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Yesterday, the President signed into law Joint Resolution 44 which nullifies a Bureau of Land Management Rule that would greatly diminish the opportunity for local governments to insist on coordination with the BLM which leads to consistency between federal plans, policies and actions and local policies.

 

As a result, Congress has nullified the BLM’s attempt to water down the coordinate position of local governments in land management decisions.   The current rule recognizing broad local government opportunities remains in  place and will be featured at the Coordination 101 Seminar in Woodland, CA on May 5-6. (See attached flyer) The fact that the current rule will remain in effect makes the Seminar all the more important for local officials who want to step into the coordination arena to protect their citizens.

 

The rule, BLM  Planning Rule 2.0 was issued in the Federal Register in December, 2016 just prior to the end of the Obama administration.  Even though the BLM personnel attempted to disguise the impact of the changes, it was clear to a whole multitude of western counties and to American Stewards of Liberty that local governments would be deprived of the same level of meaningful coordination involvement available under the current rules.

 

American Stewards of Liberty assisted counties in attacking the rule and in pointing out the loss to local governments of meaningful involvement.  Among the counties submitting comments opposing the rule change were Baker County, Oregon, Modoc County, California and Custer County, Idaho—all counties that have engaged BLM in the coordination process.

 

In signing the Joint Resolution, President Trump strikingly remarked that it is never a good thing to take any element of control or involvement from the local level and give it to Washington DC.

 

As a result of the signing in the Roosevelt Room of the White House yesterday, Congress has declared the Rule change invalid and of no effect.  The rules for coordination by BLM with local governments therefore continue as currently in effect.

 

Interestingly enough, a county that stood imminently at the forefront of moving the coordination process to a high level in the early to mid-1990s, Owyhee County, Idaho, was not listed as one of the coalition of counties opposing the new rule.  Perhaps the County submitted its own individual comments—one would hope so.

 

The signing remarks by President Trump demonstrate the reason that local governments should move promptly by demanding coordination in every major federal action that impacts their citizens.  Often I hear that “well, we’re waiting for the right time to call for coordination.”  The ONLY RIGHT TIME is at the very beginning of any federal major action—before the die is cast in the minds of the federal agency.  That is what Congress mandated and that is what the  Council on Environmental Quality has ordered—early involvement through coordination.  Any local government that does not take advantage of the coordination process from the earliest days of a major decision process is not acting in the best interests of its citizens.  The only way for those citizens’ rights to be protected against federal major actions is through their local government exerting its coordination  authority.

 

“He who hesitates is lost”.  To hesitate and delay coordination results in a tremendous loss of opportunity to influence policy and actions.

March 7, 2017                              Fred Kelly Grant

 

For years I have shared the passion of my friend Nick Dranias for a curb on spending by the Congress and the Executive branches of the national government.  So long as Congress refuses to discipline itself to a balanced budget it will continue to spend, thus allowing the zealots of regulatory government to keep spending and expanding the national government at the expense of state sovereignty.  The power to spend is the power to destroy.  In this case, heavy handed, unlimited spending has brought many states to their knees, dissipating their sovereignty to a point of impotence.

 

But, I have had the fear that to submit a balanced budget amendment to a Constitutional Convention was too great a risk—a risk as to what those who would like to rip our personal rights from the Constitution would do in a runaway session.  I agreed with the opposition stated very thoroughly by the Eagle Forum in a set of 20 questions, and the observation that if they could not be answered satisfactorily from a conservative’s standpoint no one should be urging a Convention.

 

I know Nick Dranias.  I fought with him side by side when he was with the Goldwater Institute.  Together we urged the American Legislative Exchange Council to adopt a resolution urging adoption of the process of “coordination” by which local governments could reinstate a healthy federalism with federal regulators.  Together we worked to assist Senator Sylvia Allen in her development of and passage of a “coordination” statute empowering the people to bring about “coordination” by their local governments.

