Sunday, August 12, 2012

InsightUSA - The New Mexico Syndrome

Ominous Thunder
The New Mexico Syndrome
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            As I sit here in the cool, predawn of an August morning, I hear the Thump, thump of artillery and tank exercises at Ft. Bliss. The 40 miles from where I type in my saddle shop and that live fire by our military doesn’t erase the sound. I can feel the affect of those projectiles even from this distance. It is like a grand analogy of our lives and our citizenship.
We trust our military, but the ominous thunder I am witnessing right now harkens to other fights we endure. Those conflicts center on governmental actions. Those actions don’t offer any pretense of upholding sovereign individual dominion. We dread the outcomes, and … we find little corrective support.
The morning update
Two things happened over the past week that are indicative of the dilemma. The first was the disclosure that the Department of Interior is pressing ahead with administrative actions to pursue the Wildlands program. This is simply an end run around the rejected policies of the previous Wildlands Secretarial order the Administration had to abandon.
In their letter to Secretary Salazar, Senator Orrin Hatch and Congressman Rob Bishop called for the retrieval of the BLM manuals distributed pursuing the Wildlands protocol. The Interior plan is clearly intended to expand de facto wilderness management of federal lands that, according to the literature of the conceptual underpinnings, would require the partial to complete removal of all things civilized!
The second indicator comes from the antics of Congress to pass the new Farm Bill. The current Farm Bill expires September 30. That legislation has become a hoax that purports to support Agriculture, but, in reality, is yet another grand wealth redistribution scheme.
When the heart of the bill has become the pursuit and proliferation of food stamp distributions, agriculturists have unwittingly become pawns in the perpetuation of the whole affair. An example is the partisan defense of a portion of the bill.
The Progressives are claiming that the Republicans are gutting Conservation Programs. They call attention to a $350M reduction in funding to the Environmental Quality Improvement Program (EQIP). A close review of EQIP, though, should make every tax payer shudder. In 2002, the program funding level was $200M. Currently, the projected 2013 budget is $1.75B! Who among us should be gnashing our teeth and biting our nails over “real dollars” being cut to hit the $1.75B line item?
Rather than risk an election debate reprisal, though, the Republicans have elected to play ‘possum with the matter. They have taken up the matter by passing a $383M disaster relief package. Rather than fighting for spending cuts, they went back to a tried and true election year standard by paying somebody something. In this case it was drought stricken ranchers.
Even the rationale is pathetic. The wording coming out of Washington read “Facing ruin and uncertainty many ranchers have liquidated herds”. If that was so important, wouldn’t the greater affect have been to make such distributions before those herds had to be liquidated?
Rising Tide
There is an interesting thing happening in New Mexico that bears watching. It isn’t coming from Santa Fe.
Santa Fe remains immersed in the deep clutches of one of the country’s premier welfare state management models. It is revealed in the yield of federal distributions back into the state relative to federal tax harvests remitted to the IRS, the dismal high school graduation rate in that town amidst its highest minimum wage rate in the state, and the proliferation of heroin use amongst its youth.
The movement is coming from the southern end of the state. It is there the citizenry, waging a battle against the federal juggernaut, is starting to seek alternative prescriptions for relief.
It is there the citizenry has been savaged by unending federal programs that threaten customs and cultures. A partial list of those actions includes the progressive commandeering of local governance starting in influential Dona Ana County, the Mexican wolf reintroduction, repeated attempts to extend wildlands proliferation through massive federal land schemes, the attempt to shut down wide swaths of the vital Permian Basin oil patch through ESA, the arrival of the mega-fires emanating from make believe forest management, the stepwise elimination of historic roads in national forests, the expansion of Trojan partnerships between federal agencies, environmental groups and at risk private operations, the increasing federal attempt to claim state water rights, and the open borders policies of the Mexican border.
The process started long before the attempts to ward off the destructive reintroduction of the Mexican wolf in the Gila National Forest. Catron County was most dramatically impacted from the onset.
That county had been in the crosshairs for many years. The Wilderness Act was the initial driver in the decimation of their historic industries. Soon to be released university economic studies will reveal, in specific terms, the erosion of their cattle industry. That combined with the elimination of logging, the elimination of all complexity of grazing, the evolution of make believe Forest management, and the reintroduction of the wolf have devastated the underpinnings and hope of that community.
Otero County became the beacon for County Commission adherence to sworn constitutional duty. That body stepped up with resolutions and a single New Mexico statue and told the Forest Service they were going to take over the management of their county’s Lincoln National Forest. That appeared to be the only course of action to protect the lives and well being of Otero County citizenry.
Lea and Eddy Counties took up the fight against the cataclysm that a pending listing of a lizard posed to their oil business. Their commissions began to look to other like minded commissions to seek added strength.
That same realization was demonstrated in southern border conservation districts. It started in Dona Ana County and it spread to seven conservation districts which have aligned with each other to fight against unannounced and uncoordinated federal land schemes initiated outside of local governance land plans.
The Federal Lands Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) promised the Western states that, if they would give up their rights to the promised constitutional contract to dispose of federal lands, they would be at the table in all federal land decisions. That promise is as unfulfilled and porous as the southern Arizona border.
The Council of Border Conservation Districts united to disagree with how their lands are being managed. Their unofficial motto became “You (federal government) are not going to renege on the promises of FLPMA made to allow us to be at the table to discuss matters affecting our communities”.
An emerging, like minded group of southwestern county commissions has also come to recognize the same reoccurring theme. They, too, face the accelerating onslaught of federal demands in all quarters without active State of New Mexico intervention.
The State of New Mexico needs to come to the realization that southern New Mexico actually exists. It must recognize its long range best interest is served in supporting that southern constituency.
Faye Hardin, Chief Executive of Insight-USA, is a Christian broadcaster. She is based in the very heart of those sprawling southwestern desert environs, Orlando, Florida! Faye has adopted what she believes is a watershed mission.
She has come to view New Mexico as the key battleground for America’s future. “If the tide is not turned in New Mexico, our federal government will consume us all,” she counsels. “This is not just a state’s rights issue. This is the battle of good and evil.”
Faye Hardin’s ministry has a history of seeking specific missions. Her early work behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany and in the Ukraine demonstrated similar efforts. It was there she worked for recognition of private property rights and the plight of people under oppressive regimes. She became known as a defender of disenfranchised people whose significance remained critical to the foundation of society.  
Insight-USA is coming to New Mexico with a goal. That goal is to cast light on these continuing federal onslaughts. If you listen to Faye speak, her approach is evangelical, but it also adheres to old time country politics. She claims that her mission starts with prayer, but, with her broadcasting colleagues, her message potentially reaches … 49 million households each month.
New Mexico rancher, Tom Runyan, who was present at a recent Insight-USA function in Lubbock has an opinion of Faye. “For 40 years we have tried to get things done through our traditional industry channels,” he began. “We have largely failed.”
“Faye brings us hope … and a different approach.”
Indeed … the sum of all previous approaches has pushed the vital, foundational industries to the brink of a very dark chasm.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “The first Insight-USA workshop in New Mexico will take place September 29 in Albuquerque. Already, a number of grassroots speakers are seeking a slot at the podium … speakers who have never sought such an opportunity.”


