"Conservation" Bared: Letter to the Other Maine

by Erich Veyhl September 5, 2000

Letter to the publisher and editors of the Lewiston Sun Journal
in response to its August 29 editorial, "Conservation can be a bear"
promoting the CARA off-budget acquisition entitlement

Your August 29 editorial promoting the controversial CARA acquisition entitlement was a disservice to your readers and all those who would be hurt by CARA. Your sloppy characterizations perpetuated factual inaccuracies deliberately spun by the environmentalist lobby. You fail to recognize that the central purpose of CARA -- which you could have easily discovered -- is to establish under Federal law a politically untouchable mechanism for converting massive amounts of private property to government ownership and control, by force wherever necessary. It is also a power grab intended to fund environmentalist control of state agencies, environmentalist ideological and political influence in the name of "research" and "education", and whatever else they want to impose under the vague catch-phrase "conservation".

Your editorial reveals a cynical disregard for civil rights and a contemptuous indifference to the plight of property owners and rural communities threatened with removal or destruction by CARA's massive Federal funding entitlement. You illustrate once again why ordinary people -- the ones in that "other Maine" you don't know much about but think you do -- justifiably feel loathing and contempt towards the wealthy, politically well-connected environmentalists and their sycophants in southern Maine and Washington, DC.

CARA is promoted by a consortium of special interests seeking free money and power raining on them from Washington in the name of the "public good". Non-environmentalist interest groups have been systematically bought off in the environmentalists' pork strategy promising to dispense numerous minor portions of the total CARA funding in order to gain political support for its anti-private property agenda and equally irresponsible off-budget funding mechanism to feed it. There is so much government money promised to so many pressure groups under CARA that its hopeful beneficiaries are intoxicated by the very thought of it.

You devoted an entire editorial column to soothing, evasive platitudes about "conservation" and getting CARA money while ignoring or arbitrarily rejecting its political and legal realities. With neither analysis nor justification you rhapsodize in a sing-song style, "It isn't too hard on industry or too soft on protection, it isn't too costly or too cheap". This is more characteristic of a dizzy junior high school student chanting on a class trip than a journalist concerned with knowing, let alone presenting, hard facts.

You tell us that CARA is "comfortable and attainable", not at all like that other political world of strife and controversy which you want your readers to believe CARA is not part of. You fail to acknowledge that CARA's destructive impacts on private property rights and its huge off-budget costs have for good reason been the cause of an ongoing bitter fight in the highest levels of the US Senate and House of Representatives for two years, and that another version was similarly fought and defeated a decade ago. But acknowledging that fact would interfere with the environmentalists' "feel-good", "keep them drugged on the money" strategy for putting CARA over on the public, namely, promise perpetual Christmas while avoiding controversy and public debate in order to steer people away from looking at this can of worms too closely.

CARA, you sarcastically and dismissively tell us, "isn't, as opponents have argued, a continually replenishing pot of gold to finance eminent domain proceedings against property owners. It is a simple plan that focuses on protection of important pieces of American culture and property."

What the hell do you think government "protection" of other people's private property means in practice? What do you think happens when the government designates an area for preservationist "protection" under law and the property owners don't just submissively leave?

Government "land protection" isn't an environmentalist discussion club, an internet chat, or the posturing at your favorite urban cocktail parties while contemplating a remote scenery. Nor does it mean that government agents come help people take care of their trees and gardens. Government "protection" means the full coercive police power of government pitted not against criminals, but private citizens who thought they had rights to their own property, but which is taken over because it is deemed "important" by well-connected environmentalist pressure groups, government agencies and their boosters in the media.

Your editorial does not once recognize that CARA is explicitly intended to fund the forced conversion of private property to government ownership at significantly higher levels than has been the case under the current Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), on which CARA is based. The LWCF has been the primary source of funding for displacing people on behalf of new and existing government preservation areas for over 30 years. It has been the financial engine of countless injustices and human tragedies that politically savvy environmentalists don't want talked about in public. In Maine it has been the source of acquisition funding behind the Federal strong-arming of private property owners at Acadia National Park, the Appalachian Trail and the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge.

