India Orders ‘staggering’ Eviction Of 1 Million Indigenous People To Save Wildlife

Misguided Technocrats place people on a lower plane than animals and have no problem moving 1 million people to make way for the ecology. The people being moved have no power to resist.⁃ TN Editor

India’s Supreme Court has ordered its government to evict a million people from their homes – for the good of the country’s wildlife.

The ruling, issued Wednesday, was a startling conclusion to a decade-long case that has pitted the rights of some of India’s most vulnerable citizens against the preservation of its forests.

The court told the government to evict over a million people – mostly members of indigenous tribes – from their homes in public forest land because they had not met the legal criterion to live there.

With over 700 tribal groups, India is home to over 100 million indigenous people. While the forest land is legally controlled by the government, people have lived in such areas for centuries.

A landmark law passed in 2006 gave legal rights over forest land and its produce to tribes and forest-dwelling communities provided they could prove that their families have stayed there for at least three generations.

The battle for mineral-rich forest land is not new in India. The ruling is the latest flash point in the competing interests of industry, wildlife conservationists and forest communities.

In the last 30 years, the government has diverted 5,400 square miles of forest land, the size of Connecticut, for industrial projects – many of which were opposed by the indigenous people. Wildlife groups contend that granting “wide-ranging” rights to people on forest land leads to fragmentation of forests at a time when the country’s forest cover is shrinking. Critics, however, say that neither accounts for the rights of the indigenous people who rely on the forest for daily needs and for their livelihood.

Now the court says that those whose claims were rejected must go – by July 27. The number of affected people is estimated to go up to 1.89 million when more states comply with the order.

Human rights groups and activists were stunned by the ruling. Nicholas Dawes, the acting managing director of Human Rights Watch, wrote that it had “staggering” implications for India’s most marginalized.

Forest Rights Alliance, a grassroots advocacy group, called the judgment “draconian.” Another group advocating for the rights of forest dwellers, the Campaign for Survival and Dignity, called the order a “major blow.” It also noted that thousands of claims for land rights under the law – the Forest Rights Act – get “wrongly rejected.”

Read full story here…




California Looking To Be First State To Mandate Solar Panels On New Homes

Radical environmentalists are asserting themselves again in California as they seek to mandate solar panels for all new homes, which could cost up to $30,000 more per unit. The Technocrat mindset is that there is a scientific solution to every conceivable problem, but personal freedom of choice does not enter their mind. ⁃ TN Editor

For seven years, a handful of homebuilders offered solar as an optional item to buyers willing to pay extra to go green.

Now, California is on the verge of making solar standard on virtually every new home built in the Golden State.

The California Energy Commission is scheduled to vote Wednesday, May 9, on new energy standards mandating most new homes have solar panels starting in 2020.

If approved as expected, solar installations on new homes will skyrocket.

Just 15 percent to 20 percent of new single-family homes built include solar, according to Bob Raymer, technical director for the California Building Industry Association.

“California is about to take a quantum leap in energy standards,” Raymer said. “No other state in the nation mandates solar, and we are about to take that leap.”

The proposed new rules would deviate slightly from another much-heralded objective: Requiring all new homes be “net-zero,” meaning they would produce enough solar power to offset all electricity and natural gas consumed over the course of a year.

New thinking has made that goal obsolete, state officials say. True “zero-net-energy” homes still rely on the electric power grid at night, they explained, a time when more generating plants come online using fossil fuels to generate power.

“Zero net energy isn’t enough,” said Andrew McAllister, one of five state energy commissioners voting on the new homebuilding standards. “If we pursue (zero net energy) as a comprehensive policy, we’d be making investments that would be somewhat out of touch with our long-term goals.”

While environmentalists and homebuilders praised the new standards, the proposed rules have some detractors who still support net-zero goals.

“We’re happy they’re making good progress,” said Kelly Knutsen, technology advancement director for the California Solar and Storage Association, a solar-industry group. “We wish they would go further. There’s always compromises.”

