PART 1 - THE THREAT
by Jim Beers
February 21, 2003
This is part one of a series.
The similarities today between something called Invasive Species and Endangered Species back in the early 70's is eerie. In both instances a Republican President is attempting to deal with a war while Democrats attack every move he makes. Demonstrations by radicals clamor on the evening news with no reasonable alternatives offered save overthrow of the Republicans. Environmentalists both in the Federal agencies and in the powerful environmental lobby groups attack and undercut the President while offering the possibility of supporting him if only he will support a new program that will save plants and animals and surely generate the votes needed for reelection.
In the early 1970's Department of the Interior (where I worked) a Green Assistant Secretary worked with these environmentalists while overseeing a well-credentialed Director of the US Fish & Wildlife Service who walked a fine line as a salesman for Endangered Species while trying unsuccessfully to maintain a workable wildlife management regime. Today, a Green Secretary of the Interior similarly courts environmentalists while using the credentials and reputation of a US Fish & Wildlife Service Director to assure us of the "need" to Federalize Invasive Species.
This Federal power expansion will undoubtedly mushroom to cover things which, when I mention them, will cause you to snicker and ask yourself how could anyone imagine such stuff? Well, you would have said the same thing in 1972 if I had said that the Endangered Species Act would lead to:
-taking property without compensation;
-the listing of subspecies, races, populations, subpopulations, and distinct population segments:
-the elimination of logging and ranching over wide areas;
-the forced reintroduction of wolves and grizzly bears for which the "reintroducers" are
not responsible unless someone disturbs them;
-the eradication of needed public works projects to "save" flies and toads;
-the death of citizens due to flooding caused by bushes growing on a dam and "needed" for an insect;
-the elimination of big game herds for wolf food or the elimination of thousands of miles of stream sport fisheries for an undesirable trout;
-the perversion of biological classification so that academic specialists can obtain grants and career enhancements;
-creation of the largest budget and power increase for Federal bureaucrats to date;
-the litmus test of environmental bona fides for politicians seeking reelection;
-the greatest power source ever devised for environmentalists to stop everything from energy development to hunting and wildlife management .. I could go on but space is limited.
Invasive Species is a Federal proposal that will expand and steadily eliminate the rights of property owners, the authorities of state governments, the legitimate activities of Americans, and a host of other abuses. It is just like the Endangered Species Act in this respect and it will be expanded and abused even quicker because of the experience of the past thirty years gained by bureaucrats, politicians, academicians, and non-governmental organizations.
Back in the early 70's I was too dumb to see where all this was going. None of the people I knew, who did know, ever said a word. They simply clipped coupons for their own careers and pay. What I intend to do is write a series of articles on Invasive Species based on the history of the Endangered Species Act. I propose to discuss Invasive Species in a series of short, direct articles. A range of subjects will be covered from the history, biology, and politics of Invasive Species to the Interest Groups, legalities, and both the intended and unintended consequences that will result. All the usual conflicts (East v. West, urban v. rural, Feds v. states, academics v. working men & women, bureaucrats and politicians v. property owners and outdoorsmen, environmentalists & animal righters v. recreationists and businessmen) are present and need to be understood.
The Bush Administration is currently "exploring" an Invasive Species Program. Invasive Species will soon begin affecting all of us from boaters and outdoorsmen to gardeners and taxpayers. The time to learn about it is now. The time to do something about it is before it gets passed and underway. I hope to tell you what you can do and why you should do it.
Thank you for your interest in the past and I hope these articles will prove useful to all of us.
Jim Beers is a 33 year veteran of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and a great advocate of private property rights.
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