INTERVIEW WITH REP. HELEN CHENOWETH
Subject: BLM Seizing Unconstitutional Power
Reagan: Helen, let me ask you a couple of questions. First of all, the reason your name came to my mind is because of all this information that I'm getting in the mail, being faxed to me and e-mailed to me, concerning the Bureau of Land Management and their new set of rules giving them law enforcement authority. Where do we stand on that?
Chenoweth: Don Young and I together appealed to the Bureau of Land Management to extend the comment period on this and we are going to be holding hearing on this so that we can get this out to the public. Mike, you are ahead of the wave again, Mike. You are the first major news correspondent to make an issue of this, but it is very onerous.
Reagan: Tell me what the onerous part of it is.
Chenoweth: Well for one thing BLM is taking onto themselves law enforcement that is normally saved for the State, law enforcement over motor vehicles. They've written into the regulation without authority from Congress, the ability to stop vehicles or to search people, to search a place or a vehicle without warrant or process; to be able to seize without warrant or process any piece of evidence and to test people for potential DUI (driving under the influence). They have redefined a parachute into a mechanized piece of equipment, so if you parachute into any of their areas you can be fined $20,000 or more.
It is amazing. Our founders, when establishing our system of government wanted to make sure that law enforcement was closest to the people. You and I have talked before about how important it is to make sure that you elect the very best local county sheriff because he should be regarded as the highest law enforcement officer in the area because he is accountable to the voters. They really worried about a national, a federal, law enforcement. To federalize our law enforcement is to create a situation that the pilgrims were trying to escape.
We are moving quickly to that. The Bureau of land Management is taking onto themselves law enforcement authority that Congress never gave them. In the Federal Land Policy and Management Act that was passed in the early 1970's it made it clear that Congress said that, "First, you must go to your local county sheriff for law enforcement activities.
I've been one who has really been on the appropriators to make sure that money gets to our local county sheriff instead of to the Bureau of Land Management.
Reagan: What happened when they woke up one morning and said, "I think we are going to expand our authority." Who gave them the right to expand the authority?
Chenoweth: That's the problem with this Clinton Administration. They are expanding by assertion. they are expanding way beyond the intents ofthe law or the letter of the law. You know, they are going to find themselves out there in the rocks and shale. They are not protected even by the doctrine of sovereign immunity that it takes so long and so much to get a case moved through to the Supreme Court that the Congress must act.
In the BLM proposed rules and regulations, you can't remove any plants or soil or pick up any rocks or minerals. You can't drive on any vegetation or soil. You can't disturb soil at all. Now you can't set a foot on soil without disturbing it. You can't set a foot on a ground plant without disturbing it.
Reagan: Do you think the background on this, Helen, is the United Nations and its Biosphere and that whole operation using the environmentalists?
Chenoweth: I'm afraid we may be moving towards an international set of rules that really are oppressive to people. You know, those of us who live in the West love our land. We are close to our land. And we are proud of what we have out here. And they certainly can't manage our land better in Washington, D.C. than we can right out here.
Reagan: Whatever we have left.
Chenoweth: Whatever we have left. Right now in Idaho and I am sure all over the West, they are moving people and human activities off the land. They certainly have done that here in Idaho. Their forest practices as far as fire suppression and on 0 and C lands and BLM forests, as well as grassland has been very, very bad. There's been no suppression.
Reagan: So what people need to do is they need to contact their state BLM director, is that correct?
Chenoweth: That's right. If you don't want your local BLM officer checking your brakes, your lights, your muffler, your seatbelts, how you park, - all of these things, if you are on BLM land. America needs to get up in arms about this.
Reagan: When you say BLM lands, how much are you talking about?
Chenoweth: Oh, millions of acres. Nevada, for instance, has most of its land in BLM jurisdiction
Reagan: About 80%
Chenoweth: Yes. Idaho about 25%. So, large portions of the West are federal unappropriated lands that were to go eventually to the states for their own management. But, with the advent of FLPMA we've sort of gave them statutory authority to continue on and on.
Reagan: FLPMA? What is FLPMA?
Chenoweth: Federal Land Policy Management Act.
Reagan: O.K. That's some ofthat Congress-talk.
Chenoweth: Congress-talk! I'm sorry to do that. I'11 try not to?
Reagan: Yeah! I'm just waiting for the next phone call asking, "What in the world is FLPMA?" I'd have to say, "I don't know! But it sounded good to me!"
Reagan: So people need to contact their State BLM director. How long is the period that people can do this?