All-electric homes

In addition to widespread adoption of solar power, the new provisions include a push to increase battery storage and increase reliance on electricity over natural gas. Among the highlights:

  • The new solar mandate would apply to all houses, condos and apartment buildings up to three stories tall that obtain building permits after Jan. 1, 2020.
  • Exceptions or alternatives will be allowed when homes are shaded by trees or buildings or when the home’s roofs are too small to accommodate solar panels.
  • Solar arrays can be smaller because homes won’t have to achieve true net-zero status.
  • Builders installing batteries like the Tesla Powerwall would get “compliance credits,” allowing them to further reduce the size of the solar system.
  • Provisions will encourage more electric use or even all-electric homes to reduce natural gas consumption. State officials say improved technology is making electric water heaters increasingly cost-effective.

The mandate dates back to 2007 when the state energy commission adopted the goal of making homebuilding so efficient “newly constructed buildings can be net zero energy by 2020 for residences and by 2030 for commercial buildings.”

Read full story here…




UN Report: Better Land Use And Management Critical To 2030 Agenda

The data behind this UN report is full of the typical fabrications of data and facts. It would lead you to think that trees are running out and we will all die of oxygen deprivation. However, a 2011 study demonstrated that the U.S. had more trees than it had 100 years ago. In the heavily populated eastern U.S., forest growth was 380 percent greater than in 1920.  TN Editor

Consumption of the earth’s natural reserves has doubled in the last 30 years, with a third of the planet’s land now severely degraded. Each year, we lose 15 billion trees and 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil. Smallholder farmers, women and indigenous communities are the most vulnerable, given their reliance on land-based resources, compounded by their exclusion from wider infrastructure and economic development,” according to the new publication, The Global Land Outlook (GLO), launched today, at the 13th meeting of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Ordos, China.

Currently, more than 1.3 billion people are trapped on degrading agricultural land, drastically increasing competition for crucial ecosystem services such as food, water and energy. The GLO draws on an analysis of recent trends in land productivity and modelling of land demand scenarios up to the year 2050. It outlines how reversing trends in the condition of land resources could accelerate efforts to achieve many of the Sustainable Development Goals, by adopting more efficient planning and sustainable practices.

Speaking at the launch, UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut said, “land degradation and drought are global challenges and intimately linked to most, if not all aspects of human security and well-being – food security, employment and migration, in particular.”

“As the ready supply of healthy and productive land dries up and the population grows, competition is intensifying, for land within countries and globally. As the competition increases, there are winners and losers. To minimize the losses, The Outlook suggests it is in all our interests to step back and rethink how we are managing the pressures and the competition. The Outlook presents a vision for transforming the way in which we use and manage land because we are all decision-makers and our choices can make a difference – even small steps matter,” she further added.

Welcoming the UNCCD’s new flagship publication, Mr. Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator stated, “over 250 million people are directly affected by desertification, and about one billion people in over one hundred countries are at risk. They include many of the world‘s poorest and most marginalized people. Achieving land degradation neutrality can provide a healthy and productive life for all on Earth, including water and food security. The Global Land Outlook shows that each of us can in fact make a difference, and I hope that in the next edition we are able to tell even more stories of better land use and management.”

This landmark publication on the current and future state of the world’s land resources is the first in-depth analysis of the multiple functions of the land viewed from a wide range of interrelated sectors and thematic areas, such as the food-water-land nexus, as well as the ‘less obvious’ drivers of land use change, notably the nature of economic growth, consumer choice and global trade patterns. Crucially, the report examines a growing disconnect between the financial and socio-economic values of the land and how this affects the poor.

The first edition of the GLO was published by the UNCCD secretariat with the support of numerous partners, including the European Commission, the Governments of Korea, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and UNDP. It is available in both print and digital formats on a dedicated web platform.

Read full article here…




Federally Controlled Land

Obama’s Historic Land Grab: 553 Million Acres For ‘Conservation’

Technocracy as a resource-based economic system, intends to place all land resources into a global common trust to be ‘administered’ by Technocrat scientists and engineers. This land-grab scam is always passed off on Sustainable Development, Green Economy or Conservation. But, Sustainable Development IS Technocracy!  TN Editor

President Barack Obama decreed two more national monuments from his vacation home in Hawaii on Wednesday, taking 1.65 million more acres of Western land for management by the federal government.

The new Bear Ears Buttes monument includes 1.35 million acres of Utah and the Gold Butte monument includes about 300,000 acres in Nevada.

