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EPA Land Grab

Old 08-27-2015, 05:44 AM
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Default EPA Land Grab

Lengthy, but everyone should be concerned.



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New EPA Corps Wetlands Clean Water Act Regulations eliminate Navigability rule.

The new regulations will cover All Active Tributaries and many ponds and lakes not even close to rivers and streams.

What EPA and the Corps are doing is bypassing and ignoring the Navigability rule. 29 States have already sued EPA along with dozens of other groups over the new Wetlands jurisdiction regulations. Most important of these is the Pacific Legal Foundation.

You still have more time for in August-September Congressional Recess.


Now is the time to call to ask for a meeting with your Congressman and both Senators. You need to attend at least one of their public meetings. Tell your friends and get them to go also. It’s important to say what issue you are calling about when you call.

You calls are absolutely critical.

Tell your elected officials why you want to come to the meeting. Just asking for a meeting with your elected officials and the schedule will have positive effect on your elected officials. Plan to take a friend to the meeting when you go. By asking questions or making statements at these public meeting you will educate your neighbors who are also at the meetings. Hand out copies of this message.

Your elected officials will be racing to make decisions on issues like the Land and Water Conservation (LWCF) Trust Fund that must be renewed by September. It’s critical that you call now to oppose any land acquisition Trust Fund. Congress often makes huge mistakes when it is in a rush to judgement.

The Senate is looking to make the LWCF permanent. It is our belief that the LWCF needs to come up for renewal every so often to force the Congressional Oversight of the runaway land acquisition program.

If they make the LWCF permanent, then it is only a short way to make it a trust fund. That would be a disaster for landowners.

LWCF Trust Fund -- It’s critical for you to call, fax and e-mail your Senators and Congressman opposing converting the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) into a guaranteed land acquisition Trust Fund. It also must not be permanently authorized. Call any Congressman at (202) 225-3121. Any Senator at (202) 224-3121.

Why stop it from being permanently authorized? Because the agencies that use LWCF (Land and Water Conservation Fund) monies have gotten out of control many times in the past.

By having a sunset provision in the Land and Water Conservation Fund of 10 years or at least 25 years you get the opportunity for more oversight of Park Service, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management land acquisition activities. This will make them more responsive and less likely to abuse the land acquisition process.

Congress will pay more attention to these agencies and give them closer oversight with shorter authorizations.

There are lots of GAO (Government Accountability Office) reports about land acquisition abuses by these agencies, especially the Park Service.

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New EPA-Corps Wetlands (Waters of the US) (WOTUS) Regulations- Eliminates Navigability Rule.

EPA and the Corps are eliminating the Navigability test for EPA and Corps Jurisdiction. This is a huge land and water grab.

Please call your Senators and Congressman to support the new bills in Congress to stop the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) EPA Corps Wetlands Regulations recently finalized.

The EPA and Corps of Engineers published at the end of May and will be final at the end of August. New EPA Corps Clean water Act Wetlands regulations that eliminate the Navigability rule. These new regulations vastly increase the jurisdiction of the EPA-Corps over private land, your land.

Millions of landowners will be affected. The new regulations go into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Bills have been introduced in the US House and Senate to stop the new regulations.

Action Items:

-----1. Please send a copy of this message to at least 10 other people. It would great if you could send it to your entire list.

-----2. Call your Congressman and both Senators to oppose the LWCF Trust Fund. Also call to oppose the new EPA Corps Wetlands Jurisdiction Regulations. Tell your elected officials you support any bill that will stop the new Clean Water Act Wetlands Regulations. Call any Congressman at (202) 225-3121. Call any Senator at (202) 224-3121.

-----3. When you call your Congressman and both Senators ask for when and where they will be holding public meetings. It is critical that you go to at least one of these meetings to express you opposition to the LWCF Trust Fund and your opposition to the Obama EPA Corps Wetland Regulations (WOTUS).

See Hammond Vendetta Action Items below.

Hammond Vendetta: Dwight Hammond is 74 years old. If he and his son go to prison for a second time the family will likely lose the ranch. The Hammonds are suffering financially already because of the costs of litigation fighting this case and have already settled a civil action by the government costing even more.

Using the vendetta, the BLM and FWS want to gain ownership of the Hammond ranch which is intermingled with Federal ground in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. That has been their goal all along.

