How Some Sucker Stole the Water

The Christopher di Armani-produced Rights and Freedoms Bulletin of April 28, 2012 carried a frustrating article about the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) declaring war on British Columbia’s Fraser Valley farmers.

The ditches the farmers dug to drain their land have been designated “fish habitat”.

The heavy-handed, gun-toting, jackboot boys told the farmers they can no longer clean their ditches or farm within 30 metres of the ditches, regardless that no fish will ever inhabit the drainage channels.

If farmers are forbidden from dredging their ditches, their properties will flood, thus raising the water table and greatly encumbering their ability to graze cattle and grow crops that feed their families, neighbours and communities which are inhabited by those jackboot bureaucrats.

Further, Fisheries decided it would take control over any bridges and other crossings and has demanded that farmers plant trees along the banks so the bureaucrats can declare the land unfarmable when the work is finished.

The land guardians have no way to appeal Fisheries’ overzealous application of the federal Fisheries Act which has been a thorn in the side of every land-user in Canada for the last eon.

“The DFO is taking this land from these farmers without any concern about their livelihoods or understanding about agriculture,” said Jordan Bateman, Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s British Columbia Director, whose organization stepped up to the plate to give assistance.

“Why are we spending thousands or millions of dollars to employ Fisheries and Oceans bureaucrats to persecute in-land farmers?”

Good question.

And why has Fisheries and Oceans been extremely heavy-handed about persecuting and prosecuting Yukon’s inland placer miners to the tune of $50,000 as well as threatening businessmen who buy, prepare and sell fish on the retail market?

When we are talking any type of environmental legislation, we are not talking logic; we are talking tyranny. Fisheries and Oceans “officers” have such power they can--and have--called in the police to investigate anybody who has the gall to criticize them for packing sidearms into a family-oriented doughnut shop or a country grocery store.

Fisheries and Oceans has deep pockets. It’s primary objective is not to win a case in court or a quasi-judicial Water Board hearing. Fisheries and Oceans’ entire thrust is to financially and spiritually break the back of all property owners off the land and stop committing their wanton sin.

This latest Fraser Valley episode reminded me of the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

You probably haven’t heard of the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Canadians are too hard-pressed to keep track of their own blizzard of poorly-written, contradictory laws that put Moscow’s to shame, much less keep track of U.S. law, too.

Americans have hollered long and loud to have the Endangered Species Act repealed since it was passed in 1973. So far, all they’ve achieved for their efforts are strong lungs and sore throats.

Meanwhile, people go to jail and pay $200,000 fines for trying to protect themselves and families, land and livestock.

Yet Ottawa chose to mimic the American legislation with its own version known as the Species at Risk Act, which, as explained in my April 9, 2012 posting, Property Owners Are An Endangered Species, was introduced to Parliament in 1996 and re-tabled a few times before the last one, Bill C-33, finally died on the order paper due to yet another election call.

But it’s just a matter of time before influential Green Clubbers convince parliamentarians to bring on another piece of odious species-saving legislation to correspond with the global effort to maintain the biological diversity of the planet as laid out in the United Nations’ Agenda 21.

Former Environment Minister David Anderson said he wanted Canada’s legislation to be more effective than the American version. So, whenever this legislation is re-introduced, be prepared for the worst. Even Indian land claims real estate is not going to be exempt, much less mining claims and the family farm.

Coming soon to a place near you--as the Fraser Valley farmers have already discovered under the Fisheries Act--is going to be a rendition of the Klamath Basin clash along the Oregon-California border.

On April 6, 2001, the U.S. federal agencies denied farmers their 96-year-old rights to irrigation water. The action stemmed from a last-minute President Bill Clinton-era decision.

A May 1, 2001 court ruling by the controversial federal judge Ann Aiken upheld the Bureau of Reclamation’s interpretation of the Endangered Species Act, which gave the water to the fish rather than to the farmers.

Something smelled rotten, and it wasn’t dead fish.

Shutting off irrigation water during a drought would spell ruination for the region’s economy which is exactly what was intended.

Klamath Basin farmers were forced to start selling cattle, leave pastures and hay fields to go brown, and give up annual plantings of potatoes, grain and other crops that require a large quota of water.

In a huge quandary was then Interior Secretary Gale Norton, alleged to be a strong proponent of property rights, as was her Republican boss, President George W. Bush.

Though he didn’t have Congressional clout to axe the Endangered Species Act, surely he could have done a quick kill--at least of some sections--with those ubiquitous executive orders he was so fond of signing.

If he needed instructions, Canada’s Prime Minister Jean Chretien, the king of orders-in-council, could have probably been dispatched posthaste to show the U.S. president the ropes.

For Bush to throw a paltry amount of federal money at angry, frustrated farmers certainly wasn’t going to resolve the problem. Without water, they couldn’t work the land and grow crops.

The land suddenly became valueless.

An acre worth $2,500 U.S. one day was devalued overnight to about $35 U.S. and banks wouldn’t authorize loans without secure collateral.

Eventually, the land owners would be forced to forfeit their land for taxes. The green groups were salivating in the wings to snap up the land for a song and re-sell it to the federal government for a mint.

That is exactly why and how the whole devious game works!

