Land Grabs in Progress: National Blueways White River Watershed
There are going to be a lot of posts going up about this issue in the next couple of days. While we’ve been busy dealing with State legislative efforts, the Department of Interior and 26 “stakeholder” organizations have designated 60 counties in Missouri and Arkansas as a National Blueway.
What is it? In a nutshell, it is Ozark Man and the Biosphere and the Ozark Highlands National Heritage Area all over again. We have until July to stop the finalizing Memorandum of Understanding from being signed. Here is a primer on the current Federal grabs in progress from ALRA:
Private Property Assault: New Blueways and Wildlands Programs Could End Up In Omnibus
Below is a critically important Letter to the Secretary of Interior from The House Western Caucus. They are complaining about how the Obama Administration and the Secretary of Interior are Bypassing Congress to make new land use designations. This letter has huge ramifications for you. You must read it carefully. For understanding the threat to your private property rights, see videos below. (click map to enlarge)
The letter talks about two new Interior Department programs.
- The Wildlands Secretarial Order (3310) (PDF DOC 229.01 KB)that the House Natural Resources Committee tried to stop three years ago but it is not stopped. This is where the Interior Secretary is secretly creating Wilderness bypassing Congress.
- The second is the new National Blueways System created by a new Secretarial Order (3321)(PDF Doc 229.01 KB). You are headed for a train wreck if you fail to contact both your Senators and your Congressman about these Secretarial Orders because they may secretly be added to one of the coming Omnibus Federal Lands Bills.
Here is the letter from the House Western Caucus:
The Honorable Ken Salazar
Secretary of the Interior
Department of Interior
1849 C St NW
Washington, DC 20240
Dear Secretary Salazar:
We are contacting you regarding our serious concerns surrounding the disturbing trend by which the Department of the Interior (DOI) continues to bypass Congress, and the public, in establishing new federal designations and policies.
As you know, Congress expressed its serious reservations of the Wildlands designation through a Secretarial Order. The creation of that new federal designation was highly controversial, lacked transparency, and was legally questionable. Congress subsequently blocked funding for the Order. *However, you have never rescinded the controversial Order.*
On August 2, 2012 members of the Senate and House Western Caucuses sent you a letter expressing concerns regarding Bureau of Land Management Manuals 6310 and 6320, which mirrored the same rejected policies of Wildlands Secretarial Order 3310.
These manuals were crafted without public input or notice. These members asked you to withdraw these manuals, and set up a briefing for them. The manuals were not withdrawn, nor was the briefing request even acknowledged by your department. We would like to request once again, a briefing by DOI for our offices on the status of these BLM manuals.
Now it has come to our attention that on May 24 of last year, you signed Secretarial Order 3321 establishing the “National Blueways System.”
This system, according to the Secretarial Order would – “provide a new national emphasis on the unique value and significance of a ‘headwaters to mouth’ approach to river management and create a mechanism to encourage stakeholders to integrate their land and water stewardship efforts by adopting a watershed approach.”
The Order goes on further to state that it authorizes the establishment of an “intraagency National Blueways Committee to provide leadership, direction, and coordination to the National Blueways System.”
Despite the Order stating that “Nothing in this Order is intended to be the basis for the exercise of any new regulatory authority,” given the lack of transparency by Interior to date, this disclaimer is of little comfort to communities that will be negatively impacted by a Blueways designation.
In fact, the Order specifically injects federal agency policies and programs into the management of the designated watersheds when the Order states that: “Bureaus within Interior, to the extent permitted by law and consistent with their missions, policies, and resources, shall endeavor to align the execution of agency plans and implementation of agency programs to protect, restore, and enhance the natural, cultural, and/or recreational resources associated with designated National Blueways.”
According to the Order, it appears that any watershed in the United States could be designated without any vote in Congress and without proper public notice. The Order states that: “Following consideration of recommendations made by the Committee, the Secretary may designate the river and its associated watershed as a National Blueway that will become part of the National Blueways System.”
Water is the lifeblood of our communities, and it should be managed for the benefit of the community in a transparent fashion. While water law varies by region, non-navigable water is managed by the states, not the federal government.
