Statement of Concern:
The BLM’s proposed Rule 2023 is a generic, saccharine-sounding push to promote the health and welfare of western federal lands and people through government “management.” As the new director of the BLM, Tracy Stone-Manning put it, “Our job is to serve many different stakeholders and constituencies. And what I want to do is make sure that it is balanced, and fair, and that people see themselves as part of the process as to how our lands are managed – whether they live in Two Dot or New York City. My focus … is how can we ensure that the lands, and the way we manage them, are healthy,” she said. “It’s very simple — it’s what your mother taught you: We need to leave these lands better off than we found them. That’s my overarching goal for the work.”
Sounds rather utopian, doesn’t it? Let’s dig a little deeper. What are the actual assumptions behind this proposed rule?
The BLM operates on the unstated premise that they have the right to effectively mandate and unilaterally administer this ‘rule’ over 245 million acres of land and 700 million acres of subsurface minerals.
Over a dozen Republican U.S. senators penned a letter to the Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning questioning this premise. The 16 lawmakers represent Western states and write that the BLM’s proposal jeopardizes multiple-use mandates established by Congress in the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act. The FLPMA states that public lands must be available to “best meet the needs of the people” through various purposes encompassing use from recreation to timber harvesting.
In addition, the conservation leases that Rule 2023 allows would generate income for the BLM. This also exceeds constitutional legality. The power to raise and spend money is solely delegated to Congress. The new proposal, the lawmakers warn, goes beyond what power is given them by the elected representatives of the people—of all of us. Instead, it shifts more decision-making sovereignty to unelected bureaucrats outside the scope of their congressional mandate.
The BLM apparently believes that we will be appeased by patronizing phrases such as: “serve many different stakeholders and constituencies, make sure that it is balanced, and fair, let people see themselves as part of the process.”
In reality, our only input is this public comment period which was not publicized to any effective degree and which, regardless of the nature of the comments, will have no binding influence on the outcome.
We can trust Stone-Manning when she says that multiple-use will continue.
Take a look at her background. As a college student Stone-Manning was an environmental activist. She was involved in a federal investigation of tree-spiking in Idaho by a group of eco- terrorists. She actually sent a threatening letter to the Forest Service about the spiking on behalf of two of the terrorists. She traded her court testimony for legal immunity.
In addition, as part of her graduate thesis, Stone-Manning created a series of eight advertisements that focused on the issues of overgrazing, overpopulation, a mining law from
the late 1800s and the lumber industry. One of those ads stated, “The origin of our abuses is us. If there were fewer of us, we would have less impact. We must consume less, and more importantly, we must breed fewer consuming humans.” Another ad says, “”The earth is only so big, and we can tap into it only so often. In America, we tap in often and hard.”
A further ad claims that livestock grazing is destroying the West.” The News Review and other sources cite Stone-Manning’s magazine advertisements as reading, “It is overgrazed. Most likely, the grasses won’t grow back because the topsoil took flight.” But that’s not all she wrote, “Worse still, the government encourages this destruction. It charges ranchers under $2 a month to graze each cow and its calf on public land — your land.”
This is the bureaucrat we are trusting the future of our land, resources, and livelihoods to?
The danger to ranching and farming is clear. Especially when we note, as stated above, that one of the rule’s objectives is to allow conservation leases by parties outside of San Juan County. This is especially problematic when it clearly seems that environmentalist goals are put first.
We are seeing drastic incursions on ranching and farming throughout the world. The Netherlands is the prime example: The Netherlands government—following the agenda of globalist overlords, and in spite of mass protests by the country’s farmers and ranchers—aims to reduce the farm operations in that country by 90%-95% in order to cut nitrogen “pollution” and to establish nature preserves that must be maintained in their exact current state. This is eerily similar to the BLM wording of one of the rule’s objectives: “prioritize intact landscapes”. The government in the Netherlands is aiming for 3000 farms to go immediately. In addition, the farmers would have to sign an agreement that they would not farm anywhere else in the EU. Beyond the devastation to Dutch farming and farmers, think how this could affect our own food supply: the Netherlands is the second largest food exporter in the world.
And this is only the beginning: Canada, New Zealand, Germany, and the US (among others) are considering movements in this direction. In New York City, for example, Mayor Adams touts his city’s efforts to follow the globalist green agenda. He says, “New York City is leading the world when it comes to combating climate change, because we’re using every option on the menu in our fight — and that includes changing our menus, too. . . That’s why today, we’re committing to reducing the city’s food-based emissions at agencies by 33 percent by 2030 and challenging our private sector partners to join us by cutting their food emissions by 25 percent in the same time period.” “Food-based emissions” is a euphemism for cow and nitrogen fertilizer “pollution”. So that means they are beating the drum for reducing, even eliminating meat and crops, which naturally leads to the ultimate goal of eliminating farmers and ranchers.
And there may be another reason, in addition to touting the green agenda. Scholar and food sovereignty advocate Vandana Shiva has said that the real reason the Netherlands is targeting farmers is that there is a land grab going on. It is a conflict “between two world views. For the corporations and the billionaires land is real estate, property. For the people of the land, including the citizens and the farmers, land is the mother. Land is the identity.”