That makes a total of 553 million acres of national lands and waters that Obama has repurposed for conservation and protection using the 1906 Antiquities act, more than any other president, according to the New York Times. More than 80 percent of Nevada and about 65 percent or Utah is owned by the federal government, according to National Public Radio.

Utah Republican leaders in Congress were furious after Obama decided to designate the controversial Bear Ears monument.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKjjTa2cL2A

“This arrogant act by a lame duck president will not stand,” Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee responded in a statement. “I will work tirelessly with Congress and the incoming Trump administration to honor the will of the people of Utah and undo this designation.”

A November poll of Utah residents showed that 60 percent were opposed to the idea and only 33 percent supported it.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz was also furious.

“The midnight move is a slap in the face to the people of Utah, attempting to silence the voices of those who will bear the heavy burden it imposes,” he wrote, calling Obama’s actions a “major break with protocol” because it did not have the support of Utah’s Governor, the state’s Congressional delegation, nor local elected officials or state legislators who represented the area.

Obama has used his power to create 29 separate national monuments, using the Antiquities Act, but the Washington Post reports that he is expected to create one or two more in order to match or beat Franklin D. Roosevelt’s record of 30 designations.

Read full story here…




New Orleans

Technocrats Seek To Replace Certain Democratic Processes In New Orleans

Read to the bottom: “The ‘experts’ get to make the decisions, and if the public misses their chance to provide input, they should have been paying closer attention.”  TN Editor

Technocrat. Noun. An obscure insult used to describe a politician who promotes progress through innovation and technology at the expense of the way things have always been done. The term is most often seen on the left or liberal side of the political spectrum to describe Democratic elected officials deemed insufficiently protective of liberal or progressive interests and who attend the Aspen Institute a few times too many.

That’s a little tongue in cheek as far as definitions go, but that’s the context surrounding the term when I see it. And I see it used on Twitter or elsewhere on social media, usually within a wonky discussion of some obscure policy point. Kind of ironic if you think about it too hard.

Which is a long way to say I thought “technocrat” was one of those made-up words that only mean anything to people who already agree with one another. Whenever I’d see it, I would roll my eyes and stop listening. Like baseball fans getting deep into the weeds about the meaning of a pitcher’s ERA or the finer points of discussion you hear when football fans talk about QB rating by quarter – obviously, it is time to change the subject on whatever we’re talking about and find another beer.

But I found the term “technocrat” popping into my head the other day as I was looking over Master Plan amendments proposed by the Mayor’s Office. If you haven’t had a chance to wade through all the Master Plan amendments proposed for your New Orleans neighborhood – probably because you have something called a “social life” – you may want to take a few minutes and go through them and see what the powers that be would like to do with your city.

Of particular interest to me are the amendments proposed to Chapter 15 of the Master Plan.

Chapter 15 is the part of the Master Plan that says citizens of New Orleans should be notified about proposed land use and zoning issues in their community, informed of what those proposals mean, and have a chance to offer their opinions to city decision-makers throughout the decision-making process. If that sounds like a wonderful, Norman Rockwell version of How Democracy Works in America, that’s what it is. Or should be.

As you may have guessed, the reality is quite different. The system we have now is wholly dependent on citizens volunteering their free time to figure out what it is all the paid experts and investors are talking about when they make land use decisions.

Do you ever get a letter in the mail about some development taking place nearby your house? They usually involve a proposal for a variance or conditional use, maybe a zoning change. There’s usually an alphabet soup of zoning designations that you may have heard about before, but aren’t really sure what they mean. Sometimes these proposals are just your neighbors looking to build a shed. Other times, they’re developers proposing something that sounds nice, like a coffee shop or some nice place families can live. If you go to a neighborhood meeting about it, they say something about how what they’re doing is “fixing a mistake made by the city” or how their intention is to “provide improvements to the community.” They’re only ever here to help out, you know. The only people you know complaining about it are the “crazy NIMBY neighbors” who just sound like they hate everything. Your natural human reaction is to say “sure, this development sounds cool, I’m sure everything’s on the up and up.” You toss the notification in the recycling and don’t think a thing about it.