Any designation by a federal agency that directly or indirectly attempts to manage the non-navigable headwaters of many of our nation’s rivers, would be a usurpation of state authority.
We urge you to immediately withdraw Secretarial Order 3321. We also encourage you to bring proposals to Congress that are creating new land and water designations so that we may consider them through the normal committee process and with public transparency.
End of Western Caucus Letter.
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<VIDEO EMBED> SEE VIDEO LINKS BELOW
Stop the Wildlands Project from Destroying Private Property
What could happen is that the Interior Department works with allies in the Senate and House to add the Wildlands Program and the National Blueways System to one of the coming Omnibus Federal Lands Bills. That is exactly how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid slipped the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) into law. Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt set it up during the Clinton Administration as a Secretarial Order.
As a reminder, the National Landscape Conservation System put a National Park like overlay over all BLM special areas like National Monuments, Wild and Scenic Rivers and areas like the Steens Mountain in Oregon thereby ignoring all the laws and special requirements and agreements covering those areas when they were created. The NLCS did a lot of damage to grazing and mining while cutting off access to millions of acres. The NLCS sat, largely dormant, until the opportunity came to sneak it into law and Harry Reid did it. That is exactly what is likely to happen to the National Wildlands Program and the new National Blueways System just set up by former Interior Secretary Salazar.
Consider this about a National Blueways System: The National Blueways System is massive in scope. It covers rivers from their mouth to their source, the whole watershed. This isn’t just about river corridors. It’s about entire river watersheds. Consider this:
- The Columbia River Watershed is over 144 million acres and covers all of Eastern Washington, Eastern Oregon all of Idaho, Western Montana and small parts of California, Utah and Wyoming.
- The size of the Mississippi watershed is almost 300 million acres.
Video Educational Series
- Region by Region
- Environmental Master Plan
- What is Greenlining
- Federal Government Role/Gap Analysis
- What Are Conservation Easments
- Where America is Headed
- What Are Roadless Areas
- Why Property Rights Matter
- Impact of Endangered Species
- What You Can do
You must defeat the National Blueways System. You can stop the National Wildlands Program. To be sure Congress does not sneak a curve ball by you, you must stop any of the small or large Omnibus Federal Lands Bills coming your way.
*Read the Action Items below carefully. *
- To create a giant Omnibus Federal Lands Bill, Harry Reid goes to each Senator to ask what bills he or she want to get passed. They give most Senators one or two bills and sometimes more.*
- Reid and other Senate Democrat leaders then combine these bills into one or more huge Omnibus Federal Lands Bills.
- Each Senator then simply looks the other way on the overall bill or bills as they come forward and does not object to bills he or she would ordinarily be opposed to. This process hurts you and gets a lot of bad legislation passed.
- This how these Secretarial Orders hurt you. First Obama or the Interior Secretary designate a program like Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt did with the National Landscape Conservation (NLCS) the 1990s.
- Then a later Congress comes along and turns that Executive Order or Secretarial Order into law, often using the Omnibus Federal Lands Bill of that year. This assembly line gradually undermines and takes away your rights and liberty as well as your private property and the use of Federal lands. This process must be stopped.
You can stop the Omnibus Federal Lands Bill.
Reid and his running buddies are going to try to trick you. They are planning to put together several smaller Omnibus bills combining 5 or 10 bills each time that would ordinarily go into a full-blown Omnibus Federal Lands bill.
They likely will not use the word Omnibus but will try to trick you and your Senators using other names to pass a series of smaller bills containing a few bills each.
You need to discuss this strategy with your Senators and the key Senators listed below and make sure they are aware of this strategy and are prepared to head it off.
Don’t think that because you have called once or twice that you are done. You must keep up the pressure*.
- Please forward this to at least 10 other people. Your whole list if possible.
- Send a copy of this e-mail or just a copy of the Western Caucus letter to both your Senators and Congressman and their staff.
- Tape a copy of this e-mail to your refrigerator door so you can remember what you need to do to defeat any Omnibus Federal Lands bill.