The environmentalist lobby, including the supposedly white-hat land trusts, specifically pressured Congress to remove and prevent in CARA any limitations on taking property from unwilling sellers. They fully succeeded, and it is disingenuous to ignore either what this means in practice or what it implies about their intentions.

Didn't you know that? Or don't you want it talked about either? Or do you just not care after the CARA lobbyists reassured you that what looks like people afraid of losing their property and way of life to government and environmentalist control is really just the "scare tactics of howling anti-government extremists" not to be listened to by any serious person? Do you really believe this is about feel-good images of scenery, "softball fields" and "swimming pools"? Didn't they get around to telling you that only 2 1/2% of CARA funding goes to urban parks and recreation? Or did you just not want your readers to know that?

For over 12 years the national environmentalist lobby has engaged in a heavily funded, strategic, long-term political campaign for a preservationist takeover of 26 million acres of mostly private property extending from the Maine coast across four states to the New York Adirondacks. Millions in foundation money have been pumped into a strategic political campaign to achieve that end under a variety of acquisition and Greenline control schemes. The national environmentalist lobby and the Clinton-Gore Administration have publicly stated that Maine is a major target for CARA funds.

They can't do that without coercion, and would have no business undertaking such a massive anti private property social engineering scheme even if they could. This is an arrogant, colonialist agenda for a takeover or displacement of over a million people, deemed too few to matter because of the low density. The purpose is to replace our freedom, the private economy and our form of local self-government with a kind of feudalism run by and for the environmentalist political elite who covet other people's land.

Didn't you know about that agenda? Have you never even heard of it? Or does the infinite wisdom of the southern Maine elite know in advance that these are just rumors in the imagination of those "extremist" land rights people? Or do you just not want your readers to know what is already well-known in the "in" southern Maine cocktail party circuit?

The means of such government "land protection" is the equivalent of Clinton's INS storm-troopers breaking into that private home in Miami for the Elian seizure, beating NBC cameraman Tony Zumbado to the floor, the pepper spray, the submachine guns, and the threats to kill anyone who doesn't obey their orders. That is what government armed agents do to defiant "lawbreakers", including property owners who refuse to relinquish their property (or the economic stability of a business) to environmentalist preservation when so ordered by the authorities.

Most people give up quietly before it comes to that -- the environmentalists know how to use threats and economic strangulation to create "willing sellers" and other forms of "voluntary" obedience -- but those who don't surrender are run over with brute force. If you don't think the environmentalists are after the use and threat of physical compulsion in order to control other people and their property why do you think they always turn to government, especially the Federal government, as a means to impose their "protection" plans?

This is the environmentalists' contorted version of the "Rule of Law", which used to mean equal protection under the law immune from corrupting personal or political influence. Now it means -- those in power rule, with the full force of the law at their disposal for enforcing their ideological agenda, while as a person in their way your life is changed forever as you wonder what country you are living in -- because you know very well that owning and using private property is not a crime and that the law is supposed to protect your rights, not become a tool of ideological land grabbers and their sustained campaigns. In this country ordinary citizens are supposed to be free to privately own, live and work in nice places.

Forget the soothing images of scenery and recreation used to promote CARA. Remember as the means of enforcement that helmeted government INS agent and his submachine gun pointed at that innocent child and at the man who had saved him every time you hear the phrase "government protection" of private property. Remember also the plague of out-of-control, life-threatening wild fires and all its equivalents on government land caused by preservationist mismanagement and non-management policies intended to eradicate all traces of human civilization.

