By: Jim Beers,
Retired U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife & Wetlands Biologist, Special Agent, & Refuge Manager
I spoke recently at THE GOOD NEIGHBOR FORUM in Greeley. The subject was how the Federal government and various environmental organizations were using the Endangered Species Act to insert Federal authority into the future use of water and the future of agriculture and rural livelihoods in the Platte River watershed in Eastern Colorado and Nebraska. At that meeting I became familiar with the US Army (and The Nature Conservancy) expansion plans in SE Colorado (Pinon Canyon) and Federal takeover planning on the Republican River watershed before I returned to my home in the Washington, DC area.
Folks, make no mistake, the Federal government (bureaucrats and politicians) and national environmental organizations like The Nature Conservancy and The Wildlands Project intend to gain authority and jurisdiction over Eastern Colorado at the expense of landowners, rural communities, and the State of Colorado. Sadly, the situation is steadily worsening and state politicians and bureaucrats are cooperating or remaining silent as their Federal counterparts bargain away Colorado's future. Their (state officials) excuse is the promise of future money and continued employment to retirement.
You are being hoodwinked by Army claims of more (private) land needed for training when there are literally millions of equally suitable (similar to mideastern topography and climate) acres already in the Federal estate in National Forests, BLM lands, National Wildlife Refuges, and National Parks. Similarly, Federal claims of Platte and Republican Rivers water being "critical" for plovers, terns and cranes when predators that are killing them as you read this go uncontrolled: or the claim of it somehow being "necessary" to maintain year around sturgeon at the mouth of the Platte when they inhabit hundreds of miles of the Missouri River would somehow be laughable if they were not so seriously detrimental to the future of Eastern Colorado.
You are being bombarded with myths and doublespeak meant to confuse you, divide you, and to put you at ease as the Army and The Nature Conservancy lay claim to SE Colorado and the US Fish and Wildlife Service and, eventually, the Wildlands Project replace NE Colorado with unoccupied space. All of this will eventually be untaxed, unoccupied, and a Federal/Environmental NGO fiefdom of easements, Federal land, closed to all but a few.
Be alert when you hear the following terms:
Conservation Easement - These are obstructions meant to make current owners think they are getting something for nothing but future owners and land values will dispel this notion. Go to where "Easements" have been in place for 50 years. Ask the members of the Landowners Association of North Dakota what it is like to have a road project back up water on a field and then to face Federal law enforcement thrice as much as any illegal ever faces as agents trained and equipped for combat with Russian Special Forces descend on your farmyard as your wife is in the kitchen and your kids are playing in the yard.
Biological Assessment - This literally means the device meant to either stop any use or development of private property or to devise a means to extort money or land from citizens wanting to use or improve private property.
Up Front Promises - Federal Politicians and Administrators say that public use will be maintained or continued. Ask the sportsmen of Florida about Federal promises concerning hunting when asking for the Florida Panther Refuge or on Everglades purchases. All lies.
Corridors - If "riparian" corridor isn't sufficient justification how about "wildlife" corridors" or "Native Ecosystem" corridors. They are all nonsense. Ask the retirees of Eastern Connecticut about the state and Federal lies about corridors and when that didn't work about "Scenic Rivers" and "Scenic Highways" that involved TNC and easements and set-asides for no reason other than government control. The same goes for "Buffer Zone."
Coalition Board and Consensus - These are merely monikers for managed government actions meant to give the aura of cooperation and wise decisions while being merely smoke and mirrors to attain the original government purpose where citizen opposition is expected.
Tools in the Toolbox - This Orwellian term was coined by Federal regulators to mask the weapons they were using (much like a dentist's tools). The impression is that certainly there is "something in the toolbox" that is helpful or fair, but that is only a mirage; they are all one-sided and harmful to targeted citizens.
Ask the Maine newspapers fighting TNC takeovers (with government funds and their tax-free status) or the former Oregon logger driving a cab in Los Angeles about what is happening. Denver, like Boston and Chicago and San Francisco thinks it will not harm them but a weakened State government, evaporating property rights, and emboldened radicals driving Federal politicians and bureaucrats will soon enough get around to you.
If your state politicians refuse to fight these Federal schemes; replace them. If your Federal politicians pander to these groups or refuse to control the Federal agencies; replace them with those who will. This is perhaps, next to the Terror issue, the most important and threatening issue of our day, especially if you live in Colorado.
©2007 Gloria Jean