A Synopsis of a Speech by Jim Beers

When you read about a Zimbabwe farmer being driven off his farm by cronies of the ruler and that farmer winds up working menial jobs in South Africa for others while his farm goes fallow and famine stalks Zimbabwe, you have no trouble recognizing corruption and all of its' pernicious effects. I would suggest that an Oregon logger whose lumber mill and community have been decimated by the Endangered Species Act, and who is driving a cab in Los Angeles while timber resources go unharvested and fires with the intensity of blast furnaces become more common, and inferior lumber from Uruguay brings exorbitant prices, is an example of the same corruption masquerading as environmentalism in the US today.

In order to discuss this topic, a word or two about my background is probably advisable.

I have a Bachelors degree in Wildlife from Utah State and a Masters degree in Public Administration from the University of Northern Colorado. I worked summers and autumns on a State waterfowl refuge and with law enforcement for the State of Utah while in college. My Navy service consisted of line officer duties aboard a ship in the western Pacific and as the Naval Courier Officer on Adak in the Aleutian Islands. I worked for myself as a
landscaper and tree cutter before being hired as a wetlands biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in Devils Lake, North Dakota. From there I transferred into FWS law enforcement in Minneapolis where I spent 5 months with the Minneapolis Police Department and then traveled all over the upper Midwest enforcing Federal wildlife laws, banding ducks and doves and working on waterfowl surveys while stationed in Grand Island, Nebraska. Then I was transferred to the Port of New York where I was the only FWS enforcement officer and I made two very large cases. From there I moved to Washington DC where I spent the last 25 years of my career. In Washington I was an agent, a program analyst, a Congressional Fellow, Chief of Refuge Operations, and a wildlife biologist.

While in Washington I worked a second job for 9 years while my children were attending college. I worked as a security guard and supervisor for a private contractor and most of my time was spent at the National Archives guarding the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and a copy of the Magna Carta. Conversations with authors, teachers, and civilian Constitutional enthusiasts instilled both knowledge and a deep respect for those documents and what they do.

The combination of wildlife biologist and Constitutional study forged some unique perspectives. I noticed that the 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913 and this authorized the Federal government to levy taxes on income. For me this was right at the emergence of National Wildlife Refuges and National Forests and would have formed the basis for employing more Federal workers and buying land. The 17th Amendment, also ratified in 1913, eliminated the appointment of US Senators by State Legislatures and established their election by popular vote. This one really intrigued me. Would US Senators appointed by a State Legislature pass a law like the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that transferred State jurisdiction over long lists of plants and animals to the Federal government? Would a State Legislature reappoint a US Senator who passed legislation that took property without compensation like the ESA or closed large portions of public lands to access and uses like the Wilderness Act? Would a US Senator appointed by a State Legislature pass a Ponzi-scheme like Payment-in-Lieu-of Taxes (PILT) to pay local governments for lost taxes due to Federal land acquisition and then let it go under-funded for decades? Would a US Senator appointed by a State Legislature pass a law earmarking revenue from uses on National Wildlife Refuges for local governments and then allow agencies to claim much of the revenue to "administer" the uses and then cooperate with the agency to reduce uses on the refuges? The answer to all of these is of course, no. State Legislatures today all want Federal politicians who bring home the Federal bacon like Senator Byrd of West Virginia, not Federal politicians that work to please bureaucrats, environmentalists, and international organizations.

When I arrived in Washington in the early 1970's, a cadre of early environmental/animal rights Federal employees were hard at work with the UN bureaucrats and international environmental and animal rights organizations. New migratory bird treaties were negotiated with Japan and the Soviet Union ostensibly to "protect" "unprotected" species. In reality it was a ploy to transfer jurisdiction from States to the Federal government over many species purposely excluded from earlier treaties such as cormorants, hawks, and owls. The Animal Welfare Act was passed and (illegally since there was no treaty or Constitutional Amendment) transferred jurisdiction over animal standards and treatment from State governments to the Federal government. The Marine Mammal Protection Act to "save" porpoises, seals, whales, polar bears, sea otters manatees, walruses, et al. was passed at this time. While this seizure of State authority over animals in inland waters was passed with the assurance of management and use of these resources after "Optimum Sustainable Populations" were achieved, 30 years later there is no management or harvest of any of these species or control of the harm they are causing. Simultaneously the Endangered Species ACT was passed based on a "Convention" administered by the UN. This was not a treaty as specified in the Constitution to justify seizure of State jurisdictions by the Federal government; it is an agreement that is often violated and enforced only sporadically by the UN. Nevertheless it was the basis for the launching of the ESA and taking away State authority and leading us down the path to where we are today.