Shiva thinks Bill Gates has become the face of the future of agriculture. [He currently is the largest private owner of farmland in the U.S. In total, Gates controls approximately 242,000 acres of farmland.] He is imagining one agriculture across the world [calling it Gates Ag One] growing monoculture crops as feed for lab food. [Or even developing fake food and insect food instead of meat.] So, Mr. Gates wants to control food at all levels. This includes controlling land, controlling seeds, destroying real food to replace it with lab food and eliminating farmers from farming altogether.”
Now, let’s expand the view to an even more frightening level. Gates is facilitating efforts of the Chinese Communist Party to influence U.S. agricultural policy through the work of a group he has ties to which works to convince U.S. government officials to partner with China on American agriculture. According to the Department of Agriculture, China already owns 384,000 acres of agricultural land in the United States. This is a clear and dangerous land grab. Imagine how easily Bill Gates, one of his ilk, or even the Chinese government sponsored by Gates could become a conservation lessee on our land and even take over the grazing leases that now exist—ostensibly in the name of saving the world from climate change. That would seem to fit Stone-Manning’s agenda perfectly.
The BLM’s overriding concern is (as they believe ours should be) worries about (1) climate change and (2) environmental protection. Note their stated priorities: environmental issues, intact landscapes, and conservation leases. Also, Stone-Manning herself affirmed that her emphasis will be clean-energy development – turning away from the pro-oil-and-gas, “energy dominance” agenda of the Trump administration. She said, “I think (President Biden) has been pretty clear that he expects us to work toward a carbon-free future on our public lands, across our country.” (In the comment statement we are allowed to submit to the BLM, we are actually requested to “Describe how multiple uses can enhance conservation and protection.” This seems to be the only concern.)
The climate change issue is about an environmentalism which revolves around blatantly false fear-mongering. It is neither a scientifically established need nor a given consensus ‘of the people’. There is considerable scientific evidence that these concerns should be openly challenged. Some of many counter statements are: The climate is not changing at an alarming rate. We are only experiencing a 1/10 of 1% increase in climate warming. This warming earth leads to greener, more thriving ecosystems. The UN predicts a million extinctions over the next few decades, while we are experiencing only 1 or 2 a year. Natural gas is a clean source of energy. The attack on fossil fuels and nitrogen fertilizers would lead to widespread famine and energy scarcity culminating in catastrophic inflation, poverty, and death. This would be the trade-off for expensive, environment-damaging, and ineffective green energy that would need fossil fuel back-ups to be even remotely reliable.
These opposing statements about ‘climate change’ are not meant to be definitive, (that would take much more word space than we have here), but are listed merely to show that other opinions are completely valid. The approach to conservation varies greatly depending on the philosophies underlining the actions. Real solutions need consideration of actual causes and reasonable, workable goals. It is extreme arrogance to assume that the BLM’s climate change position is the only accepted one. It is also clear that this viewpoint is, in reality, an anti- human one which places its agenda—and politics— above the needs and quality of life of the people on the land.
The second issue, about protecting the land and environment, is, of course, important to us. What we question is its preeminence in all land use policies and the presumption that a federal agency alone can and should make these decisions. There is an implied denial that it is possible to care about the land and care for it without government dictates. As for protection of the land and history and cultures, it is disrespectful and offensive to assume that only big government and outside influencers are capable of safeguarding these.
We the people who call this home can be trusted to meet the challenges and overcome the problems that might arise. It is our constitutional right to do so. There has been more intrusion on and degradation of our land here, as well as more restrictive use of resources for individuals and families, since the Bears Ears Monument was declared by the federal government than has occurred in all the previous years of human habitation in this area.
Legally, constitutionally, and morally, we stand against BLM Rule 2023. It is not about beneficent stewardship of the land. It is about outside, inefficient, big government, authoritarian control. It is a fight for our land, our local independence and our personal freedom.
Rancher with BLM Permits in Utah and Colorado
San Juan County, Utah
From Lyman Bayles:
My family first ran sheep and cattle on San Juan County open range. They did this not long after the settlement of Bluff, Utah (1880), when Bluff farmers switched from farming to ranching. After the Taylor Grazing Act, the BLM was formed in the1940’s and became involved in the management of the ranges and dividing it into permit areas. My dad remembered that the ranchers themselves got together to assign permits to individual ranchers. It was quite an intense process. We have Dad’s map that shows those early divisions.
My family first ran 2000-3000 head of sheep and a few head of cattle. My dad and granddad ran on BLM permits on Mustang Mesa, Shumway Point, Ute Point, McCracken Mesa, Alkali Canyon, and the mesa between Alkali Canyon and Montezuma Canyon. They also summered in Colorado on the LaPlata Mountains, but that was Forest Service and private ground. Grindstone, Rough Canyon, and Little Bear were some of these areas.
In 1967/68 we sold the sheep and bought about 200 head of cattle from Calvin Perkins in Pagosa Springs. We ran cattle on the same permits we had used for sheep—Utah in winter and Colorado in summer. We sold the cattle and the permits three or four years after Dad died in 1980. My oldest brother Mark did some ranching after that on a leasing partnership with Alma Redd for a few years. My other brother, Eric, has been a ranch hand for our outfit and others his whole life.