The Hammond BLM case moves forward. Sentencing has been postponed until October 7th. BLM wants the Hammonds’ ranch next to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon. They will do almost anything to get it. The BLM must be made to account for its abuse of criminal law to try to gain ownership of private ranches and private land.

This case is obviously pay-back for the Hammonds winning in court against the FWS on their water rights case in the 90’s. The BLM and Fish and Wildlife Service want to inflict as much pain as possible on the Hammonds to reduce the chances other ranchers will stand up for their rights.

Boycott BLM. BLM because of their Hammond Vendetta and what you can do to help. This ranching family is suffering from an Abuse of power by the BLM and the US Attorney in Oregon.

American Land Rights has always helped individual landowners, ranchers, farmers, miners, forestry advocates and others. You need to help establish the Hammond Case as a poster child for bad behavior by the BLM and the US Attorney’s office.

Boycott BLM employees. You must still pay your grazing fees. You are being told about the Hammond Case because it is your opportunity to stand up to the BLM and send a message to all other Federal land agencies.

Our hope is that you will join the national effort to shun anyone who works for BLM. Tell them they are not being good neighbors. Refer to the Hammond case when you say this.

US Attorney Frank Papagni used an anti-terrorism statute with a minimum 5 year sentence for small fires with less than $100 in damage.
These charges should never have been brought. He had choices and took the wrong one. It’s vindictive and not justified by the facts of the case according to the judge who heard the case.

Is your Congressman going to sit by and watch this abuse of power happen? Are ranchers, landowners, miners and others going to tolerate the heavy hand the BLM is using to threaten your allies and friends?

Who is minding the store? There appears to be no oversight by Congress over the BLM or US Attorney’s office in Oregon. It is very dangerous to give Federal bureaucrats unfettered power with no oversight.

BLM is using criminal statutes to go after relatively minor offences and leave good people, non-violent people, with a criminal record and possible jail time.

How long are we going to fill our jails with non-violent offenders?

This abuse of justice has to stop. The BLM could use this law against any rancher, farmer or landowner near Federal land. Think about the logic and public expense of locking up peaceful, non-violent citizens who made a small mistake in jail for a minimum of five years.

Everyone complains about how our jails are overcrowded. If the Federal agencies would stop going after peaceful, nonviolent offenders asking for jail time, that would put a dent in the problem.

People with significant drug offenses and even manslaughter go to jail for less time than the Hammonds may have to serve. How many people is BLM saddling with a criminal conviction locking them up at public expense on minor technicalities?

When the Federal Court Judge Michael Hogan gave the Hammonds lessor sentences, US Attorney Frank Papagni appealed the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and won.

BLM and Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Attorney appealed Judge Hogan’s ruling. They want to inflict as much pain on the Hammonds as they can.

That court said the Hammonds had to serve their minimum sentence of five years as prescribed by the anti-terrorism law. Dwight and Steve Hammond have already served the jail time imposed by Judge Hogan.

Dwight and Steve Hammond could go back to jail sometime after October 7th unless this travesty of justice is stopped.

All landowners, ranchers, farmers, miners, forestry advocates and recreation advocates must join together to send the BLM the message that you are going to work together to oppose this kind of abuse of power.

Look below at the action items to see what you can do.

Federal district judge Michael Hogan refused to apply arson mandatory minimum (on constitutional grounds) (October 31, 2012).

Here are the details: Rejecting mandatory minimum five-year sentences as “grossly disproportionate” to the crimes, Federal judge Michael Hogan in Eugene, Oregon in 2012 sentenced an Eastern Oregon rancher to three months in prison and his adult son to one year and a day for deliberately setting fires on federal land. (They have already served these sentences and have already settled their civil fines.)

The counts of conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 844(f)(1) carried five-year mandatory minimum sentences. That is because US Attorney used the terrorism statute win a minimum sentence of five years. This was completely inappropriate in the case. The district court declined to follow the statute stating that defendants’ acts of arson were not the type of conduct Congress intended to address.

Congress never intended to use the law this way. This requires your Congressman to look at the law and modify it so it cannot be used in a case such as this.

The court (Judge Michael Hogan) concluded that the mandatory statutory minimum five-year terms were grossly disproportionate to the crime in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and he imposed sentences of three months (Dwight Hammond) and 12 months and 1-day (Steven Hammond) which they served in 2013.

