United Nations conference in Washington D.C. led to the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which restricted international commerce in plant and animal species believed to be actually or potentially harmed by trade.
Later that year, the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) was passed, which combined and considerably strengthened the provisions of its predecessors.
The ESA is arguably one of the most recognized acronyms in rural America. First written in 1973 using its current title, it has undergone numerous revisions. This "law of the land" contains more facets than the Hope Diamond and may have its purported curse as well. Mere mention of a landowner having "possible habitat" for a protected, threatened, or endangered species wreaks immediate havoc, both emotionally and economically.
The ESA was amended in 1976-1982, 1984 and 1988, and actually expired in the early 1990s, but has been kept alive through Congressional funding on an annual basis.
The United States' international commitment of America's resources under treaties and "other international agreements" has its roots in 16 U.S.C. 1351. An Executive "international agreement" is not ratified by the Senate.The ESA began with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918* between the United States, Great Britain and Canada. This treaty usurped powers reserved to the States. The Migratory Bird Treaty has even been expanded several times.Some treaties, such as the Western Hemisphere Treaty (Treaty of Tordesillas), have no enforcement clause and are merely good faith treaties that impose no obligation or burden upon anyone.U.S. v. Pink 315 US 203 (1942), which used treaties to undermine constitutional safeguards, should raise significant, related issues.If international matters are raised and held to, the matter of which treaty or International Agreement is being applied, comes into play. Legal arguments can and should arise from the implementation and enforcement of the ESA against private property owners.The Ute Mountain Ute Nation did an excellent job of challenging and defeating the ESA. The Ute Mountain Ute Nation did not sign any of treaties or international agreements -- thus, the ESA does not apply to their lands in the southwest quarter of Colorado.
Many definitions contained in the ESA come directly from UN and IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) glossaries, including but not limited to CITES definitions.
A few definitions from the ESA are necessary in order to understand the complexities of the Act itself:
The ESA definition of an endangered species is "Any species which is in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range."
The terms ''conserve'', ''conserving'', and ''conservation'' mean to use and the use of all methods and procedures which are necessary to bring any endangered species or threatened species to the point at which the measures provided pursuant to this chapter are no longer necessary. Such methods and procedures include, but are not limited to, all activities associated with scientific resources management such as research, census, law enforcement, habitat acquisition and maintenance, propagation, live trapping, and transplantation, and, in the extraordinary case where population pressures within a given ecosystem cannot be otherwise relieved, may include regulated taking.
The term ''critical habitat'' for a threatened or endangered species means -
(i) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the provisions of section 1533 of this title, on which are found those physical or biological features
(I) Essential to the conservation of the species and
(II) Which may require special management considerations or protection; and
(ii) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed in accordance with the provisions of section 1533 of this title, upon a determination by the Secretary that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species.
A "threatened" classification is provided to those animals and plants likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of their ranges [Section 3].
A "species" includes any species or subspecies of fish, wildlife, or plant; any variety of plant; and any distinct population segment of any vertebrate species that interbreeds when mature. Excluded is any species of the Class Insecta determined by the Secretary to constitute a pest whose protection under the provisions of the Act would present an overwhelming and overriding risk to man [Section 3].
The term ''fish or wildlife'' means any member of the animal kingdom, including without limitation any mammal, fish, bird (including any migratory, nonmigratory, or endangered bird for which protection is also afforded by treaty or other international agreement), amphibian, reptile, mollusk, crustacean, arthropod or other invertebrate, and includes any part, product, egg, or offspring thereof, or the dead body or parts thereof. ["any mammal" could this be expanded to include humans?]
The term ''take'' means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. [This definition is especially meaningful from the context of those human species who have been "harassed, harmed, pursued, wounded, etc." by the implementation of the ESA.]
While we are familiar with the enforcement of the ESA in America, the Act and its enforcement have expanded to include species found anywhere on the planet. By specific exclusion as a species, human populations have become victims of the ESA.
The full 49-page text of the Act may be found at http://www.house.gov/resources/105cong/reports/105_c/esa73_pdf
The listing process was originally planned to protect both species and their habitat. U.S. and foreign species lists were combined, with uniform provisions applied to both (Section 4).
Categories of "endangered" and "threatened" were defined (Section 3).