 

Finally he caught me at a moment when I had a break from my fights with regulators, preparing for a rather major surgery, and I took time to review his work with Compact for America, work that is exemplified in Arizona House Bill 2226 that is up for committee vote today.  I have been a supporter of the Tenth Amendment my entire life—the sovereignty of the states, the local governments, THE PEOPLE, depend on that Amendment and on limiting the runaway power of the national government.  I believe that a balanced budget requirement is the best protector of the Tenth Amendment’s authority.  Today I accept and support the interstate compact that is evidenced in House Bill 2226.

 

But, until now I have told Nick that I had too great a fear of a runaway Convention.  I had seen too many bills in Congress go south as malcontents used the sausage making process of considering 175 bills by voice vote in one package to slip in a clause that injured or destroyed a personal or property right.  A perfect example was a grazing bill that was designed by “ranchers’ friends” in Congress to secure grazing viability.  At the time I was with American Stewards of Liberty and heavily involved with defending the rights of grazers in Owyhee County, Idaho.  Margaret Hage Byfield, Dan Byfield and I were asked to support the bill and we said we would wait and see.  On my granddaughter Samantha’s birthday, I was called from DC by an ardent supporter of the bill and asked to support it as it faced a crucial vote that day.  I declined out of fear what language the opponents of grazing might slip into it at the last second to take some right we claimed to have.  I was assured “we have guards on the committee door, nothing will get past us.”  I still declined.  My position, shared by Margaret and Dan, became a thorn in the side of the bill’s supporters.  We were called on the carpet in a meeting in Reno of the bill’s supporters.  In the bill as it came through committee to the floor, a new section had been added, “section 210”, a section that by its nature would give the Bureau of Land Management the excuse it needed to end or severely limit grazing for at least a year.  So, after several speeches chastising me for withholding support, I finally spoke and said “I will support this bill and urge American Stewards of Liberty to support it if any one of you will explain to me how section 210 will help ranchers—what does 210 mean?”  I was amused at the look of consternation on their faces as they opened their bills and searched out 210.  After time for reading, one of the leading supporters said “where in the hell did that come from?”  I could not help myself, “I don’t know cause you guys were the guards on the committee doors.  What does it mean?”  A well respected lawyer from one of the great pro bono programs glumly answered “it means there would be no grazing next year anywhere in the west.”  I said “precisely and that is why I don’t support the bill.”  The supporters went to work and stripped that language from the bill and lost the support of the anti-grazers, thus loss support needed to gain passage.

 

Thus, my reluctance to support a Constitutional Convention with the focus on an amendment to require a balanced budget.  Yet I knew, and know that it is the only way for us to gain control of an overzealous national government.

 

While Nick has been working with Compact for America I have been in court and the administrative process fighting regulatory abuses that overwhelm the sovereignty of states and local governments.  I haven’t taken time to review the Compact’s results.

 

One day recently, I received an email from Nick and I took time to read the citations he included.  I didn’t stop with those; I continued to read and have since then satisfied myself that the Compact has the answers to my questions which paralleled those posed by Eagle Forum.

 

The Compact’s structure in the form of an interstate compact is the gist of Arizona House Bill 2226 which is in committee for a vote today in the
Arizona legislature.   The Compact assures the limited nature of the session that will act on the amendment, it assures that the sovereignty of every small and every conservative state will be protected, but represented, and it offers us the chance to stem the tide in the District of Columbia.

 

Having fought for Tenth Amendment principles nearly all of my life throughout the Western United States, I am now utterly convinced that the states must unite behind the Compact for a Balanced Budget as set forth in Arizona House Bill 2226 to limit federal borrowing capacity. A key feature of the Compact for a Balanced Budget is the requirement that a majority of state legislatures must approve any increase in a constitutional debt limit. The federal government could not engage in most of its mischief if it had to gain approval from a majority of state legislatures for any increase in its borrowing capacity. Restoring respect to our states is at the core of the Compact for a Balanced Budget. If you believe in the Tenth Amendment and limited federal power, as I do, then I urge you to support Arizona House Bill 2226 joining the Compact for a Balanced Budget by passing that bill.