Environmental groups, government departments and the United Nations are ganged up together to beat up the private property owners, who, at this very moment, have been placed under severe threat by Alberta’s CINO (Conservative in Name Only) Party.

To avert a Klamath disaster, farmers only needed their water rights that dated back to 1905 when water was promised through settlement agreements with the Klamath Indian Tribe downstream.

It was the farmers’ own government that gave incentives, especially to veterans of both world wars, to settle in the Klamath region. The government offered free irrigation water to help farmers cultivate a veritable breadbasket in a region that needed to feed itself.

The covenant worked well for many decades.

But what the government giveth during one administration it can taketh away with the next administration.

By denying the farmers water, the federal government effectively stole the land back and issued a death warrant to the farmers and those people the farmers fed in the surrounding communities.

The water rights were turned over to the ownership of two wildlife refuges located on a portion of the lakes used by migrating birds and fish--which later were identified as three suckers and one coho!

The only people noticeably happy about the decision to shut off farmers’ water supply was the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, founded in 1971 as the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund.

Most assuredly, that was what smelled rotten. Somewhere along the line, the eco freaks had launched a lawsuit.

The selfish, insipid Green Clubbers dismissed the farmers as insignificant and called their products that graced grocery shelves and people’s tables to be of “low-value”--the same term I would affix to the eco-freaks.

The Endangered Species Act gives authority to the federal government to legally withhold water from people in order to protect a few (three) bottom-feeding suckers in Upper Klamath Lake and coho salmon in the Klamath River.

When environmental legislation is under discussion, we are not talking logic.

Since fish can survive in a lot less water than what is required to quench the thirst of farm crops, the water could have been shared. The court, which had the legal authority to provide relief to the land owners through a special provision of the Act, didn’t do it.

Something stank.

“The court decision to grant fish more rights than those who have worked the land and paid their taxes is an attack on sanity itself,” wrote Tom DeWeese of the American Policy Center.

It lacks all rationality, he added. “It is an attack on those farmers, but it is also yet another example of the way radical environmentalists continue to attack the most essential elements of the West’s economic life.

“It is ultimately an attack on every American’s property rights because ownership of any land anywhere can be destroyed by simply asserting that an endangered species exists on it or may at some time use it.”

The clash at Klamath Basin is about politicians who are all too willing to make promises without adequate information, background or any kind of analysis or integrity of what the ultimate consequences will be on human lives, which, under Canada’s Saint Suzuki’s Marxism doctrine, are of less value than a fruit fly.

It’s hard to fathom that politicians elected to serve people did not have a contingency plan in place to offset nature’s inconsistencies in case 1,400 farmers faced water shortages during record dry years on land that spreads over 240,000 acres.

In order for the out-going Clinton administration to give the water to fish, it took water away from the farmers which was less risky than assaulting the Indians, whose fishing rights were upheld. But they too felt betrayed over treaty rights to the water that was also promised to them.

As usual, the federal government made a muddle of everything on all counts.

There was virtually no media coverage when 8,000 protesters gathered on May 7, 2001.

By July 4, ironically Independence Day, a smaller, more agitated group took the law into its own hands. Armed with a diamond-blade chainsaw and a cutting torch, they reopened the head gate that “officials” had welded shut.

Water from Upper Klamath Lake gushed back into an irrigation canal to provide a drink for 90 percent of the thirsty land. The Bureau of Reclamation called in the U.S. Marshals to enforce the Endangered Species law.

No state or local laws were violated. So, Klamath Falls police and county deputy sheriffs stood around watching for four hours. Then the Bureau of Reclamation, which controls the irrigation system, shut off the tap.

The farmers reopened the gate twice in one week.

In late July of 2001, after about three months of fiddling, Interior Secretary Norton promised farmers a trickle (about 15 percent) of their usual annual water allotment because lake levels were higher than previously thought.

However, if the farmers still had a diamond-blade chainsaw, they were going to take all their water allotment, or die trying. They were not going to stand idly by while their crops continued to wither and livestock perish.

They would fight to the bitter end before accepting arbitrary eviction notices that were being handed out indiscriminately to land owners all over the western and northern United States and Canada.

It was through this abominable Endangered Species Act, so-called environmentalists were given legal license to commit economic cleansing. Their goal was not and never has been to protect nature. Their objective is to force humans from the farms and lock up all the land into “no use” zones.

Their evil deeds played havoc with local businesses. School enrollment dwindled as populations decreased. The greens’ objective is to dismantle all industry and turn rural and northern communities into ghost towns, which they have somewhat been successful in achieving, so they can reclaim the land to pre-Christopher Columbus days.

“This is what happens when the government becomes powerful and beholden to special interests, especially kooky environmentalist interests,” wrote Alabama banker Brad Edmonds, who is also trained as an industrial psychologist.

In a large archival bank of Internet articles, he asked a lot of questions of his readers in a piece titled Environmentalist Atrocities: What They’re Killing in America.

“Do you value your home? Your liberty? Your God-given right to lead your own life, provide for your family, and plan for the future?

“The green left is the most dangerous and powerful force in taking all of that away. These econazis want you dead.

“After Klamath, is anyone still in doubt?”

April 29, 2012

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