Then two months later you hear about how someone’s tearing down a building that has been around forever and putting up 400 apartments. Or maybe they’re dropping a six-story building in among all the shotgun doubles down the street from your house. Here’s where they’re putting 5,000 square feet of commercial space and they don’t have to provide any parking. There’s going to be a new restaurant that serves alcohol until 2AM. Suddenly, you and a bunch of neighbors are mad, because you’ve never heard about the details of what they’re planning to do. The thing you did hear about wasn’t what you thought you’d heard, and you feel lied to.

That’s the system we currently have because we didn’t do what the Master Plan asked for. If we had, there would be members of your community who could help explain exactly what was being proposed and facilitate community understanding of the rules so you and your neighbors could make an informed decision based on more than the official notification you get in the mail. You’d still have to participate in the process on your own time, but it may not feel like you’re wasting that time.

We don’t have that because doing what the Master Plan asks would cost money. And New Orleans doesn’t have a lot of money. Instead of intentionally building a well-informed citizenry who feel confident in the process and know what questions need to be asked, we have a patchwork of volunteers at the neighborhood level trying to keep up with everything that is going on. Down on Perdido Street, the City Planning staff and the Neighborhood Engagement Office and staff in the City Council members’ offices do what they can to help out when neighborhood volunteers start asking questions, but they’re all stretched pretty thin. There are only so many hours in the day, developer requests are endless, and it is difficult for unpaid neighborhood volunteers to know the right questions to ask.

What that means is neighbors sometimes get the old City Hall Surprise I’ve written about before, where they only find out about some development near their home at the tail end of the process, after months of work has already been done. Official notice has been mailed, news was reported in local outlets, and neighborhood volunteers have tried to tell folks what’s going on. City Planning published their report and approved the plan. City Council is getting ready to hear it, but now everyone’s getting yelled at by the neighbors, so the decision gets postponed. And postponed. And postponed. Now everyone’s doing more work and it is costing everyone more money and time.

Democracy based on public participation is a messy, messy thing. It can be confusing and infuriating for residents and embarrassing to decision makers. It can be hard to keep up with. It can be very hard to manage on a shoestring budget. To work, it requires citizens give up their free time, inform themselves at their own expense, and grapple with complex and often controversial issues. Like Fight Club, democracy requires you determine your own level of involvement. For a bunch of folks, that level of involvement means not involved.

But a non-involved public grinds participatory democracy to a halt.

And that’s where the technocracy comes in. Instead of waiting on the public to get involved, technocrats consolidate and automate the process. The “experts” get to make the decisions, and if the public misses their chance to provide input, they should have been paying closer attention. Technocratic solutions remove the mess of democracy and make things easier, quicker, and cheaper for those who are most invested and connected and knowledgeable about the process. If the voters don’t like it, they can participate on election day – if they even show up to the polls.

Proposed amendments to Chapter 15 double down on resident non-participation by consolidating the big, messy, difficult democratic process into management by one small office at City Hall. Even if every city employee in that office has the best of intentions at heart, how long will it be before the sheer weight of this process demands less access from the public, and more decision making at the top?

Read full story here…




BLM Board Condemns 45,000 Wild Horses To Death Or Banishment

Unlike wolves, horses do not wantonly kill and eat cattle, sheep, elk and other wildlife; however, they are native to America, and a national treasure of biodiversity. You will never hear any government land management group say, “Kill all the grey wolves.” So, what gives here? Where is the love for biodiversity?

This dichotomy proves the scam that the BLM (et. al.) simply wants every inconvenient thing off ‘their’ land. The wolves and grizzly bears that they have methodically planted are a natural cleanser of the land – they scare people away, drive ranchers out of business and eat other wild game with abandon. When all that is accomplished, the wolves will be marked for extinction just like the horses.  TN Editor

The U.S. government is coming under fire from animal rights activists amid concerns that almost 45,000 wild horses could be euthanized in an attempt to control their numbers.

Last week the Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board recommended that the Bureau euthanize or sell “without limitation” excess “unadoptable” horses and burros in the BLM’s off-range corrals and pastures.

An “unadoptable” horse or burro is typically at least 5 years old, making them less attractive for purchase or adoption. The bureau has more than 44,000 horses and more than 1,000 burros in off-range pastures and corrals.