Two other things occurred in this frenzy of environmentalism. Equal
Employment Opportunity was passed and all the top government managers were given quotas like "assures 20% of all hires, promotions, and transfers are women or minorities." These quotas were tied to annual bonuses. These quotas were usually the only performance standards involving a number. So, in order to get the highest (up to $20,000) annual bonus and in order to protect themselves from a vindictive boss; managers began keeping records down to the tenth of a percent and hiring, promoting, and transferring women and minorities at two and three times the levels mentioned in their standards. When career employees began to challenge being passed by, the managers simply reduced hiring, promoting, and transfer requirements that were deemed "unnecessary" and "impeding" organizational changes. The result was a decline in experience and expertise. While these new employees developed the attitude that they were being favored because "old ways" were being replaced by "new age" ideas; the environmental and animal rights organizations made full use of their growing influence and were responsible for many top appointments that then hired other like-minded employees at this time.

The other thing that happened was the establishment of the Senior Executive Service (SES). Previously top agency managers (GS-16, 17, & 18) were older employees that had worked up through the areas they oversaw. They generally held these positions in the "sunset" of their careers for only a few years. The Senior Executive Service was formed and replaced them with "managers" whose high salaries were tied to Congressmen and who received unlimited annual leave accrual. This latter meant they took little, if any annual leave and retired with 1 to 2 years salaries consisting of hundreds of thousands of dollars as a retirement bonus. They received all these royal perks because they would be "moved around" and go from "agency to agency" and "Department to Department." Only it never happened that way. The government-wide hiring system and promotion system was dismantled because of EEO and the SES hiring system soon became a political "gift that kept on giving." SES managers were transferred only rarely and then only within
agencies. They were hired at young ages and sat in place for careers. FWS hired Congressional staff that had lost their job, the children of powerful politicians, and even a former PETA organizer. Entrenchment and hidden agendas that SES was formed to avoid became facts of life beyond anything the agencies had known previously.

During the mid 1990's I represented the State fish and wildlife agencies in their confrontation with the European Union that planned to outlaw trapping by banning fur imports. I worked with State Department and US Trade Representative personnel who felt no affinity for fur or trapping. FWS was meeting with animal rights groups opposed to what I was doing but FWS publicly claimed to support the States while assuring the anti-trap groups of their support. When the European Union backed down in the late 90's FWS managers were furious because they had promised the animal rights crowd that it would not happen. About that time I reviewed an annual pile of applications for grants from the excise taxes collected from guns and ammunition and earmarked for State fish and wildlife agencies. When I found an application for anti-hunting activities from the Fund for Animals ineligible, FWS managers tried to get me to change my recommendation. When I refused I was shunned and told I would be forced to take a demotion and transfer to Boston (Siberia for old FWS employees.) When I fought it, FWS threatened in writing to withhold my pension for 5 years, make me ineligible for Federal health insurance, and even called the police to our office on a Monday morning because they said I would be "dangerous." (Remember I did security work and had several gun permits, so had I walked into that I would probably not be here today.) I was told to stay home and for 10 months I drew a salary, accrued leave, and did not do a lick of work for FWS as my lawyer fought them.

While explaining my plight to my lawyer and some concerned friends, I mentioned something that turned out to surprise even me. I mentioned that FWS had been using more of the excise taxes than they were authorized to do. They were using it for travel and furniture and favors for top managers and so far as I knew it went into $5 to 10 million per year. Some Congressional staff heard about this and when I explained it to them they sent in General Accounting Office (GAO) auditors to check the books. A Congressional Committee had hearings and asked FWS to provide all of their use of the funds for the past two years. FWS sent Congress 19 boxes (18" high) of computer printouts for ALL expenditures claiming they couldn't segregate the excise taxes. I was told later that they thought it was really funny because no one in Congress could decipher or would have the time to go through all those printouts. I went through them for the staff and what I found confirmed what the GAO auditors found. This is the first of FIVE ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNMENT SCANDALS OF THE PAST FIVE YEARS.