A federal jury in June 2012 convicted the Harney County, Oregon pair after a two-week trial in Pendleton, Ore. Jurors convicted Dwight Hammond Jr., (74) on a single count of arson for “intentionally and maliciously” setting the 2001 Hardie-Hammond Fire in the Steens Mountain federal area.

They convicted Steven Dwight Hammond, 43, of the same crime and of a second arson count for similarly setting the 2006 Krumbo Butte Fire.
It burned in the same area and in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The jury acquitted both men on arson charges in two 2006 fires. These fires were set in what the Hammonds thought was a normal grazing management activity. They even called BLM to alert them to the fires.

U.S. Judge Michael Hogan agreed with the Hammonds’ defense lawyers that setting fire to juniper trees and sagebrush in the wilderness was not the type of crime that Congress had in mind when it set mandatory terrorism sentences of five to 20 years for anyone who “maliciously damages or destroys, or attempts to damage or destroy by means of fire” any federal property.

The mandate was part of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. Prosecutors alleged that the father-son owners of Hammond Ranches Inc. set a series of fires on U.S. Bureau of Land Management land where the Hammonds had grazing rights. US Attorney Frank Papagni deliberately used this anti-terrorism statute to make sure he got this family five years of prison time.

Prosecutors said the fires were set to reduce the growth of juniper trees and sagebrush, and to accelerate the growth of rangeland grasses for the Hammonds’ cattle.... (A normal grazing land management practice carried out by ranchers, the Indians for hundreds of years and even the BLM).

In a sentencing memo, the defense lawyers noted that both men have served on the French Glen School Board, Community Club and Site Council, and were “instrumental” in founding and financing the French Glen Education Foundation, which funds extracurricular activities for area students.

The Hammonds also regularly host an annual science and careers fair for seven rural schools, contribute money and food to the Harney County 4-H and FFA clubs, and donate meat to the Harney County Senior Center, the memo said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Papagni acknowledged that the Hammonds, “both of them, have done many wonderful things for the community.”
But he urged Hogan to follow the law, noting that Steven Hammond’s nephew — Dwight Hammond’s grandson — testified that he “thought he was going to get burned up” when flames moved toward him as the then-13-year-old followed his uncle’s orders to light brush with matches. (Judge Hogan discounted this allegation).

Papagni also said the arsons also endangered the lives of BLM firefighters and hunters camping near one of the blazes. “Congress decided that this particular offense should carry a mandatory, statutory minimum term of five years,” Papagni wrote. (Judge Hogan disagreed with Papagni’s assertions.).

Papagni said, “The evidence of defendants’ guilt was substantial.
The jury’s verdict of guilt for this particular offense mandates imposition of the required statutory minimum term, as the statute constrains this court’s discretion.” Judge Hogan disagreed, imposing the lesser terms. He also sentenced both Hammonds to three years of postprison supervision and required them to surrender their firearms.

Judge Hogan appears to have concluded that it would be unconstitutional based on the Eighth Amendment to apply a five-year mandatory minimum under the circumstances.

Hammond Vendetta Action Items:

----1. The Hammonds sentencing takes place now on October 7th at the Federal Court House in Eugene, Oregon at 10:00 am. Wayne L Morse U.S.
Courthouse, 405 East Eighth Ave. Eugene, OR 97401. Intake: (541) 431-4100.

Plan to be there and bring your friends and relatives. This must be a show of strong support for the Hammonds from the community. You are fighting for yourself as well as the Hammonds. This could be you someday the way the BLM is abusing criminal law.

-----2. Call, fax and e-mail Congressman Greg Walden’s (R-OR) staff:
Call any Congressman at (202) 225-3121. Fax: (202) 225-5774. If you don’t live in Oregon, call the above number to get your Congressman.


E-mail: nick.strader@mail.house.gov – Phone: (541) 389-4408 Fax:
(541) 389-4452. (Note for Senate e-mails) There is an underscore between the first and last name. Use Wesley_cook as an example. The House uses a dot between the first and last name.

-----3. Call, fax and e-mail Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR): (Or call your own Senators at (202) 224-3121).