Broad taking prohibitions were applied to all endangered animal species, which could apply to threatened animals by special regulation [Section 9].
Authority was provided to acquire land for listed animals and for plants listed under CITES [Section 5]; and U.S. implementation of CITES was provided [Section 8].
All Federal agencies were required to undertake programs for the conservation of endangered and threatened species, and were prohibited from authorizing, funding, or carrying out any action that would jeopardize a listed species or destroy or modify its "critical habitat" [Section 7].
Significant amendments were enacted in 1978, 1982, and 1988 although the overall framework of the 1973 Act remained basically unchanged.
As with most other Federal regulations, a species is proposed for addition to the lists (50 CFR Part 17) in the Federal Register. The public is offered an opportunity to comment, and the rule is finalized (or withdrawn). Species are selected by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) for proposed rules from a list of 'candidates.'
To become a candidate, FWS relies largely upon petitions, FWS and other agencies' surveys, and other substantiated reports on field studies.
The Act provides very specific procedures on how species are to be placed on the list (e.g., listing criteria, public comment periods, hearings, notifications, time limit for final action) and may be found at 50 CFR Part 424. Selection from the list of candidates for a proposed rule is based upon a priority system (September 23, 1983, Federal Register).
Species may be active candidates from a number of sources. FWS has its own biologists who are monitoring the status of some species. Other agencies [The Nature Conservancy, The Center for Biological Diversity -- formerly known as the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity -- and others] have similar staffs that can report when a species seems to be at some risk to its continued existence. Informal letters and various reports are also submitted to FWS from the States and private groups and individuals. There is also a formal petition process available under the Act.
Anyone can petition to have any species -- as defined in the ESA -- listed.
In the years since its inception, this process has expanded to include "possible habitat?" and has often used the "critical habitat" designation to halt human use of large blocks of land. In a 1998 memo, Donna Darm, the acting regional administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS / NOAA agency) wrote: "When we make critical habitat designations, we just designate everything as critical without analysis of how much habitat a (population) needs, what areas might be key, etc. We just say we need it all."
"This has been our assumption of their attitude all along," said Chuck Garner, manager of the Kennewick Irrigation District in the mid-Columbia Basin of Washington State. He gave district directors copies of the comments at a board meeting. "They just go in without showing any scientific evidence of what habitat is critical; they just list everything," Garner said.
Some species have been "emergency listed" in order to stop road improvements. For example, the bull trout near South Canyon Road at Jarbidge, Nevada, was the "sacrificial lamb" used to close the only road for miles in a remote part of northeast Nevada. The bull trout was "emergency listed" for this reason alone: to close a road. Concerned citizens reopened the road on the fourth of July in 2000 in the face of threats of lawsuits and jail time.
Plant species are the special province of the Smithsonian Institution, as directed by the Secretary of Agriculture. The Smithsonian is to review plant species that are or may become threatened or endangered, and recommend methods adequate to conserve the species.
Much of what has given the ESA its "black eye" with those impacted by it is the methodology involved.
Federal environmental policy surrounding this law is often seen to pit one species against others, or speciesism.
Lake Koocanusa is in northwestern Montana and straddles the American-Canadian border. A manmade lake built in the 1970s by the Army Corps of Engineers, Koocanusa was promoted to increase fishing and tourism. A "protected species" of salmon listed in 1992 has put another protected species, the White Sturgeon, at risk.
The United States Fish & Wildlife Service working with the National Marine Fisheries Service, is conducting a "50-year experiment," using the lake levels to discover if decreased lake levels in the spring will help the salmon in the Columbia River, 800 miles downstream. This effectively puts the spawning grounds of the sturgeon in eminent danger by reducing lake levels at a time when the sturgeon most needs higher levels. This is a prime, but far from isolated, example of the Endangered Species Act violating the Endangered Species Act.
In other highly publicized stories, lynx fur and grizzly bear hair have been used to falsify the boundaries of "critical habitat" for both species, leading to the question: How many other "science-based statistics" have been invented in order to "create" critical habitat?
The Endangered Species Act has been selectively used to protect species other than human and domestic. Many rural producers are descendants of war veterans who settled and improved their lands after government promises of land and water. Indeed, many veterans had deeds -- signed by various U.S. presidents -- granting them and their "heirs and assigns" land and water rights in perpetuity.