 

 

 

Risk?  Maybe a slight one, but none that cannot be handled under the terms and provisions as outlined in the Arizona bill.  But, as Mr. Justice Scalia said, when he was still a professor at my alma mater University of Chicago School of Law, “The founders…knew the Congress would be unwilling to give attention to many issues the people are concerned with, particularly those involving restrictions on the federal government’s own power.  The founders foresaw that and they provided the convention as a remedy.  If the only way to get that convention is to take this minimal risk, then it is a reasonable one.”  Spoken like the champion of liberty which he was.  Every  patriot from our early days of revolution to bring about individual and then state liberty has been willing to take reasonable risks.  I am too.  The work that Nick and his organization have done in designing an interstate compact reduces the risk to minimal, and again in the words of Anton Scalia, professor, jurist and patriot extraordinaire: “I think [a constitutional amendment session] is necessary…and I am willing to accept what seems to me a minimal risk of intemperate action.”  I agree!

 

If you know an Arizona legislator and you want to curb the runaway nature of the national government, call and urge that legislator to vote yes for HB 2226.

 

Feds Hide $25 MILLION In Payments To Enviro-Lawyers

Posted by American Lands Council 75sc on August 18, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Groups concealed by the federal government have gained no less than $25 million dollars in Americans tax dollars through lawsuits under three environmental laws since 2009. 

The Department of Treasury’s Judgment Fund database tracks how much federal agencies have paid out for lawsuits and court settlements, but doesn’t track the names of the individuals or groups that are actually suing the government.

More than $49 million in taxpayer funds was paid to lawyers suing the Obama administration under three major environmental statutes, TheDCNF found. Environmental activists have gotten millions from taxpayers suing the government to expand federal regulation.

 

But further analysis revealed that more than half of those payments went to groups the federal government concealed.

The U.S.Treasury isn’t keeping complete data on law firms, and activist groups getting taxpayer dollars has transparency advocates worried. The department also frequently redacts names of attorneys getting tax dollars under the Privacy Act, according to an attorney with the Judgement Fund.

“It’s no surprise the Treasury Department is hiding who gets the money in these transactions,” Adam Andrzejewski, Founder and CEO of transparency group OpenTheBooks.com, told TheDCNF. “Because these suits involve the federal government, taxpayers have a right to know where their tax dollars are going and what agendas they’re advancing.”

 

The administration paid out more than $25 million to attorneys and firms that were either listed as “unnamed” or “redacted” from 2009 to 2015. Nearly $630,000 was paid out to groups where some of the plaintiff’s attorneys were listed but others were redacted.

 

The $49 million was paid out to groups under 512 so-called “citizen lawsuits” – lawsuits filed under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act or the Endangered Species Act, TheDCNF previously reported.

 

Some 292 lawsuit payments withheld the names of the law firms involved, and all of the attorneys’ clients were concealed. Another 85 cases, which raked in $13.9 million, named the attorneys involved, but it was unclear what firms or activist groups they worked for.

Only 123 case payments – or nearly one-quarter – were completely transparent about the name of the law firm defending the plaintiff. Those groups took in nearly $9.4 million.

Some of these legal payments could be for what are called “sue-and-settle” lawsuits — where a group, mainly environmental activists, sue a federal agency to get them to issue a new regulation.

Instead of fighting the suit, the federal agency quickly settles the case and uses the resulting consent decree as political cover to issue controversial regulations. Not only do activists further their agenda, but they can get their attorneys’ fees paid for by taxpayers.

“It is quite concerning that the Department of Justice refused to acknowledge how much they have paid in attorneys fees in ‘sue and settle’ cases,” Chaim Mandelbaum, an attorney with the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic, told TheDCNF. “Given the Obama administration’s substantial use of a ‘sue and settle’ method to create policy, through collusion with outside groups, the need for transparency into these arrangements is substantial.”

Andrzejewski added: “Taxpayers have a right to know who is profiting from so-called ‘sue and settle’ schemes in which special interest groups advance a regulatory agenda without any transparency or oversight.”

A 2013 study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found 71 “sue-and-settle” lawsuits between 2009 and 2012 that resulted in more than 100 new regulations, many of which imposed more than $100 million in compliance costs every year.

The Chamber found the Sierra Club used “sue-and-settle” more than any other environmental group during that time. The Club sued the government 34 times from 2009 to 2012, and was often represented by Earthjustice, a Sierra Club spin-off formed in 1997 that focuses on environmental litigation.

 

You and I foot the bill for these lawsuits with our tax dollars, money better spent actually helping our environment, not enriching a few “environmentalist” groups.

Earthjustice was the most frequently named counsel in the environmental lawsuits, representing plaintiffs in 39 cases and raking in nearly $4 million from taxpayers. TheDCNF was able to identify some Earthjustice lawyers involved with the cases, but they weren’t always listed as working for the activist group.

It’s unclear how much more Earthjustice may have made off suing the government because of all the “redacted” or “unknown” recipients in Treasury’s database, or if any of the lawyers listed in the database without their employer were Earthjustice attorneys at the time of the case.

 

August 19, 2016

 

 

Hilary Clinton’s naming of Ken Salazar as the overlord of her transition team is the straw that breaks the back—a clear signal that she believes in the war on the west that Salazar waged as President Obama’s law-breaking Secretary of Interior.

The friendly countenance did not extend to western landowners. Salazar has no conscience when it comes to taking jobs from westerners; he has no conscience when it comes to shutting down the public lands; he has no conscience when it comes to promoting Agenda 21 programs at the expense of those who I serve.  He had no conscience when it came to using bogus “scientific” studies and reports to justify his anti-western positions.

For over twenty five years I have fought as hard as I know how to protect the rights of ranchers, farmers, miners, loggers, landowners, and then recreation enthusiasts.   I started that fight for the ranchers of Owyhee County, Idaho, then for those of Modoc County, California.  I continued the work with Margaret at Stewards of the Range, and then with Margaret and Dan at American Stewards of Liberty.  Forming a family business, Trademark America, I continued with son Jon and daughter in law Staci.  Then, finally with the Stand and Fight Club.

My work has been apolitical—almost as much damage was done in the administrations of the two Bushes as in the Clinton years.  But, this week an announcement was made by the Clinton camp that makes this political for me.  I have always tried to be honest with those who work with me, and for that reason I have to advise you and all those who work with me of my decision.  I have to oppose the election of Hilary Clinton as best I can.  When she appointed Ken Salazar to be chair of her transition team it was a clear statement that she will escalate the War on the West that I have defended against.  If he is to serve as overlord of transition, will he also serve as her Secretary of Interior?  I do not believe that ranchers can survive another tour of duty by Salazar—and I know miners can’t.

It was Salazar who made the withdrawal decision that sruck at uranium mining in and near the Grand Canyon.  That decision was based on a lie, i.e., that the mining would cause pollution of the waters of the Canyon.  In fact, testimony which I elicited during a hearing on that withdrawal showed that the mining technique would actually prevent pollution or contamination.  A Bureau of Land Management District Manager testified that without the mining, there would be a danger of such contamination.  He testified that he would not have made the withdrawal, that it came from Salazar with no local input.

It was Salazar who was ready to issue an order to destroy the dams on the Klamath.  He backed down at the last minute when members of the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors and I went to Washington to oppose the decision because he was ignoring a specific requirement of law.  We had with us evidence that the heavy metal build up in silt behind the dams would kill all fish and life in the river for a decade, yet the idea was to destroy the dams in order to restore salmon.

Michelle Malkin,[1] for National Review, has just written about another of Mr. Salazar’s self-benefiting escapades. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/43907/ken-salazar-bully

She writes about Tom Davis who bought over 1700 wild horses from the Bureau of Land Management just after Salazar took office as Secretary; he paid $10 apiece for them ($17,000) and then sold them for $154,000 for slaughter.  Davis had signed a contract that prohibited him from slaughtering or selling the horses for slaughter.  Davis had a business relationship, hauling cattle for Salazar for years.  In spite of his violation of the terms of his contract, no action was taken against him—he did not answer for what he did, except by enjoying his nine times over increase of money at the American taxpayers’ expense.

Malkin points out that David Phillips, then of the Colorado Springs Gazette, questioned Salazar about this openly defiant violation of contract and law, and was threatened by Salazar who angrily responded: “You know what, if you do that to me again, I’m going to punch you out. OK?  Don’t ever, ever, from the Gazette or anybody else do that to me again. Set me up.  You know?”  Phillips today writes for the New York Times.

She also writes about the federal judge who held Salazar in contempt of court because of his steadfast determination to ignore the judge’s decision in order to stop offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.  United States District Judge Martin Feldman held in Hornbeck Offshore Services v. Salazar, Civil No. 10-1663, USD Eastern District of Louisiana, that the evidence established a likelihood that Salazar’s decision to halt drilling “was arbitrary and capricious and, therefore, unlawful”.  He issued an injunction to prevent Salazar from carrying out his arbitrary decision.  Then, when Salazar persisted, the judge held there was “clear and convincing evidence of the government’s contempt of this Court’s preliminary injunction order.”  He referred to Salazar’s position as being “dismissive conduct” that would not tolerated.

Salazar claimed to have conducted a thorough review of the drilling prospects that favored termination of drilling, a review that represented that it had been reviewed by a panel of scientists.  Judge Feldman said that ‘several” of the scientists “publicly repudiated” the statement that they had reviewed the study.  Judge Feldman also pointed out that during the hearing, it was “exposed that an important White House official had changed the Safety Report [regarding drilling] before its public release which created the misleading appearance of scientific peer review.”  (see court’s order of February 2, 2011 Case 2:10-cv-01663-MLCF-JCW  Document 226)  He pointed out that when he specifically asked about this issue, the government denied that a change was made, but that later “the government does not now dispute” the story.  (Ibid. footnote 2)

I know of not one time that Salazar ever took into consideration the economic and cultural harm that resulted from his decisions.  The ban on drilling alone, according to Malkin, cost 19,000 jobs and $1.1 billion in lost wages.

Salazar also pulled 100 oil leases off the market in Utah based on a bogus report, an act that cost the state of Utah $139 million in lost tax revenue according to state representative Chris Herrod (R. Provo). See New York Times and Greenwire of April 2, 2010.

Losses of tax dollars, losses of jobs, losses of property rights meant nothing to Salazar who told a United States Senate committee in 2008 that he would refuse drilling permits in Alaska even if gas prices reached $10 per gallon in the United States.  (Malkin, “Hillary’s Headhunters: Sleazeball Ken Salazar”, August 17, 2016, http://www.nationalrevew.com/article/439074/ken-salazar-liar-bully)

One final note:  Even Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell could not stand the heat over Salazar’s National BlueWays Initiative Secretarial Order.  The Order gave the Secretary unilateral control to designate entire waterways as “national blue ways”.  What that meant to water rights was not made clear, but therein lies the rub.  If his own Order permitted it, Salazar would have used it to wipe away private water rights just as he did in so many Native settlements throughout the west.  Under stressful examination by the House Natural Resources Committee, and particularly Representative Tom McClintock of California and Doc Hastings of Washington, Jewell  put a “pause” on the program.

If Salazar is part of a Clinton administration, you can bet that the Blue Ways Initiative will be just a beginning on federal control of every spring, stream, creek and tributary in the west.

I just can’t see it.  And his presence again is too big a risk for me to accept without fighting back politically.

 

 

[1] Malkin is a senior editor for Conservative Review, and author of Sold Out and Culture of Corruption.

August 5, 2016—-Woodland, California.   Filed by Fred Kelly Grant

fred's pic august 2016

 

Two days ago, I put on my “BATMAN” shirt and began outlining a strategic plan of action bold enough to gain some leverage for the workers of America, against arbitrary regulatory agencies.

This may well be my “Last Crusade” so it has to be good, it has to be meaningful to the point that it makes the regulators realize their days of autocratic reign are over, makes them realize that “We the People” are the Government. They are just employees of the People. To do that, we must develope a “meat and potatoes” program—one with action at its center. To me the most logical venue for the plan is the judiciary. To me the reason is simple : the courts are less apt to cave to political pressures if the issues are framed narrowly and approriately and are then argued skillfully.

