Rural Cleansing By Endangered Species by Ted Miller

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A little over ten years ago, Earth First! founder Dave Foreman and deep ecologist Dr. Reed Noss formed the Wildlands Project. In their vision, over half of the continental U.S. would be cleansed of human inhabitants and put off limits to almost all human use. Their vision was well funded and heavily promoted by a number of wealthy environmental groups. Now after only a decade, their goals could become reality.

A bill has been introduced to Congress that would formally establish a large part of the Wildlands Project. The Wildlands Bill, H.R. 488, introduced [in 2001] by Connecticut Congressman Christopher Shays, has 69 co-sponsors. This bill, sponsored chiefly by Congressmen in the Northeast and Atlantic states, would establish a Wildlands system across much of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. This would result in creation of more wilderness designations, national parks and nature preserves in those areas, with wide corridors linking those new areas to existing preserves.

Any hope for restoring multiple use for the public would be gone. The absolute force of economics would expunge the remaining rural populations in those areas once they are denied access to the natural resources. Additionally this bill would assure that forest health in the Wildlands Project zones would continue to decline and will inevitably result in multimillion-acre fires that would incinerate much of that area.

One of the most effective tools used in the environmental land grab, are lawsuits brought under provisions in the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Already, such lawsuits have resulted in tens of millions of acres in America being put off-limits to most human use. (As a recent example, over 4 million acres have designated as critical habitat for the California red-legged frog.) The ESA has been used to list over 1200 species of plants and animals as endangered, with over 350 critical habitats designated. Presently, environmental lawsuits are calling for over 300 more species to have designated critical habitats. Designation of critical habitat eliminates all land management and use of natural resources.

In addition to their questionable use of the ESA, proponents of the Wildlands Project have used their influence to have almost 60 million acres of government-owned forest put off limits to any new road building, and to have existing roads removed from those areas. Although the environmentalists claim that those areas are being preserved for the people, the truth is that those areas are being preserved from the people. Directly affected are disabled people, families with young children, as well as the elderly, all of whom will lose access to those areas, along with those who enjoy motorized forms of recreation.

Indeed, it seems that the primary goal of hard-core environmentalists who have been so effective in eliminating multiple use from private and government owned lands, is nothing less than removing rural people from their land, in effect, a rural cleansing. In recent years, they've succeeded in forcing an estimated one million or more country people to move from the area they had called home after they were suddenly denied the ability to make a living from the land as had generations of their forefathers.

Attempts have already been made to create a new two million-acre national park in the center of Maine. Brock Evans of the Audubon Society led the spotted owl campaign that shut down the timber industry in much of the northwest and has now set a new goal, the elimination of the forest product jobs in the northeast. Evans, Foreman, Noss and the other preservationists are very close to achieving their vision of the extinction of rural Americans and throwing away the economic and environmental benefits of managing our natural resources.

If the Wildlands Bill becomes law, it logically follows that yet another a new bill will target populations living in the northeastern forest from the coast of Maine through upstate New York, as well as those who live in the upper Midwest forest. Rural people in the Northeast and Midwest will then suffer the same fate as those forced to leave their homes in the West.


 

About the author

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Ted Miller, email: wayfarer@ncia.net, a bleach plant operator in a pulp mill, lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Last year [2000] he testified before a congressional subcommittee on how foundation grants are being used to create environmental policy and eliminate jobs in rural areas.

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| EJF Home | Join the EJF | Comments? | Get EJF newsletter | EJF Newsletters |

| Courts, Veteran Courts, And Civil Liberties | Contents | Index |

 

| Chapter 3 — What Happened To Civil Rights? |

| Next — Censorship by Charles E. Corry, Ph.D. |

| Back — The History and Danger of Administrative Law by Philip Hamburger, J.D. |


 

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Last modified 3/2/15