1.) Pittman-Robertson / Dingell-Johnson excise taxes diverted from State agencies:

The GAO auditors found $45-60 million had been taken by FWS from state funds in a two-year period. The money was used to do two things Congress had specifically refused to fund - introduce wolves into Yellowstone Park and establishment a new California office. In addition the funds paid for bonuses for top managers and for office support having nothing to do with State agencies or Wildlife Restoration (the purpose of the Act under which
the funds are collected.) Congress changed the law on a vote of 432 to 2 to make FWS access to the funds beyond those used for "administration" almost impossible. The Washington non-government organizations (NGO's) were mostly silent because they are so beholden to a powerful FWS and because there has
been a chance each year for the past decade that Congress would pass a law authorizing billions per year through FWS to States and NGO's for "conservation" planning and land acquisition.

The result: no one in FWS was even disciplined for the misuse of the funds; the funds were never paid back (as the States would have to do if FWS found them misusing the funds); the wolves have gone far beyond Yellowstone; the California office is operating; but the law was changed -which leads us to scandal #2.

2.) Today (summer 2004) the American League of Anglers and Boaters and the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (IAFWA) has worked with FWS to undo the law reforms enacted five years ago to restrict
FWS access to the funds. The changes they proposed would keep more money in Washington for FWS to use and for IAFWA to manage as grants. The proposed changes were kept quiet and slipped by the Congressional Committee and others that spearheaded the reforms five years ago. This was done by changing key wording in an 1100 page tax bill that went to the Ways and Means Committee where the changes raised no flags.

While this goes on, the partnership of FWS, States, and manufacturers is deteriorating and no one even speaks about it. The Internal Revenue Service believes the following:

The fishing tackle manufacturers are underpaying their excise taxes to the tune of $50 million per year.

The gun and ammo manufacturers are underpaying their excise taxes by about $20 million per year.

The archery manufacturers are underpaying their excise taxes by about $11 million per year.

Additionally the archery manufacturers have Congressmen proposing to lift the excise tax on bows under 30# since they "aren't used for hunting." If this flies what about handguns and target guns and their ammo that "aren't used for hunting?" The losses here will go into many, many millions of dollars.

Also the tackle box manufacturers have Congressmen proposing to eliminate the excise tax on tackle boxes which will amount to several million per year.

Finally, FWS is using the excise taxes today to furnish space for and pay for administrative support for the FWS migratory bird program that has suffered from neglect because it is primarily a management arm for hunting harvest of migratory birds. So the taxes are still being misused in Washington, the manufacturers aren't paying what they should, there are proposals to reduce the amounts collected dramatically; and the silence is deafening from the States and the Washington NGO's.

3.) Two years ago I was asked by a group of Nebraska farmers about waterfowl pollution where hundreds of thousands of birds sit on the same ponds and loaf in the same fields for months on end. FWS and State bureaucrats were murmuring about endangered piping plovers along the Platte River and reintroducing endangered pallid sturgeon in the Platte River. Their goal was to reduce irrigation and acquire land by painting farmers as polluters and water users that should be bought out.

What I found is that there is practically no information about wild
waterfowl pollution impacts. Despite 85 years of research and current issues like horrendous resident Canada goose problems, no information. When do they defecate? How much do they defecate? What is in their droppings? Do they vary by sewason or with temperatures? Are their human health concerns? Soil concerns? Groundwater and surface water quality concerns?
Refuge employee health concerns? The farmers say that odd areas where the birds loaf in fields often grow little the following year. What of the four major wetlands that are often covered each night with literally millions of migrating or wintering birds?

FWS had nothing. The State waterfowl biologist had nothing. Literature searches for wild birds had nothing. I looked at domestic duck production and hit the jackpot!

There are two kinds of Federal Feedlot Regulations, everything except ducks and ducks. There is a roomful of research on duck feces; streptococcus, staphylococcus, orthophosphates, nitrates, volatile solids and other contents exist in amounts sufficient for the Federal government to regulate all domestic duck flocks of 5,000 or more. Most small to medium producers have been forced out of the business in large measure due to this regulation. Double lagoons are mandatory. Aeration on site is mandatory. Storm runoff invokes heavy fines. Producers are cautious about complaining because they fear Federal inspectors and their power. Consumers pay a high price for this but who is right?

If millions of ducks and geese can concentrate for months and not evoke any governmental concern; how can the presence of a flock of 5,000 ducks be the cause for intense government scrutiny and control? Something is not right here and it is not the birds.

4.) For 20 or more years the US Army Corps of Engineers has been dumping millions of gallons of vile toxic wastes several times per month at night from the Washington DC water treatment system through a National Park into the Potomac River onto three sites, one of which is the sole spawning ground of the long-Endangered shortnose sturgeon, under a permit from EPA approved by FWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service right under the noses of the DC government and the State of Maryland. High paid NGO Executives and powerful politicians and bureaucrats drive by the area every day and many recreate in that stretch of the River. A Washington conservation group sued the government to enforce the ESA like it does on the rest of us and the government delayed and the court still fritters and the group went broke.

