EPA administrator Gina McCarthy stated that the EPA and the USDA are going to regulate 56 farm practices
Lessons Learned and Lessons Missed from the Attempted Land Grab
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The recent standoff at the Bundy ranch in Nevada has taught us many lessons, but the most important one was missed.
We learned that the government will do anything to private citizens in order to grab land and private property either under the guise of protecting an “endangered” desert tortoise that is actually overpopulated, or getting rid of “feral” and destructive “trespassing cattle” grazing the land for generations, cattle that are in the way of developing a $5 billion Chinese solar panel plant (ENN), and the exploitation of rare earth elements in the larger adjacent area.
Mr. Bundy was too stubborn, the last rancher standing in Clarke County, Nevada, clinging to his inconvenient “feral” cattle, his agreement with the State of Nevada, with the Bureau of Land Management, BLM, his “prescriptive rights,” and his ranch. I thought cattle were domesticated, not feral, and were raised for beef consumption.
Mr. Bundy may or may not owe the $1 million in grazing fees. The case is not clear-cut on either side and may go all the way to the Supreme Court. If someone trespasses or uses someone else’s land for at least five years without the owner of the land taking legal action, that person can claim prescriptive rights. In Mr. Bundy’s case, twenty years have lapsed since payment of fees have been in question.
Mark Levin explained in his April 11th broadcast that “Bundy had agreements with the State of Nevada before the BLM claimed jurisdiction.”
The sad lesson was how innocent animals were hurt and no animal protection agency stepped forward to protest their treatment, how people were manhandled, tasered, frightened by fully armed and menacing agents, and how massive, extreme, and expensive was the government’s response to one farmer who allegedly has not paid $1 million in grazing fees. How many people are currently in court that have embezzled other people’s money, or have failed to pay money owed to the federal government, yet have not received the Bundy treatment?
Another lesson missed was that the federal government has huge land holdings, particularly in the southwest. Lord Monckton mentioned in his article that “almost one-third of the entire 2.3 billion acres in the country are owned by the federal government.” He is of the opinion that there should be a statute of limitations on civil debt, including the right of use.
The BLM citing alleged environmental damage by the Bundy Ranch was not credible because ranchers grow up caring for the environment that provides their livelihood. They are not likely to abuse the land or any property that sustains them and their families for generations.
The other important lesson missed was that putting so many ranchers out of business, coupled with other variables, is having a negative impact on the price of beef. U.S. cattle inventory is at a 63-year low for several reasons. William Hahn of USDA explained that “cow numbers were down… and the lower supply meant higher prices.”
The U.S. is the world’s largest beef producer and Texas is the leader. Demand from China and Japan for U.S. beef has increased. Supply is tight, “everything produced is consumed.” Dry seasons, increased cattle feed prices due to grain use for ethanol are some of the variables affecting supply and beef prices. Wrangling Mr. Bundy’s cattle with helicopters and exhausting some to death certainly would not help the price of beef.
Ranchers are happy with the higher prices but consumers are looking at an increase of 5-10 percent for steak this year and 10-15 percent for ground beef. Consumers can switch to cheaper priced meats. Economists call this the substitution effect. Restaurants are cutting beef portion size and increasing their prices.
According to USDA, “beef and veal prices, which are already at or near record levels across the country, rose 4 percent in February and are up 5.4 percent over this time last year. As the largest monthly increase in beef prices since November 2003, this reflects, in part, an increase in exports, a decrease in imports, and further reductions in the U.S. cattle inventory.”
Replenishing the beef supply is not easy nor quick. It takes two years for cattle to be ready for slaughter.
There is an environmental push against meat consumption because cow flatulence produces methane. Methane is one of the gases which environmentalists blame for global warming. To mitigate such “pollution,” environmentalists would like to impose a flatulence tax per head.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that animals emit greenhouse gases through flatulence and belching and pollute the air. The EPA is considering charging any farmer with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle, or 200 pigs an annual fee of $175 for each dairy cow, $87.50 for each beef cattle and $20 per pig.
To influence and discourage the public to consume meat, a study from the Netherlands by Monique van Nielen of Wageningen University claims that “too much animal protein is tied to diabetes risk.” The study was done ex post facto, looking at dietary data from 11,000 select people who developed type 2 diabetes and 15,000 people without diabetes.
The study should have randomly assigned subjects to eat varying amounts and types of protein. This would have given a better indication if “too much animal protein is tied to diabetes risk.” Instead, the study looked at the diets of people who developed diabetes and those who did not. There were so many other variables besides meat consumption that were not controlled in the study.
The Diabetes Journal discussed the effect of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet on blood glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes in a 2004 study.
The last and most important lesson about the Bundy land grab standoff in Nevada is heightened awareness to other land grabs, specifically what House Appropriation Committee Chairman Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky) calls “the biggest land grab in the history of the world” that would have a “profound economic impact” and it “would absolutely freeze economic activity in this country.”
What Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky) refers to is the joint EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers March 2014 proposed rule, Waters of the United States, to spell out which streams and wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act.
During the Congressional budget testimony last week, it was revealed that Waters of the United States would give the EPA authority over streams on private property even when the water beds are dry or have been dry for a long time.
The EPA website posted the rule for a 90-day commentary period. The science behind the rule has not been completed. Yet EPA claims that “the proposed rule will benefit businesses by increasing efficiency in determining coverage of the Clean Water Act.”
The Assistant Secretary of the Army for civil works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, opined that the nation’s waters and wetlands “are valuable resources that must be protected today and for future generations.”
EPA administrator Gina McCarthy stated that the EPA and the USDA are going to regulate 56 farm practices so that farmers no longer need to ask questions whether their activities are considered exempt under the Clean Water Act.
“The proposed rule will:
- Preserve current agricultural exemptions for Clean Water Act permitting, including:
- Normal farming, silviculture, and ranching practices. Those activities include plowing, seeding, cultivating, minor drainage, and harvesting for production of food, fiber, and forest products.
- Upland soil and water conservation practices.
- Agricultural storm water discharges.
- Return flows from irrigated agriculture.
- Construction and maintenance of farm or stock ponds or irrigation ditches on dry land.
- Maintenance of drainage ditches.
- Construction or maintenance of farm, forest, and temporary mining roads.
- Provide greater clarity and certainty to farmers.
- Avoid economic burden on agriculture.
- Encourage the use of voluntary conservation practices.
- Be consistent with and support existing USDA programs.”
Congresswoman Murkowski and many farmers are troubled that the EPA, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), USDA, the Department of Energy, and the Army Corps of Engineers would gain so much power as to dictate grazing rights, food production, farming activities, animal husbandry, and the use of water and energy on private lands.