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  US Wildlands ProjectAdministration 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. 

  1. 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. 
  2. 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 *However, you have never rescinded the controversial Order.* 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 The manuals were not withdrawn, nor was the briefing request even acknowledged by your department.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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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: 

  1. 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. 
  2. The size of the Mississippi watershed is almost 300 million acres. 

Video Educational Series

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. *   

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*.   

Action Items:

  1. Please forward this to at least 10 other people. Your whole list if possible.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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: -- fax: 202-228-3398

BARRASSO JOHN (WY), Brian Clifford, fax: -202-224-1724 

COBURN, TOM (OK), Staff: -- fax: 202-224-6008

COLLINS, SUSAN (ME), staff: -- fax: 202-224-2693 

CORKER, BOB (TN), Staff: -- fax: 202-228-0566 

CRAPO, MICHAEL (ID), Staff: -- fax: 202-228-1375 

ENZI, MICHAEL (WY), Staff: fax: 202-228-0359 

FLAKE, JEFF (AZ), Staff: -- fax: 202-228-0515 

GRAHAM, LINDSEY (SC), Staff: -- fax: 202-224-3808 

HATCH, ORRIN (UT), Staff: -- fax: 202-224-6331 

HELLER, DEAN (NV), Staff: -- fax: 202-224-6244 

HOEVEN, JOHN (ND), Staff: -- fax: 202-224-7999

INHOFE, JAMES (OK), Staff: -- fax: 202-228-0380 

LEE, MIKE (UT), Staff: -- fax: 202-228-1168 

MCCAIN, JOHN (AZ), Staff: -- fax: 202-228-2862 

MURKOWSKI, LISA (AK), Staff: -- fax: 202-224-5301;

PORTMAN, ROB (OH), Staff: -- fax: 202-224-9558 

RISCH, JAMES (ID), Staff: -- fax: 202-224-2753 

SCOTT, TIM (SC), Staff: -- fax: 202-228-1048

THUNE, JOHN (SD), Staff: -- fax: 202-228-5429

VITTER, DAVID (LA), Staff: -- 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. 

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Chuck Cushman
American Land Rights
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