Parroting the environmentalists' propaganda claiming to be for the "economy", your editorial reassures us that CARA would "protect coastal and inland habitats to maintain jobs". How is locking up the land under government control and doing away with private property rights while economically strangling the economy for the express purpose of restoring and preserving wilderness "habitat" supposed to "maintain jobs"? Whose jobs? The land trust lobbyists who stand to gain millions in direct government subsidies from CARA? Or did you mean new jobs -- like seasonal hot dog vendors and servants in the hotel and resort chains expected to crop up around the edges of what used to be rural Maine?

You tell us that "CARA is an all-encompassing plan to protect and preserve our way of life." Whose way of life? -- that of the elitists in southern Maine who have visions of other people's property as the playground of your dreams? It is based on an "all encompassing plan" all right, but not the one you claim. Hasn't it occurred to you that the environmentalists' deliberate destruction of property rights is intended to wipe out our way of life because they want our land and want us out of here, or at most relegated to the status of feudal serfs in an economically untenable Currier and Ives scene, as intended by their pseudo-economic term "sustainability"? Or do you just not want your readers to know that?

The establishment of an off-budget, 15 year (i.e., in practice endless) entitlement to implement the cultural genocide inherent in the elitist environmental agenda to "re-wild American" would be morally despicable no matter what the source of the funding, but your editorial couldn't even describe the funding mechanism honestly. Instead you parrot the environmentalist rhetoric implying CARA wouldn't cost the public any money. Or do you just not want your readers to know how much it does cost?

Have you bothered to examine the meaning of your claim that CARA would merely "set aside $2.8 billion in annual revenue the United States earns on offshore oil and gas leases"? The offshore oil and gas revenues are not "earned by the United States" -- the government collects "royalties", i.e., taxes, from the oil companies who do the work of finding and extracting the resources from the "leased", i.e., previously nationalized, oil and gas fields. These taxes ordinarily go into the General Fund where they help pay for other programs, help offset the national debt -- and might even help reduce taxes at least back down to the level of government expenditures.

Funding for CARA at $2.8 billion every year (nearly $3 billion including the interest) does not somehow become "free" by "setting aside" some tax collections before they make it to the General Fund, pretending in an accounting shell-game that there has been no diversion of funds because you only talk about where it comes from, not where it used to go. All the money in the General Fund comes from some specific source and when any of it is hijacked by a special interest in the name of only "setting aside" that particular supposedly "earned" source, something has to make up for the difference.

Didn't you know that, or do you think this con game can be copied over and over to generate a kind of perpetual motion money machine to fund every special interest group's demands at no cost to the taxpayer? An off-budget dedicated entitlement in every pot?

Your concluding justification for the whole environmentalist CARA scam provides a corresponding concluding illustration of the pervasive illogic and disregard of facts throughout your editorial: "Since oil and gas are nonrenewable resources," you argue, "the proceeds from leases can and should be used to fund protection of this country's [sic] renewal [sic] resources."

Is that reasoning based on a syllogism you once picked up in a junior high school poetry class and which I somehow missed all the way through my science, mathematics and engineering courses and research? Do you know how to think or do you just arbitrarily slap phrases together without regard to the meaning of words and their logical connections?

Man makes use of his environment in order to live, including extracting off shore oil for the production of energy (to say nothing of cutting trees in the Maine woods). This makes our lives better and easier. Those not infected by environmentalism know that this is good. As those of us who took science courses before they were replaced and corrupted by environmentalist indoctrination realize, we do not owe Mother Earth reparations for using our environment, which we maintain for our own benefit, not out of devotion to "nature" as an "intrinsic higher value" arbitrarily established as an environmentalist religious icon.

Extracting oil from the earth does not imply that there should be Federal funding of local "softball fields", let alone a duty to sacrifice private property owners and rural communities (not the "country's resources") to a government land grab for "protection", or any other form of human sacrifice to environmentalist demagogues posing as Mother Earth's official spokesmen.

Did you not know that or did you just not want your readers to realize that is the principle you are supporting?

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