The sludge should be trucked out for disposal but powerful Washingtonians "don't want all that truck traffic." The last laugh may be on them. Periodically there are discoveries of WWI ordinance in NW Washington when digging goes on. During and before WWI, NW Washington was the site of a massive (for then) chemical weapon research effort. What was then farms was taken over by the government, cordoned off and a series of pits dug and
connector roads built where chemical weapon experiments and ordinance delivery systems were tested. In researching the areas history, the early 1920 aerial photos of the area at the National Archives have that area of NW DC cut out and no one knows why or who did it. So the rich may be living on some bad stuff and the sludge dumped in the river may contain more exotic substances that anyone would guess. But not to worry, ranchers are still
threatened with jail if they shoot a wolf or grizzly in their yard and the rich and powerful in DC don't have any truck traffic.

5.) Federal Budget Growth - When I retired from FWS I was asked by the National Trappers Association to attend some "Budget Briefings" at the IAFWA in Washington. What I found was very disturbing.

Each year the President submits a Budget to Congress. The President sets strict limits on what agencies may request and the information is strictly embargoed before it is submitted to Congress. Each agency has initiatives in their offices that would take the entire budget if there was an opportunity to do so but the Presidential limits prevent them from submitting them. Congress considers the budget and seldom cuts things but
always adds things. Enter this "Budget Briefing." Several State fish and wildlife agency Directors and invited Washington NGO's are treated to 5 or 6 one-hour briefings by the budget managers and others from FWS, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, National Marine Fisheries Service, and National Park Service about their current budget request (this was just as Congress received the Presidents budget.) During
this "Briefing" there was invariably questions about things "that didn't make it." The answers here were detailed descriptions about personnel and dollars that were needed for (road closures, law enforcement, snake studies, rehabbing buildings, etc. etc.) This was all written down by the attendees who then contacted favorite Senators or Representatives (in the case of State fish and wildlife Directors they contacted their counterparts who then contacted their Federal politicians.) The result is that Senator Claghorn and Congressman Hornblower introduce very specific "add-ons" as the Presidents' budget wends its' way through Congress. The result dear taxpayer is you and me complaining about the President and Congress overspending when maybe we ought to look more closely at the bureaucrats and NGO's that manipulate the system for their own benefit.

Remember all this as you hear:

-Bureaucrats and NGO's lobby for a Federal mandate to give State authority over Invasive Species to the Federal government where it will become a mandate to "Restore Native Ecosystems."

-Bureaucrats predict wolf behavior and declare "habitat needs" for Indiana bats, piping plovers, and the ubiquitous Prebles Jumping Mouse.

-Bureaucrats use Critical habitats, Wilderness designations, Roadless rules, and other quasi-environmental excuses to close down sheep hunting, predator control, ranching, logging, circuses, rodeos, hunting, fishing, trapping, farming, rural lifestyles, and rural livelihoods and communities.

-The National park Service closing down public highways.

-Bureaucrats and politicians say they "need" billions more for "the

-Federal bureaucrats saying they should have "more authority" over anything unrelated to national defense.

The US Constitution placed ALL of the matters we have been discussing under the authority of State governments for one simple reason. The lower the level of government responsible for anything, the more RESPONSIVE that government will be to the people. You may not like your current Governor (in all truth I do not care much for mine) but it is a lot easier to get his attention or get rid of, than bureaucrats and politicians feeding at Washington DC beaneries. There is no doubt that we need a strong Federal government TO DEFEND US; we don't need any government that forces predators on us, takes our property without compensation, and increasingly oppresses us by enforcing more and more new authorities. My experience is just a narrow slice of the Federal pie but I do not doubt that such scandals exist in one form or another all over Washington. The scandals I have mentioned today are first and foremost the result of too much power and money growing
in Washington and disappearing from our State capitals. Never forget that these agencies get millions more each year with all sorts of strings BUT THEY ARE NEVER EVEN AUDITED unless there is a credible accusation. How often have we heard curses as people mentioned Enron or crooked auditors or overpaid chief executives in industry where audits are routine? As an investigator once said to me when he was investigating abuses by an egregious and powerful bureaucrat, "Ah the arrogance of power."

Thank you.



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