The recommendation prompted an angry response from The Humane Society of the United States. “The decision of the BLM advisory board to recommend the destruction of the 45,000 wild horses currently in holding facilities is a complete abdication of responsibility for their care,” said Humane Society Senior Vice President of Programs & Innovations Holly Hazard, in a statement.

Under the terms of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM manages, protects and controls wild horses and burros. The law authorizes the agency to move wild horses and burros off ranges to sustain the health of public lands. In addition to the off-range animals, the bureau estimates that more than 67,000 wild horses and burros are roaming on BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states.

With virtually no natural predators, wild horse and burro herd sizes can double about every four years, which means that thousands of the animals are removed from the range each year to control herd sizes and protect the land. The BLM has its own off-range holding corrals in states such as Nevada and California, as well as contracts with private ranches in locations such as Kansas and Oklahoma.

The Bureau has not yet made a formal response to the board’s recommendation, although, in a statement, it said that it will continue to care and seek good homes for animals that have been removed from the range. “What this means is that we will continue with our current policy, which is not to sell or send wild horses or burros to slaughter,” it said.

Read full story here…




The Trap Is Set: Governments Exploring ‘Debt For Land’ Swaps With World Bank

TN Note: Or is it the other way around? That is, World Bank exploring Swaps with debt-laden countries. The only countries that may apply are those who are actively sworn to implement and support Sustainable Development. The World Bank calls these ‘conditionalities’ and they are nothing short of extortion to force countries to change policies against their will. In this case, Jamaica does not realize that they are playing right into the spider’s web that may well spell their ultimate demise as a nation. As to the global elite, this is nothing short of a brazen land grab that includes valuable resources to be locked up and away from public use.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the government is exploring with the World Bank an innovative debt swap initiative to improve Jamaica’s debt profile.

He says it’s part of the government’s active debt management strategy.

Holness made the announcement at a press conference at the annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank last evening, following discussions with World Bank Vice-President Jorge Familiar.

“We have endorsed the idea of debt-for-policy swaps.  And I will be speaking more about that in my budget presentation. But you can imagine what that means.  It is a way of rewarding countries that have a high debt profile, who take on new, bold initiatives to preserve the environment on issues such as climate change,” the Prime Minister says.

“Already there is a mode globally, as to how you can incentivise countries that adopt policies that are aligned with environmental preservation and managing climate change, and a debt-for-policy swap could be one way.  The level of significance of this is to be determined, but certainly it is worth exploring,” he adds.

Holness says all options for bringing down the national debt, will be explored in order to create more space for investments and that the CDB meeting platform was used to put those issues before the international community.

“It is not just a debt-for-policy swap on nature.  But then you start to look at other things, debt for equity, for example, debt-for-land swap …,” he says.

In the meantime, Holness says the World Bank has also agreed to develop a new project to support credit to small- and medium-sized enterprises.

He says the World Bank has also agreed to innovative financing initiatives, including a debt for nature and resilience swap and a policy based guarantee, for Jamaica.

Also speaking at the press conference Finance Minister Audley Shaw said the Government has had fruitful discussions with the Caribbean Development Bank, in relation to support for increasing public-private partnerships aimed at facilitating private sector growth and efficiency.

Shaw says it’s time to stop giving lip service to public-private partnerships and the multilateral organisations have a key role in that.

He argues that they have a catalytic role to play in governments working closely with the private sector to get things done.




Technocrats Surge Ahead: Major Regulatory Expansion Of ESA Listing And Critical Habitat Designations

TN Note: Technocrats within government agencies create prejudicial regulations, using pseudo-science to justify or rationalize their over-reach. They are unelected and unaccountable, yet they are singularly responsible for pushing America down the rat-hole of environmentalism. Land-use abuse is encouraged by Technocracy because traditional private property rights are viewed as archaic and outdated. America should collectively say “Stop!” before we are crushed beyond recovery.

While private property owners were vehemently protesting the EPA’s expansion of jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA-Fisheries (collectively “FWS”) were bit-by-bit expanding the federal government’s overreach on private property rights and federal grazing permits through the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). This expansion is embodied in the release of four separate final rules and two final policies that the FWS admits will result in listing more species and expanding designated critical habitat.