The website for InsightUSA is here.

Wilmeth's column, The Case of the Butterfield Trail and Dona Ana County , is based upon a speech he gave on July 20 to attendees of Faye Hardin's InsightUSA gathering in Lubbock, Texas. Also speaking that day was Marita Noon, who has written a column for based on Wilmeth's speech.

The two sections of FLPMA referred to by Wilmeth are:

Sec. 102. [43 U.S.C. 1701] (a) The Congress declares that it is the policy of the United States that– (1) the public lands be retained in Federal ownership, unless as a result of the land use planning procedure provided for in this Act, it is determined that disposal of a particular parcel will serve the national interest;

Sec. 202.

(9) to the extent consistent with the laws governing the administration of the public lands, coordinate the land use inventory, planning, and management activities of or for such lands with the land use planning and management programs of other Federal departments and agencies and of the States and local governments within which the lands are located, including, but not limited to, the statewide outdoor recreation plans developed under the Act of September 3, 1964 (78 Stat. 897), as amended [16 U.S.C. 460l–4 et seq. note], and of or for Indian tribes by, among other things, considering the policies of approved State and tribal land resource management programs. In implementing this directive, the Secretary shall, to the extent he finds practical, keep apprised of State, local, and tribal land use plans; assure that consideration is given to those State, local, and tribal plans that are germane in the development of land use plans for public lands; assist in resolving, to the extent practical, inconsistencies between Federal and non-Federal Government plans, and shall provide for meaningful public involvement of State and local government officials, both elected and appointed, in the development of land use programs, land use regulations, and land use decisions for public lands, including early public notice of proposed decisions which may have a significant impact on non-Federal lands. Such officials in each State are authorized to furnish advice to the Secretary with respect to the development and revision of land use plans, land use guidelines, land use rules, and land use regulations for the public lands within such State and with respect to such other land use matters as may be referred to them by him. Land use plans of the Secretary under this section shall be consistent with State and local plans to the maximum extent he finds consistent with Federal law and the purposes of this Act.

Not mentioned by Wilmeth but important to all grazing allotment owners is this language in Title IV of FLPMA:

If the Secretary concerned elects to develop an allotment management plan for a given area, he shall do so in careful and considered consultation, cooperation and coordination with the lessees, permittees, and landowners involved, the district grazing advisory boards established pursuant to section 403 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1753), and any State or States having lands within the area to be covered by such allotment management plan.

The New Mexico Dept. of Agriculture and the Range Improvement Task Force at NMSU have signed MOUs with the State Director of BLM and the Regional Forester of the Forest Service to implement this section of the law. Any allotment owner can invoke this section by requesting a "Section 8" meeting on any proposed decision.

Check with your own state to see how implementation is done. I'll bet it's not being done at all. New Mexico led the way on getting this language in FLPMA and on implementing it after passage.

And let's not forget NEPA, which becomes involved in all federal land use plans, and which has the following language:

...declares that it is the continuing policy of the Federal Government, in cooperation with State and local governments, and other concerned public and private organizations, to use all practicable means and measures, including financial and technical assistance, in a manner calculated to foster and promote the general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans.

Get with it out there.

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