As prospects for rural economic survival dwindle, a federal government or environmental group buyout is touted as the only alternative. Resource providing and resource extraction -- farming, ranching, logging, mining, and commercial fishing -- are presented to the general public as hurtful "to the environment" and obsolete careers. Tourism and recreation are promoted as being better for all concerned.
Left out of the equation are the facts: people, like any other species, need food and shelter for survival. In order to have both, resource providing and extraction must continue. Sending both to other countries does not bode well for their economies or their environment.
Think there's no such thing as RURAL/CULTURAL terrorism?
A 2000 ESA hearing, sponsored by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, actively excluded testimony from landowners that have seen their property values reduced or completely negated by regulations.
Victim stories are legend. Thousands -- perhaps tens of thousands of families and businesses -- have been forced to relocate and/or go out of business due to this single statute. Here are but a few:
*Dave Fisher, third generation cattle rancher and owner of the Shield "F" Ranch near Barstow, California
Dave Fisher has become both the endangered species and the victim. His story is the tip of the iceberg, as there are 1,400 ranch families who fell victim to the ESA along with him.
In late 2001 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sent Dave a notice that if his 307 head of cattle were not removed from the 154,848-acre Ord Mountain allotment in the California Desert within 5 days, they would be impounded by the BLM. The BLM declared its lands and those under private ownership in the affected area to be "critical habitat" for the desert tortoise. It did not notify the 1,400 affected families in the area of its intent until after the ink was dry.
Dave and his neighbors tried to cooperate with the BLM. They appealed the original BLM May 15, 2001 decision to the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) and won. That original decision was remanded back to the BLM because it had failed to consult, cooperate and coordinate (CCC) with the permittees as required by Section 8 of the Public Rangelands Improvement Act and as required by the BLM's own regulations.
Dozens of appeals were filed, protesting the BLM's September 7, 2001, decision.
The BLM did not respond to even one of those appeals.
The desert tortoise "protections" arose from a negotiated California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) lawsuit settlement between the BLM, The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Sierra Club. This agreement empowered the BLM to partially implement the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's 1994 Desert Tortoise Recovery Plan recommendations for livestock reduction and removal from critical habitat. Proven help for the desert tortoise from cattle droppings (providing moisture and shade) were not factors included in this decision. Dave suggested to the California state BLM director that the director exchange Fisher's ranch for another ranch. That offered solution was never acted upon.
Ironically, it was rancher stewardship of the land that attracted the desert tortoise in the first place.
Not until the Fisher family drilled water wells on its own land did the desert tortoise became prevalent in the California Desert Conservation Area. The tortoise, in moving into a new habitat provided by ranchers grazing cattle, attracted the attention of the environmental groups. It was used it to pressure federal officials to push Fisher and his 1,400 ranching neighbors off the land.
This is an example of ranchers who stayed within the system, cooperated fully with all agencies involved and still -- without court order or decision -- became its victims. Threats of lawsuits against the Department of Interior (DOI) by three powerful environmental groups seem to have provided the directives for DOI/BLM actions.
*Anita Cragg, Florida builder
In 1992, Anita Cragg, president of Space Coast Management Services, bought a housing subdivision in Country Cove, Florida with the goal of building new homes next to existing ones. She had the necessary building permits and interested buyers lined up when FWS ordered her to stop all development because it allegedly posed a hazard to the Florida scrub-jay, a bird which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
What Cragg didn't understand was how her planned development threatened the scrub jay when there were no scrub-jay nests on the property.
Both the FWS and an independent environmental engineer hired by Cragg could not find any nests on her land.
However, when FWS officials were surveying her land in 1993, they saw two scrub jays fly onto her lots. Because Cragg's property had the potential to be suitable scrub-jay habitat, the agency suspended construction for 18 months.
To get construction resumed, FWS forced Cragg to purchase four acres of land off-site to compensate for the loss of every acre of potential habitat on her property. That cost her $100,000. Cragg says her deal with the government "didn't really help the scrub-jay because we weren't hurting it in the first place."