In order to understand the expansiveness of the new policies and regulations, a short discussion of the previous regulations may help. Prior to the Obama changes, a species was listed as threatened or endangered based upon the “best scientific and commercial data available.”1 With regard to species that are potentially threatened or endangered “throughout a significant portion of its range” but not ALL of the species’ range, only those species within that “significant portion of the range” are listed, not all species throughout the entire range.

Once the listing was completed, the FWS is mandated to designate critical habitat. Critical habitat is generally habitat upon which the species depends for survival. Importantly critical habitat can include both private and/or federal land and water. Critical habitat is to be based upon the “best scientific and commercial data available” and is to include the “primary constituent elements” (“PCEs”) for the species. PCEs are the elements the species needs for breeding, feeding and sheltering. Final critical habitat designations are to be published with legal descriptions so that private landowners would know whether their private property or water was within or outside designated boundaries. Critical habitat designations are also made with consideration of the economic impacts. Under the ESA, although the FWS cannot consider the economic impacts of listing a species, all other economic impacts are to be considered when designating critical habitat, and if the economic impacts in an area are too great, the area could be excluded as critical habitat as long as the exclusion did not cause extinction of the species.

With regard to the critical habitat designation itself, critical habitat determinations were made in two stages. First, the FWS considers the currently occupied habitat and determine if that habitat (1) contains the PCEs for the species and (2) is sufficient for protection of the species. Second, the FWS looks at the unoccupied habitat for the species and makes the same determinations, i.e., (1) whether areas of unoccupied habitat contain the necessary PCEs and (2) if including this additional land or water as critical habitat was necessary for protection of the species. The FWS then considers whether the economic costs of including some of the areas are so high, that the areas should be excluded from the critical habitat designation. In simplest terms, the FWS would weigh or balance the benefits of designation of certain areas of critical habitat against the regulatory burdens and economic costs of designation, and could exclude discreet areas from a critical habitat designation so long as exclusion did not cause species extinction. This was called the “exclusion analysis.”

Starting with a new 2012 rule and extending to the 2015 rules and policy, those considerations have all changed, and in fact the FWS has admitted that the new rules will result in more land and water being included in critical habitat designations. The first major change is the inclusion of “the principals of conservation biology” as part of the “best scientific and commercial data available.” Conservation biology was not created until the 1980s and has been described by some scientists as “agenda-driven” or “goaloriented” biology. See Final Rule, Implementing Changes to the Regulations for Designating Critical Habitat, February 11, 2016.

Second, the new Obama policy has changed regarding a listing species “throughout a significant portion of its range.” Now rather than listing species within the range where the problem lies, all species throughout the entire range will be listed as threatened or endangered. See Final Policy, Interpretation of the Phrase “Significant Portion of its Range,” July 1, 2014.

Third, based upon the principals of conservation biology, including indirect or circumstantial information, critical habitat designations will be greatly expanded. Under the new regulations, the FWS will initially consider designation of both occupied and unoccupied habitat, including habitat with POTENTIAL PCEs. In other words, not only is the FWS considering habitat that is or may be used by the species, the FWS will consider habitat that may develop PCEs sometime in the future. There is no time limit on when such future development of PCEs will occur, or what types of events have to occur so that the habitat will develop PCEs. The FWS will then look outside occupied and unoccupied habitat to decide if the habitat will develop PCEs in the future and should be designated as critical habitat now. The FWS has determined that critical habitat can include temporary or periodic habitat, ephemeral habitat, potential habitat and migratory habitat, even if that habitat is currently unusable by the species. See Final Rule, Implementing Changes to Regulations for Designating Critical Habitat, February 11, 2016.

Fourth the FWS has also determined that it will no longer publish the text or legal descriptions or GIS coordinates for critical habitat, rather it will only publish maps of the critical habitat designation. Given the small size of the Federal Register, I do not think this will adequately notify landowners whether their private property is included or excluded from a critical habitat designation. See Final Rule, “Revised Implementing Regulations for Requirements to Publish Textual Description of Boundaries of Critical Habitat,” May 1, 2012.