You can call any Senator at (202) 224-3121. Fax: (202) 228-2717 –
E-mail: Wesley_cook@wyden.senate.gov –Fax: (202) 224-5244, Samantha_offerdahl@wyden.senate.gov – Fax: (202) 224-5244. Call, fax and e-mail Senator Jeff Merkley: You can call any Senator at (202) 224-3121. Fax: (202) 224-3753 -- E-mail:
Adrian_snead@merkley.senate.gov – Fax: (202) 224-3755

-----4. Call and e-mail UNITED STATES ATTORNEY Frank Papagni, ESQ, 5
405 East Eighth Avenue, Eugene, Oregon 97401, (541)465-6771 -- frank.papagni@usdoj.gov

When you call, ask what the logic is of sending good people to prison?
They are not violent offenders? They are not likely to repeat their offenses. They have agreed to pay a substantial fine. Ask if Papagni is going to fill up our jails? How much money does it cost the taxpayers to pay for jail time. Especially in light of the well known good character of the Hammonds.

Ask if this is the kind of offense Congress had in mind when it passed the anti-terrorism law.

-----5. Call, fax and e-mail BLM officials listed below as well as the US Attorney. Do not harass them. This must be a peaceful, non-violent, non-threatening effort.

What do we mean by Boycott BLM. It will be good if you “Shun” the BLM and FWS officials. Tell the BLM and FWS officials as well as the US Attorneys when you call or see them that they are not being good neighbors. They need to feel unwelcome in your community. Everywhere they go they need to be asked about the Hammonds. Not just in Oregon but across the whole country. You must keep the pressure on.

BLM - Andrew Resource/ Steens Area Field Manager, Rhonda Karges, 28910 Hwy 20 West, Burns Oregon 97738, 541-573-4433 -- rkarges@blm.gov -- Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Manager, Chad Karges, 63879 Hwy 205, Burns Oregon 97720, 541-493-2766 -- ckarges@fws.gov

You should say to every BLM and FWS employee you see nationwide that they are not being good neighbors. Reference the Hammond Case. Their families also. They need to know that they live in a community with other rural Americans and cannot be using the law to bully their neighbors.

Go to local businesses to get them to say the same things. The US Attorney and the BLM officials need to feel unwelcome in your community. That is the only way you are going to stop this abuse of power.

This tactic worked well in the 90’s with the Fish and Wildlife Service and it will work again if you will do your part. Anyone in a BLM or FWS uniform or who you know works for those agencies must be greeted with “You and your fellow BLM (or FWS) employees are not being good neighbors.” You want them not to feel threatened but at least unwanted in your community. Remember that this must be a peaceful, non-violent protest.

-----6. Go to the American Civil Liberties Union website for Oregon to submit a request for help for the Hammonds in this obvious case of a vendetta by Federal bureaucrats. Go to ACLU.org. So far we have heard nothing from the ACLU. It looks like they only defend Liberals.

-----7. E-mail, and call your local newspapers. In Oregon it would be:
Portland Oregonian - Therese Bottomly – (503) 221-8327 – newsroom@oregonian.com, Burns Times Heralds- (541) 573-2011.
editor@burnstimesherald.info, Bend Bulletin – cell: (406) 589-4347 tanderson@bendbulletin.com

-----8. Send American Land Rights any information you have of BLM intimidating landowners or using criminal statutes. Just give us names and phone numbers. We’ll do the rest. It’s time the BLM was called to account for their intimidation of good law abiding citizens using criminal law inappropriately.

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Alert – Alert - A massive land acquisition Trust Fund could be added to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) renewal bill that must be renewed by September.

The Greens only missed by one vote turning the LWCF into a Trust Fund.
Call your Senators today. Your calls are very important. (Call (202) 224-3121).

Sincerely,

Chuck Cushman (ccushman@landrights.org) American Land Rights August, 2015. You can also use ccushman@pacifier.com <mailto:ccushman@pacifier.com> .

American Land Rights has fought a massive land acquisition Trust Fund since the 80’s. We’ve won each time. Your calls are critical. The LWCF must be reauthorized by Congress by September.

Your enemies are using permanent Trust Fund that does not have to compete with education, healthcare, social security, the military and other priorities.

The government already owns more land than it can take care of.
Old 08-27-2015, 06:05 AM
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Do you have any more information about the elimination of the Navigability rule?
Old 08-27-2015, 06:11 AM
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No, I do not. But this has been on the radar for about two-three years.
I have been under EPA's thumb since 1982 when RECRA went into effect.

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