Chenoweth: Well, until March 7th for the first set ofrules. But, I am asking to have that comment period extended and I am sure it will be. So it is indefinite right now. But try to get your comments in before March 7th to the BLM State Directors.
Reagan: So before March 7th. It's also a good idea to send a letter to Bruce Babbitt (Department of Interior Secretary) - even if he can't read.
Mike Reagan Action Tip: For the BLM rules and summary on how and where to send your comments go to:
Or send comments directly to:
Bureau of Land Management,
Administrative Record, Room 401LS
1849 C Street, NW.
Washington, DC 20240
You may transmit comments electronically via the Internet to: WOComment@wo.blm.gov. Please include "Attn: AC30" and your name and address in your message. If you do not receive a confirmation from the system that we have received your Internet message, contact us directly,
Addresses of State BLM Offices: At end of article
The other side of this is you had a Citizens Fair Hearing Act which dealt with the endangered species. What is going on with that bill? Are you going to reintroduce it in 105th shortly or have you already?
Chenoweth: I dropped a bill yesterday with nearly 40 co-sponsors, many of them California Congressmen are co-sponsors of that bill. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a decision a few months ago ruled that humans are not within the zone of interest in the endangered species act, therefore humans do not have standing in court to plead for compensation for lost property and lost assets. If your property is taken under the Endangered Species Act, it's taken. And you can't be paid for it, unless you open up the courts, as they have always been opened up for standing for human beings and that's what my bill does.
Reagan: So, the Citizens Fair Hearing Act would amend the Endangered Species Act to allow landowners injured by the act to bring suit against the government. What a concept! A Court of Appeals has said that only environmentalists can sue, but a human cannot. That's stupid
Chenoweth: It's amazing
Reagan: It is amazing. It's amazing when you go out and ask people - and I'm doing it all the time - who really don't know the bare facts on what the Endangered Species Act has done.
Chenoweth: Well, it's hard for my colleagues to realize how far we have degenerated as far as our ability to have standing in court.
Reagan: Have you seen the story this week in the Wall Street Journal - something I've talked about four or five years ago - the flies that are now on the Endangered Species list in San Bernadino, California?
Chenoweth: Have they been listed?
Reagan: There are eight flies. There are only eight of them now. They have a flyway. They have ten acres of land. They have a few million dollars to protect them. They die every 22 days.
Chenoweth: And we complain about our students not getting proper funding!
Reagan: Helen, it's been good to have you on. You have a good day.
Bureau ofland Mananement Offices:
· Office of Public Affairs
· 1849 C Street, Room 504-LS
· Washington, DC 20240
U.S.D.I. Bureau of land Management
· Anchorage Alaska
· Bureau ofland Management
· California State Office
· Federal Building
· 2800 Cottage Way
· Sacramento, CA.
· State Director: (916) 979-2845
· Bureau of land Management
· Colorado State Office
· 2850 Youngfield Street
· Lakewood, Co. 80215
· phone: (303) 239-3600
· tdd: (303) 239-3635
· Martha Hahn, State Director, BLM Idaho
· BLM Idaho State Office
· 3380 Americana Terrace
· Boise, Idaho 83706
· BLM Montana State Office Street Address:
· P.O. Box 36800, Billings, MT 59107 [Email] Web Address:http://www.mt.blm.gov
· Office Phone: (406) 255-2885
· FAX Number: (406) 255-2762
· Bureau of Land Management
· Nevada State Office
· 850 Harvard Way
· P.O. Box 12000
· Reno, NV 89520-0006
· Telephone: (702) 785-6400
· FAX: (702) 785-6411
· New Mexico State Office
· Bill Calkins, State Director
· Gil Lucero, Associate State Director
· Street Address:
1474 Rodeo Road
· Santa Fe, NM 87505
· Mailing Address:
· P.O. Box 27115
· Santa Fe, NM 87502-0115
· (505) 438-7400
· Oregon State Office
· Elaine Zielinski, State Director
· Oregon State Office
1515 SW 5th Ave.
· Portland, OR 97201
· Telephone: (503) 952-6600
· FAX: (503) 952-6308
· E-mail: email@example.com
· Utah State Office
· 324 South State Street
· P.O. Box 45155
· Salt Lake City, Utah 84145-0155
· (801) 539-4001
· State Director: Bill Lamb
· Casper District Office
1701 East E Street
· Casper WY 82601
· Phone: (307) 261-7600
· District Manager
· Don Hinrichsen
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