Fifth, the FWS has significantly limited what economic impacts are considered as part of the critical habitat designation. According to a Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, although the economic impacts are not to be considered as part of the listing process, once a species was listed, if the FWS could not determine whether the economic impact came from listing OR critical habitat, the cost should be included in the economic analysis. In other words, only those costs that were solely based on listing were excluded from the economic analysis. In contrast, the Ninth Circuit Court took the opposite view and determined that only economic costs that were SOLELY attributable to critical habitat designations were to be included. Rather than requesting the U.S. Supreme Court make a consistent ruling among the courts, the FWS simply recognized this circuit split for almost 15 years. However, on August 28, 2013, the FWS issued a final rule that determined that the Ninth Circuit Court was “correct,” and regulatorily determined that ONLY economic costs attributable SOLELY to the critical habitat designation would be analyzed. This rule substantially reduces the determination of the cost of critical habitat designation because the FWS can claim that almost all costs are based on the listing of the species because if not for the listing, there would be no need for critical habitat. See Final Rule, Revisions to the Regulations for Impact Analysis of Critical Habitat, August 28, 2013.

Sixth, the FWS has determined that while completing the economic analysis is mandatory, the consideration of whether habitat should be excluded based on economic considerations is discretionary. In other words, under the new policy, the FWS is no longer required to consider whether areas should be excluded from critical habitat designation based upon economic costs and burdens. See Final Policy Regarding Implementation of Section 4(b)(2) of the Endangered Species Act, February 11, 2016.

The problem with these new rules is what it means if private property (or federal lands) are designated as critical habitat or the designated habitat only has the potential to develop PCEs. Even if the species is not present in the designated critical habitat, a “take” of a species can occur through “adverse modification of critical habitat.” For private land, that may include stopping stream diversions because the water is needed in downstream critical habitat for a fish species, or that haying practices (such as cutting of invasive species to protect hay fields) are stopped because it will prevent the area from developing PCEs in the future that may support a species. It could include stopping someone from putting on fertilizer or doing other crop management on a farm field because of a concern with runoff into downstream designated habitat. Designation of an area as critical habitat (even if that area does not contain PCEs now) will absolutely require more federal permitting (i.e. section 7 consultation) for things like crop plans, or conservation plans or anything else requiring a federal permit. In fact, one of the new regulations issued by Obama concludes that “adverse modification of critical habitat” can include “alteration of the quantity or quality” of habitat that precludes or “significantly delays” the capacity of the habitat to develop PCEs over time. See Final Rule, “Definition of Destruction or Adverse Modification of Critical Habitat,” February 11, 2016.

While the agriculture community raised a huge alarm over the “waters of the U.S.,” the FWS was quietly implementing these new rules, in a piecemeal manner, without a lot of fanfare. Honestly I think these new habitat rules will have as great or greater impact on the private lands and federal land permits as does the Ditch Rule and I would hope that the outcry from the agriculture community, private property advocates, and our Congressional delegations
would be as great.




Green Activists Demand Right To Trespass On Your Land

TN Note: In the quest to drive rural ranchers and farmers off of their land, radical environmentalists have long believed they had the right to trespass, without the property owner’s knowledge, in order to collect evidence of environmental wrongdoing. Such ‘evidence’ was then used to file costly lawsuits against the land owner. Wyoming specifically outlawed this practice but now Wyoming is being sued by the same people to force a reversal.

Two recently adopted Wyoming statutes, designed to protect farmers and ranchers from “environmental monitoring” of their property by green activists, are now being challenged in court by the very group whose actions on private land inspired passage of the laws.

In 2014, over a dozen ranchers sued the Western Watershed Project (WWP), saying the Idaho-based group had repeatedly trespassed on their property despite direct instructions and plainly written signage to stay off private land. According to the lawsuit, WWP’s trespasses began in 2005 and were undertaken under the pretext of gathering water-quality samples to check for pollution.

“Landowners are not comfortable having an extreme biased organization that has not demonstrated the professional qualifications to collect credible data trespassing their lands.” Cheyenne-based attorney Karen Budd-Falen said at the time the suit was filed. The case is still in litigation.

WWP has denied the allegations, claiming that it found elevated levels of E. coli in water samples it tested and submitted to state environmental officials. As a result of WWP’s submissions, three streams near where the samples were taken were listed as “impaired.” However, confirming the assessment of Budd-Falen, state officials later withdrew the designations, saying the data collected by WWP were not credible.