- Call both your Senators at (202) 224-3121. That’s the Capitol Switchboard. Ask for your Senator by name. When the office answers, ask for the person who handles Federal Lands or Natural Resources.
Ask for a commitment from your Senator to oppose any Omnibus Federal Lands Bill or mini versions with several land use or environment bills combined.
Remind the staff that Wyden, Reid and others may try to pass bills a few at a time to sneak them by you. Each bill must be considered individually on its own merits and not combined into a Legislative Stew that no one reads and few have any idea what’s inside.
5. Call your Congressman also. He or she must vote on the Omnibus Federal Lands Bill so get a commitment from his or her staff to oppose any Omnibus Federal Lands or Omnibus Environment Bill or bills. You may call any Congressman at (202) 225-3121. Follow the same instructions as above for the Senators.
Your Senator can stop this bill or bills. All he or she must do is promise the Leadership that he or she will object or filibuster the bill. That will make the bill controversial. You must make the bill controversial.
These Senators are especially important to stop any Omnibus Federal Lands bill or bills. Be sure to send a copy of the Western Caucus letter about the Wildlands Secretarial Order and the National Blueways Secretarial Order.
Key Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee – Republicans – All Senators can be reached at (202) 224-3121. Note: When sending e-mail to these staff members below, they have an underscore between their first and last name. There is no underline in the e-mail address, just the underscore.
ALEXANDER, LAMAR (TN), Staff: email@example.com – fax: 202-228-3398
BARRASSO JOHN (WY), Brian Clifford, brian_Clifford@barrasso.senate.gov– fax: -202-224-1724
COBURN, TOM (OK), Staff: firstname.lastname@example.org – fax: 202-224-6008
COLLINS, SUSAN (ME), staff: email@example.com – fax: 202-224-2693
CORKER, BOB (TN), Staff: firstname.lastname@example.org – fax: 202-228-0566
CRAPO, MICHAEL (ID), Staff: email@example.com – fax: 202-228-1375
ENZI, MICHAEL (WY), Staff: firstname.lastname@example.org fax: 202-228-0359
FLAKE, JEFF (AZ), Staff: email@example.com – fax: 202-228-0515
GRAHAM, LINDSEY (SC), Staff: firstname.lastname@example.org – fax: 202-224-3808
HATCH, ORRIN (UT), Staff: email@example.com – fax: 202-224-6331
HELLER, DEAN (NV), Staff: firstname.lastname@example.org – fax: 202-224-6244
HOEVEN, JOHN (ND), Staff: email@example.com – fax: 202-224-7999
INHOFE, JAMES (OK), Staff: firstname.lastname@example.org – fax: 202-228-0380
LEE, MIKE (UT), Staff: email@example.com – fax: 202-228-1168
MCCAIN, JOHN (AZ), Staff: firstname.lastname@example.org – fax: 202-228-2862
MURKOWSKI, LISA (AK), Staff: email@example.com – fax: 202-224-5301
PORTMAN, ROB (OH), Staff: firstname.lastname@example.org – fax: 202-224-9558
RISCH, JAMES (ID), Staff: email@example.com – fax: 202-224-2753
SCOTT, TIM (SC), Staff: firstname.lastname@example.org – fax: 202-228-1048
THUNE, JOHN (SD), Staff: email@example.com – fax: 202-228-5429
VITTER, DAVID (LA), Staff: firstname.lastname@example.org – fax: 202-228-5061
Here’s a reminder list of some of the land grab threats the Obama Administration, Senator Harry Reid and other members of Congress have planned for you.
- New Endangered Species Act Land Grab* based on habitat for the *Sage Grouse* that could take over millions of acres of like the Spotted Owl
- New National Monuments;
- New National Blueways program (More in later e-mail.)
- National Wildlands land grab;
- New Wilderness study areas:
- Treasured Landscapes Initiative;
- America’s Great Outdoors Campaign;
- New BLM Land Use Planning/Wilderness expansion; and
- Expansion of the use of Eminent domain and Condemnation.