Op-Ed Downeast Coastal Press
March 6, 2007

The Fix Is In

By Erich Veyhl

DEP Commissioner David Littell has distributed another dishonest “bird habitat” op–ed promoting what he calls a “fix” “offered” “to protect landowners [and] feathered guests of coastal ecosystem.” The “fix” is intended to mislead the public while the DEP and environmental pressure groups move to further entrench the new “bird habitat” restrictions on use of private property and make them even more severe.

While an outraged public is demanding repeal of habit overlay land use prohibitions smuggled into new DEP rules last year, Littell's op–ed is a stubborn continuation of the Baldacci administration's political strategy developed months ago. Hijacking attempts at reform in the Legislature in order to make the controls more stringent and entrenched in law, Littell is pretending that the new rules slipped into place by the DEP were a legitimate and open action by “the Legislature” — and that even more severe controls now pushed by the DEP are only “fine tuning.”

Emphasizing quasi — poetic emotional heart — wrenching rhetoric about “scenery” and birds that “succumb from exhaustion” and “plummet into the ocean,” the Littell op–ed avoids describing the actual nature of the draconian land use prohibitions the DEP is imposing on owners of both developed and undeveloped private property both on the coast and inland. He vaguely dismisses the effect as somehow “minimizing impact” — on birds, that is; never mind the “impact” destroying the rights of private property owners, something he never mentions.

He doesn't describe the actual powers granted to the DEP under the new rules or under the proposed “fine tuning.” The last thing he wants the public to know is what they are actually doing to people. The public is only to be told what to think without knowing what it is. (Such is the purpose of “spin.”)

Littell dishonestly claims that there has only been a “much–publicized misperception that the law creates new no–build or overly restrictive zones for undeveloped portions of coastal Maine.” Never mind, for example, the owners of the land in Lubec whose land has been tied up by the DEP since last July; the public is supposed to “perceive” what Littell tells them, not what is actually happening to real people.

But the restrictions, he claims, will somehow “increase the value” of “natural integrity, wildlife and scenic character” for the benefit of “tourists and new residents” — and never mind the personal and economic value he is stealing from the current owners of the land he and special–interest groups covet. The Kelo eminent domain taking of private property for developers who would pay more taxes has nothing on this scam, but Augusta politicians are desperate for new tourists and naive potential new residents to tax. They are perfectly willing to steal from current property owners in the name of trying to lure in and tax wealthier targets who can tolerate a higher ransom. But it's no surprise that Augusta wants to turn rural Maine and the coast into a high–tax playground — they want to replace the taxes on investment and industry Augusta has driven out of the state with third–world taxes and controls.

Yet in an attempt to create the impression that the essence of the new “habitat” restrictions are not really new, Littell makes a revealing admission of the state's agenda: He writes that “longstanding coastal zone development regulations have always sought to avoid development.” When you lie like the Baldacci administration it must be difficult to keep the “talking points” of the spin consistent.

Littell and the DEP hid their actions imposing restrictive “bird habitat” overlays on private property from both the public and the Legislature when they snuck into place new rules for land–use prohibition together with implementing maps last year. They are continuing to lie to the public about both what they did and the impact the restrictions have on the targets of their power grab, which they don't want publicly reported. This corruption at the highest levels of the Baldacci administration is now being hidden behind a major PR campaign to further mislead the public and the Legislature as the DEP tightens its controls over private citizens in the name of “fixing” a “misperception” with “fine tuning.” The fix is in.

Copyright © 2007 Erich Veyhl, All rights reserved

More on the “habitat” land control agenda for Maine: www.moosecove.com/propertyrights/index.shtml#habitat