Outrage over widespread reports of trespassing on rural property, together with the dismissal of WWP’s water-quality data by Wyoming officials, prompted legislators last year to pass two new trespassing bills, both of which were signed into law by Republican Gov. Matt mead. “Under the previous trespass laws, the burden was on the landowner to show that people were trespassing and some of our courts were not prosecuting,” Brett Moline, director of public and governmental affairs for the Wyoming Farm Bureau, which supports the new laws, told the Wall Street Journal (Feb.19). Moline says the new laws put the burden on the person collecting data to know when he or she is on private land

Read full story here…

 




The Manic Drive To Return Land To Nature While Destroying Agriculture

Since 1992, war on agriculture and food production in the United States has been under fierce attack, but the greatest heat has been felt in the West.

Ranchers have had their long-existing grazing and water rights methodically stripped away on Federal land. Farmers have been relentlessly sued by environmental groups and over-regulated by the government.

The so-called Sagebrush Rebellion was just gaining momentum when Ronald Reagan was elected in 1979. As a Westerner, even Reagan counted himself part of the Rebellion.

At the heart of the early stages of the Sagebrush Rebellion was the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In the 35 years since 1979, the USFS and BLM have steadily advanced like a Sherman tank, treading over any who would resist and destroying any who would actually attack.

An ignorant and apathetic public never came to the aid of their beleaguered brethren, leaving them to crushing machine of the Federal government. This could change shortly, because the recent Bundy (Nevada) and Hammond (Oregon) confrontations have raised public awareness of the resurgent Sagebrush Rebellion.

Courtesy of American Land Foundation

Courtesy of American Land Foundation

The larger picture is seen with the U.N.’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which was opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro in June 1992. The Earth Summit also codified and produced Agenda 21 (Agenda for the 21st Century).

President Clinton signed the CBD treaty on 04 June 1993, but ratification was flatly rejected by the Senate after the above map was introduced on the Senate floor. However, ratification aside, the Executive Branch has steadfastly prosecuted the CBD’s policies and agenda until the present, primarily through operations of the BLM and USFS.

Who has mostly felt the increasing pressure of the BLM and USFS?  Ranchers, farmers and anyone else who creates wealth from the land (lumber, mining, etc.).

This writer has thoroughly documented the connection between Technocracy, the Trilateral Commission and the United Nations’ Agenda 21/2030 Agenda plan for the world. The CBD is a central component to the transformation process sought by Technocracy: to return arable land to wilderness state and to drive rural populations into mega-cities where they can more easily be managed. (See Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation)

While the Sagebrush Rebellion has a name and increasing pubic visibility, agricultural farmers are not so fortunate. A recent press release from the National Alliance for Environmental Reform (NAER) seeks to rectify that:

Powerful new film documents devastating impact of
environmental lawsuit abuse on California’s Central Valley

SACRAMENTO, CA — The National Alliance for Environmental Reform (NAER) today released a “powerful and provocative” new documentary film entitled “Dead Harvest,” about the devastating impact federal laws and environmental lawsuits restricting water are having on farms, towns and agricultural workers in California’s Central Valley, and increasingly on the state’s urban areas.

Written and directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Ray McNally, “Dead Harvest” can be viewed at www.NAER.info.

“California’s Central Valley is the most abundant and productive agricultural land in the world,” said NAER board member Jack Stewart, who recently retired as president of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association.

“From fruits, nuts and vegetables, to beef, milk and cheese, a quarter of America’s food is produced here — and yet nearly a million acres have already been forced out of production because of a relentless onslaught of lawsuits filed by environmental groups that want to return large portions of the valley to desert by cutting off its water,” said Stewart.

“Despite costing thousands of jobs and billions in lost economic activity, virtually no one living outside the valley knows what’s happening here,” said Stewart. “‘Dead Harvest’ brings the crisis to life, detailing the devastating human and economic cost of these lawsuits, the hypocrisy of those filing them, and the damage they’re doing to California’s economy.

“It’s a powerful and provocative story that’s finally being told.”

The following film is highly recommended: