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By Ron Ewart
What has been going on in the Federal courts for the last 35 years on Indian issues, totally eclipses the humiliating defeat of Custer's Last Stand at the Little Big Horn. With gaming casinos popping up everywhere, the Boldt decision (1974) and other court decisions on Salmon preservation and so-called treaty rights, Americans are being taken to the proverbial cleaners. Fleeced, as it were. The Indians are getting even, big time and it's costing all of us billions of dollars. Ever since the Puyallup Indians of Western Washington (all 1,200 of them) won a massive $160,000,000+ settlement from the Federal government several years ago (our tax dollars), after clouding the title to thousands of acres in Pierce County, Washington, Indian tribes across the country have sought billions of American dollars in the courts. We believe that the Puyallup case prompted the Coeur d'Alene Indian tribe to make a federal claim in court that they owned Lake Coeur d'Alene, in North Idaho. Now the Coeur d'Alene Indians don't care one wit about owning the lake. What they are after is federal dollars. As far as we know, that case has yet to be decided and will probably run through the courts for years. The Indians are patient. They can wait for the millions they will receive of our money, by legal blackmail. The Boldt and Puyallup decisions have embolden the Indian tribes and they are after more and more. They have found a welcome ally in our Federal courts.
Some of you are aware that we have taken on a local issue, having to do with very expensive fish and habitat culverts being installed on creeks, streams and rivulets throughout Western Washington, but more specifically King County rural roads, paid for by rural taxpayers. Today we learn that the Indians won another Federal court decision that mandates that all culverts on all streams in Western Washington, no matter whether the water course is Salmon bearing or not, must be replaced with these expensive fish and habitat culverts. Our research has uncovered that these culverts are even being installed on creeks that dry up in the summer, where no fish habitat could exist. Ludicrous!
You can read the full article from the Seattle Times HERE.
State and local budgets will be strained to the breaking point and they will come after you, the taxpayer, for the money. But this isn't the worst of this court decision. Road culverts are one thing, but the Federal court decision mandates that the entire habitat be restored. The entire habitat runs over millions of acres of private land. Guess who will get to pick up the tab for water course restoration on private land? The private landowner! Guess whose ox will be gored the most? Rural landowners, because that is where most of the water courses are located. Then comes the excessive setback regulations (in some cases up to 450 feet) that will be applied to these small water courses on private lands. Many of those setback regulations have already been passed into law in spite of vociferous objections from rural landowners. Certainly you don't think the court would ever mandate that streams, creeks and rivulets running under city streets would have to be restored, do you? Once again, the city folks will get off scot-free and the rural landowners will take the full brunt of this environmental fish preservation insanity. What most rural landowners don't know, is that Washington State has already granted legal authority to force rural landowners to restore fish habitat on their land, at their cost.
From the article: "Oh boy, this is a celebration day," said Billy Frank Jr., a Nisqually elder and chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, formed to implement the Boldt decision.
Frank went on to say: "But we have to do a better job at what we are doing. We have to have the leadership and the guts to make it happen, and we haven't had the political will for salmon in this state," Frank said. "We need the political will to bring the salmon back and have a home when they get here."
"Political will? Bring the Salmon back? A home for Salmon?" Be serious!!! Rural landowners are being inundated with the abusive "WILL" of the government to give into the legal blackmail of the Indian tribes and the wild-eyed, radical environmentalists over salmon preservation, fish and animal habitat and environmental protection of any and all kinds, real or imagined.
Again, we repeat a paragraph from our August 16th article on the same subject:
"All across Western America, these kinds of preservation and conservation projects are unnecessarily sucking up taxpayer dollars for a fish that is supposedly endangered. But not only is it not endangered, it is heavily fished by commercial fisherman out in the ocean and by native Americans who install triple nets across rivers to catch 50% of the northwest spawning salmon. (The Boldt decision) If these fish are endangered, then why are we harvesting them in the first place? Why do native Americans get 50% of the catch? Why don't we shut off the fishery for four years and quit eating salmon, so that the species will recover? Why indeed!"
"He who does nothing when confronted by a bully, encourages the bully." - Ron Ewart
Have we encouraged the bully? You bet! And we still are.
August 24, 2007
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~ The Author ~
Ron Ewart is the President of The National Association of Rural Landowners and may reached for comment via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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