Gophers have more rights than people in Thurston County

Posted May 14, 2011

Op-Ed by Scott Roberts
Freedom Foundation

It's outrageous that the radical environmentalists insist that human activity is the cause of all environmental destruction.

Remember the Spotted Owl? Remember the radical environmentalists decrying that human destruction of old-growth forests caused the decline of the Spotted Owl? Now it's increasingly hard to ignore that the Barred Owl--not human intervention--is a greater cause of the Spotted Owl decline.

The logging restrictions and subsequent devastation to the people who depended on the Timber Industry is considered a crowning achievement by the environmentalists. Since then, they have become adept at restricting use of private land by combining environmental causes and political power. Now the environmentalists feverishly work to restrict the use of private lands in the name of protecting species--any species they can find.

For example, today in Thurston County, the radical environmentalists and big-government bureaucrats are using the pocket gopher as their excuse to heavily regulate 117,000 acres of land. These laws are impacting the lives of 57,000 property owners.

We recoil against the kind of heavy regulation that Thurston County has imposed on property owners. Their regulation is underscored by the ideology that deems the rights of a pocket gopher more important than citizens like Donna Baker.

We've made a video of Donna's story. You can view it here. We are telling her story because most often it's citizens like Donna that are harmed by these laws--not the rich, like the "environmentalists" would like you to believe. Many citizens just like Donna are financially devastated, and their stories ignored or consigned to obscurity. We are helping her and others like Donna restore their voice and ensure they are not ignored.

The Thurston County Commissioners are tight-jawed and stiff-necked. They desire to "save the environment" at all costs. They believe that Donna Baker is just minor collateral damage in a war to save the environment. They prop themselves up with a small cadre of supporters who believe in central planning and are against individual property rights.

We advocate for individuals and believe that they are excellent stewards of the environment. We believe that most people will take care of the environment if given positive options--not negative environmental regulations that government likes to slap down.

We believe the Thurston County Commissioners are on the wrong track. We all want to save the environment. However, we want to use common sense, objective science and solutions-oriented efforts. We don't want to do this by harming people like Donna Baker and her property rights.

Stay tuned to our efforts to introduce a positive and effective alternative to these draconian and extreme efforts by local government to take away our property rights.

Start watching your local government and keep us posted if they are trying to follow down the same failed path as Thurston County. Vigilance by everyone is necessary for us to protect our rights. Not just for ourselves, but for people like our neighbor Donna Baker.

See the Stop Thurston County website here.

For related stories about Thurston County and the gopher situation, click here.