by Lou Binninger
Everyone is talking about wild fires in the West and debating the cause, Global Warming, the End Times, a weather outlier or mismanagement of our forests. Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Everything for survival was in the garden but it was incumbent on the residents to be good stewards.
An observant person can note well-cared-for businesses, children, farms and schools and of course for many generations our forests and range lands. Farmers, foresters and ranchers believed they had a duty to care for and nurture the land and took pride in that trust.
Over the course of a century, through a series of homesteading acts – beginning with the Homestead Act of 1862, and up to and including the Stock-Raising Homestead Act of 1916 – the federal government solicited and encouraged the settlement and use of the resources out West. Rugged Americans established successful ranching and other enterprises out of the wilderness and lawless lands of earlier times. They should be revered for their bravery, resilience and hard work.
The 1916 act increased plots up to 640 acres except in lands that could be irrigated. However, in the arid West, even with available water, 640 acres lacked the capacity for raising enough stock to support a family. Ranchers needed to use forage on adjacent “unsettled” federal lands to graze livestock.
The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 created grazing allotments on such lands so ranchers could legally acquire property rights and interests in the forage and water and use the timber for improvements on the allotment.
However, after the turbulent sixties, Vietnam and Watergate, a surge of environmentalism evolved and in its extreme form considered mankind’s enterprises a violation and blight on nature. Extremists wanted the West to be literally “rewilded,” no people allowed.
In 1976, the Federal Lands Policy Management Act (FLPMA) was a declaration of war on ranchers, miners, loggers and settlers that were in generations past recruited by the same government to tame the West to utilize and manage its resources.
Unelected federal bureaucrats waged legal and regulatory war on honest Americans who in many cases had been living on, using and caring for the land for generations. With the deep pockets of the feds, government attorneys began suing, nullifying agreements and creating egregious rules to bankrupt or break the spirit of these salt-of-the-earth type people.
Many families after fighting for decades in court went broke, sold-out, or were evicted leaving the lands some had been on for over 100 years. Others ended their lives. For bureaucrats these victories were celebrated as notches on their “save-the-earth” belts.
Although thousands of families have been devastated most people are now familiar with the Dwight and Steven Hammond families in Oregon, the Bundy and Hage families of Nevada and the political assassination by law enforcement of rancher Levoy Finicum in Oregon. They have all been trashed by the media fake news and in courtrooms as criminals.
President Trump recently pardoned the Hammonds. The government was found criminally at fault in the prosecution of the Bundys in two separate cases. And law enforcement personnel should go to prison for Finicum’s murder.
In destroying family after family the government was found to have lied, cheated, harassed, bullied, withheld evidence....and exhibited “flagrant and willful misconduct.” The behavior has been despicable and tyrannical.
The government colluded with environmental groups to “sue and settle” with agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create more caustic regulations, steal tax dollars and ruin the livelihoods of good people. Loggers were forced off lands because of a bird by faux scientists using nonsensical arguments. Farms were abandoned in Central California after one judge diverted water rights to a fish in the Delta. Entire towns were shuttered and families lost their living.
The rewilded, ignored, over-grown and unmanaged forests and grazing lands have become infernos incinerating everything due to these insane liberal policies. Properly managed and thinned forests and lands occasionally ignite but they lack the fuel of thick undergrowth and dense tree stands to create an ecological Armageddon.
We now have an unmanageable 2 million federal employees who have created 90,000 rules and regulations since 1995. If you are reading this you are in violation of a number of them today. As the government grows, your freedom shrinks. President Regan often said, “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”
As devastation, ash and foul air have your attention it is brought to you courtesy of the liberal swamp and its environmentalist cousins.