*A Sovereign Nation's border
The U.S. Border Patrol's aggressive efforts to stem illegal immigration and cut crime along the Texas-Mexican border have been a resounding success. In just two years, Operation Rio Grande, the agency's high-tech interdiction effort, cut the number of illegal aliens attempting to cross the border from 216,000 in 1996 to less than 160,000 in 1999 along a 200-mile stretch of the Rio Grande River. If it weren't for the operation, Border Patrol officials estimate that there would have been 350,000 illegal aliens attempting to cross the border in 1999. In addition, in just one year, crime in Brownsville dropped 45 percent.
If "environmentalists" have their way, all these gains will be negated.
The Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and the Audubon Society plan to file a lawsuit to put a halt to the Border Patrol's use of critical interdiction technology, which the groups claim pose a "threat" to "endangered species." These groups argue that the agency's use of high-powered lights, which prevent border crossings under the cover of night, also disrupts the habits of the ocelot and jaguarondi, two nocturnal-oriented wildcats on the endangered species list.
"We feel the Immigration and Naturalization Service can accomplish its job without the floodlight and fences and with far less intrusive technologies that have no impact on wildlife," says Jim Chapman of the Sierra Club.
Not so, Border Patrol. Border Patrol assistant chief Rey Garza says. "Taking away the lights will negate everything."
The Rio Grande River is pitch-black, making it an obvious haven for illegal aliens and drug criminals. Garza says that Border Patrol officers have been stabbed and shot trying to do their job on its murky banks.
By installing permanent and mobile light fixtures along targeted sections of the river, the Border Patrol's ability to catch criminals and illegal aliens has increased dramatically. Says officer Garza, "The lights have proven to be a powerful deterrent."
The environmentalists' planned lawsuit especially frustrates Border Patrol officials. They had already agreed to not place their high-tech equipment in U.S. Fish and Wildlife sanctuaries in an attempt to address environmental concerns -- even though those sanctuaries have become refuges for illegal aliens.
*Jay Monfort, New York businessman with 300-year family history
Jay Monfort of Fishkill, New York, began the permitting process in 1990 of trying to expand a gravel mine on his own land. Jay owns a company that manufactures concrete block. He also owns property that could largely supply the gravel needed for his business. Fishkill, New York judged Jay to be in compliance with its zoning regulations and approved the expansion of his Sour Mountain gravel company.
After filing his permit application with the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Jay became ensnared in a process that continues today. His Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was rejected as "incomplete" in April 1993, almost six months after the state was required by law to issue its opinion. After resubmitting his EIS, the DEC finally approved it in 1995.
Then the DEC, in collusion with local environmental groups, devised new and costly reasons to further delay the project. At what should have been the end of the process, Jay was told that he would have to start over again because a den of rattlesnakes had been "discovered" on an adjoining property owned by -- surprise! -- a conservation group. The protected species of snakes were not even on Mr. Monfort's property, and his previous EISs had already addressed potential impacts on the snakes by his mine.
The DEC informed Jay that he would have to spend several additional years studying the snakes before a decision could be rendered on his proposed mine expansion.
Monfort declares, "The motivation for such abusive tactics appears to be a desire of the state" and the local conservation group, Scenic Hudson, to acquire his property for a land trust.
Jay has not given up. In January 1998 he filed a lawsuit demanding that the state issue a final decision based on his original permit application. The permit process alone has cost him more than $3 million.
A better way to protect wildlife
Federal "management" of both endangered species and other wildlife has led to a delicate balancing act. A major reason for this, according to Howard Hutchinson, executive director for the Coalition of Arizona/New Mexico Counties, is that critical-habitat designations for endangered species are often determined by "citizen" lawsuits rather than being formulated by people who understand the needs of the species. As a result, he says that decisions are made by Justice Department lawyers based on agreements reflecting political purposes.
Hutchinson cites an example. As the result of a much-publicized "citizen" ESA lawsuit filed by some of the same environmental groups involved in the Klamath Basin crisis, protection of the Mexican spotted owl virtually eliminated the timber industry in Arizona and New Mexico several years ago.
Hutchinson, who serves on the spotted-owl recovery team, says the "resulting growth of underbrush in the forests has not only led to this summer's devastating wildfires, but has also had a negative effect on several other species that have been declared endangered." And, says Hutchinson, research has shown that because of the increase in timber density the forests are retaining more water, thus decreasing the amount of water in Southwestern streams by 30 percent. As a result, he says, the Gila trout, Apache trout, spiked ace and loach minnow -- all of which live in the streams and also were subjects of "citizen" ESA lawsuits -- are suffering.
Even more bizarre than this pitting of one species against another, say critics, is the pitting of a species against itself. This is happening in the case of the Coho salmon, one of the allegedly threatened fish that was the subject of several of the lawsuits that forced the government to turn off the irrigation water in the Klamath Basin.
According to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS / NOAA agency) the government agency that administers the ESA for marine and anadromous (fish that migrate from the ocean to freshwater to spawn) species, the salmon being protected in the Klamath River do not constitute a species as properly defined. The NMFS says they are just one of 52 "distinct population segments" -- DPSs -- or " evolutionarily significant units" (ESU) of salmon that are found in Oregon, Washington state, Idaho and California. But one-half of the 52 ESUs are protected under the ESA. The Klamath River fish belong to an ESU called the Southern Oregon/ Northern California Coasts Coho salmon. It was listed as threatened under the ESA in 1997.
So what distinguishes one ESU of salmon from another? A genetic difference? No. A difference in the taste of the fillet on the dining-room table? Not even that. According to a regulation promulgated in 1996 by Bruce Babbitt, Clinton's secretary of the interior, a group of vertebrates qualifies as an ESU if it "is markedly separated from other populations of the same taxon as a consequence of physical, physiological, ecological or behavioral factors."
According to NMFS spokesman Brian Gorman, geography is the primary distinguishing factor.
Gorman says the hatchery fish were not counted because, although they have been released into rivers for at least 100 years, NMFS biologists recently have concluded that the hatchery fish have different "behaviors" and actually are a threat to the "wild" fish. He claims the hatchery fish "diminish the vigor" of the wild fish and make them easier for fishermen to catch. He also says hatchery salmon reproduce less successfully in the wild than "wild" salmon.
In 1998, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel were videotaped using baseball bats to kill thousands of Oregon coastal Coho salmon at a hatchery in the Alsea River basin. "There is a rationale for killing the salmon," says Gorman. "Each hatchery can only handle so many fish, so when the hatchery's capacity is reached, the excess fish must be killed."
A similar parallel could be drawn between bovine excreta and that of wild elk or antelope. The head of the Tucson, Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity, Kieran Suckling, rages about domestic cattle defecating in streams -- yet patently refuses to acknowledge that all wild animals produce and drop scat on land and in streams.
Wildlife has been existing, mostly in harmony, with private citizens for many years. The partnership has benefited both: deer and many other avian and animal species forage on the edges of land planted in grain. Species that are of different successions -- early, mid and late -- are needed by wildlife in order to flourish. Driving a species such as the American Bison almost to extinction was a profound learning experience. The passenger pigeon's demise was another. The twentieth century found stewardship and land/water use progressing wisely in private hands.
It is certainly possible for most species to have "possible habitat" in many areas where they are not found. That theory holds true for both endangered and healthy populations of humans, flora and fauna. The ability to adapt -- stronger in some species than in others -- has perhaps encouraged diversity more than hindered it, since it dictates progression or extinction.
The continuing educational process that humans are undergoing to better care for and harvest renewable resources -- including timber, sustainable harvest of game birds and animals as well as domestic -- points the way toward a far different scenario than environmental extremists have painted. Freedom of choice made possible by private ownership is a viable alternative to today's ESA restrictions. Truly free enterprise offers healthy, threatened and endangered species ways to partner, which over-regulation and the locking up of millions of acres can never accomplish.
"Envisioning" the future of the ESA
Non-governmental organizations and unelected bureaucrats are using the ESA as a leverage tool to end resource providing in America. This arbitrary and capricious agenda is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If all grazing permits are purchased by such as the Nature Conservancy -- thus ending grazing on all Federally owned lands -- families will feel the loss in their pocketbooks and on their dinner tables. A much larger percentage of disposable income will go for food as prices go up and availability goes down.
With the remainder of arable land and its water resources being placed off-limits to resource production and extraction -- and human habitation -- food and water will soon achieve a place in the American psyche that they have not held for two hundred years. The standard of living that we take for granted will evaporate.
Protection of some species at the expense of others is an artificial scenario, neither practicable nor scientific. Past precedent shows beyond reasonable doubt that the future of the ESA as currently structured and enforced is bleak.
This Act is a property rights destroying monster. It has wreaked havoc throughout America and beyond, and cannot honestly claim even one "success story." What the Endangered Species Act can claim is the demise of thousands of rural communities and billions of taxpayer dollars. It can claim many shattered lives, whether through the stoppage of logging, farming, mining, ranching, or commercial fishing in many areas, or the many recreational pursuits (including hunting and fishing) that have been placed off-limits. It has been the secondary reason for many destroyed families -- through stress, divorce, suicide, ruined health or nerves, and even early death. Rural and urban people alike must put this law where it belongs: in the wastebasket. Not only has the ESA failed species miserably; it has also failed the American people.
As an economic and cultural change agent, it has no parallel.
Landowners who once provided abundant species habitat have been and are being forced off their land in record numbers. One need look no further than the Klamath Basin of Oregon and California for proof. Property values are gutted, families are wrecked, and once-thriving communities are turned into rural ghettos. Species have not recovered anywhere. The ESA has failed to "protect" any species, and has, in fact, been a substantial contributing factor to actually making some species become endangered that once enjoyed healthy populations.
There is currently a move afoot to "reform" and "strengthen" the ESA -- even to the point of codifying "invasive species" by inclusion of language.
Current ESA draft "reform" legislation even dovetails a version of Kelo v. New London, Connecticut, by use of a "50 percent clause" -- more than half of one's property must be removed from use before any compensation is considered or applicable.
How many people are content with losing half their property rights before any property compensation even comes into play?
Far from needing reform or strengthening -- either of which further decimates property rights -- this expired 'piece of work' that has Draconian and unconstitutional roots must be uprooted and finished off, to never again make victims of honest folk.
Julie Kay Smithson lives in rural Ohio. She has become a property rights researcher, author and speaker by default, due to the assault on prime farmland in her part of Ohio by an agency of the Department of Interior, United States Fish & Wildlife Service. Please visit http://www.PropertyRightsResearch.org to learn more about property rights, resource providers, consumers, and recapturing freedom.
Thanks to the National Center for Public Policy Research for its Victim Directories, which were of priceless help in the writing of this article. http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org/2005/articles05/victimsdirectoriesfrms.htm
The full text of Colonel David Crockett's "Not Yours to Give" speech before Congress is also pasted herein and I expect it to also be included as part of my Official Testimony. It clearly explains that such monies as Congress has been throwing, in part, at such contrived "crises," are unconstitutional and therefore have no place in America's economy or her legislative, executive or judicial action.Its location on the Internet: http://www.house.gov/paul/nytg.htm
One day in the House of Representatives a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose:
"Mr. Speaker--I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member on this floor knows it.
We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I ever heard that the government was in arrears to him.
"Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."
He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.
Later, when asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, Crockett gave this explanation:
"Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless, and besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.
"The next summer, when it began to be time to think about election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up. When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but as I thought, rather coldly.
"I began: 'Well friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates and---
"Yes I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine, I shall not vote for you again."
"This was a sockdolger...I begged him tell me what was the matter.
"Well Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting you or wounding you.'
"I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest.
But an understanding of the constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the honest he is.'
" 'I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake. Though I live in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by fire in Georgetown. Is that true?
"Well my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just the same as I did.'
"It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means.
What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he.
If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give at all; and as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. 'No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity.'
"'Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this country as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have Thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life.'
"The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from necessity of giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.'
"'So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.'
"I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go to talking and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I was so fully convinced that he was right, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:
"Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it fully. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.'
"He laughingly replied; 'Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.'
"If I don't, said I, 'I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it.'
"No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. 'This Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you.
"'Well I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name."
"'My name is Bunce.'
"'Not Horatio Bunce?'
"'Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me, but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend.'
"It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence, and for a heart brim-full and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him, before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.
"At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.
"Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before."
"I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him - no, that is not the word - I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if every one who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.
"But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted - at least, they all knew me.
"In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered up around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:
"Fellow-citizens - I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only."
"I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:
"And now, fellow-citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.
"It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit for it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.'
"He came up to the stand and said:
"Fellow-citizens - it affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.'
"He went down, and there went up from that crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.'
"I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.'
"Now, sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. "There is one thing which I will call your attention, "you remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men - men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased--a debt which could not be paid by money--and the insignificance and worthlessness of money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $20,000 when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."