Taking on the agencies in court will not suprise them, although they may believe they are protected by the inability of the average citizen to sustain the cost of prolonged litigation. The agency people KNOW that moms and dads in the small business cannot afford extended litigation; they KNOW that students, farmers, ranchers, miners, loggers, and retail sales people, can barely make it. They have no money to spare on court costs and fees. And, the Government people KNOW they can delay, delay, and delaysome more in order to extend the litigation and up the ante.

The Government agency personnel also know how to get involved with one of the environmental groups, get sued by environmentalists, then agree to settle the case to the detriment of the individual citizens.

Well, I KNOW it is past time to see whether we can put an end to this duplicity. I KNOW it so completely, and accept it so totally, that I KNOW the plan of action must be dramatic with a broad stroke—it must be big enough to get agency attention and hold it. I KNOW that the coordination process must be followed in order to gain a critical advantage that the government action must be consistent with local policy which is most often friendly to the individual citizen. I KNOW that the coordination process must be followed to demonstrate the need to retain coordination in the law at a time when agency personnel are lobbying to remove the requirement.

So, it was time for the shirt that reads “DON’T TALK TO ME WHEN I’M TALKING TO MYSELF” Time to focus on the nature and scope of the challenge. One thing certain, I want it to be impressive to Bill Lowry.

 

Now 95 years of age, Mr. Lowry lives in Jordan Valley Oregon, and ranched in Owyhee County, Idaho. During a hearing on President Clinton’s “Rangled Reform” regulations two decades ago, I experienced one of the most poignant, humbling moments of all my years in hearings and meetings in all sorts and sizes of venues including courtrooms, Governor’s offices and the Oval office itself. Mr. Lowry asked that his statement be delivered to Idaho Senatos Mike Crapo and Larry Craig and to the President, and he waited until the Hearing Officer confirmed that this would happen. Then, in a strong, determined voice he testified that “when I waded on to the shores at Normandy as a young man, not even an adult, facing almost certain death for my country and it’s flag, I never dreamed that one day my government would be trying to take my property away from me.”

An Assistant Secretary of Interior who had come to listen ‘eye to eye”, lowered his head and did not look up again until Bill Lowry was off the stand.

I need to keep the faith with Mr. Lowry by proposing a plan that will cause some agency personnel to think as did that Assistant Secretary.

The law provides a remedy for unconstitutional, overbearing, baseless regulations and their implementers. But the government agencies designated by law to implement the remedy fail and refuse to do so.

I KNOW the process for gaining relief and I KNOW that NOW is the time to act for people like Bill Lowry whose ranch is again threatened, like Phil Nappo a miner in Great Falls, Montana whose mine property is threatened, like ranchers now relying on Bill Harvey and his fellow commissioners over in Baker County, Oregon, like the ranchers of Caribou County, Idaho whose land will be invaded by the monster towers of Bonneville Power Compay when an alternate route not affecting the ranchers could be used, like the folks in Hamilton, Montana facing the danger of on-rushing wildfire fueled by a forest mass resulting from failure to manage.

Keep watching www.thestandandfightclub.com and your emails to see details of the strategic plan I will recommend to the Board of Directos of the Stand and Fight Club. This is the time. Not next month, not next year, NOW. We need to develop an action plan that will honor our ancestors and founders and will keep the faith of all those who have fought for our liberty—on the battlefield, in the air, in the courtrooms, in legislative halls, in administrative hearing rooms, and even on cross country air flights—

“If not us, who? If not now, when?”

Keep tuned—its coming!! My last big campaign for victory

IF YOU DONATE AS LITTLE AS $25 TODAY YOU WILL HELP US MOVE AHEAD TO FILE ACTION

AGAINST THE FOREST SERVICE FOR BAKER COUNTY, OREGON, AND TO FILE AGAINST CARB

IN CALIFORNIA.  WE ALSO NEED HELP IN MOVING ALONG THE CASES FOR OUR TWO

MINERS IN MONTANA—GEORGE AND PHIL—AND TO HELP ALAN AND JULIE GANTZ

RID THEMSELVES OF THEIR COLORADO CONSERVATION EASEMENT BURDEN.

PLEASE DONATE TODAY—$25, MORE IF YOU CAN, SO THAT WE CAN

STAND AND FIGHT FOR YOU TOMORROW.

Fred Kelly Grant

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