CSE Property Rights Activists to Participate in "Sawgrass Rebellion"Environmental laws must respect the rights of property owners.

August 27, 2002

By : Bill Ames, CSE Activist

Citizens for a Sound Economy

A CSE core principle: "Environmental laws must respect the rights of property owners." For years, this principle has been violated by radical environmental groups. The Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society, the Nature Conservancy and others have relentlessly filed lawsuits, misusing the Endangered Species Act to restrict property use and confiscate private property without compensation..

Such groups, following an insatiable desire to acquire more lands for non-human use, are attempting to drive rural Americans off their land and into cities as part of "Wildlands Project" and "Sustainable Development" agendas.

Logging in the West has essentially been shut down, making us dependent upon higher-cost foreign timber products. Farmers and ranchers across the country are under attack. Higher prices and dependence on foreign food sources will result. Frivilous lawsuits by radical environmental groups have stopped or delayed 48% of U. S. Forest Service proposals to thin forests on government land in 2001 and 2002, resulting in the destructive wildfires that have burned the West.

Rural Americans are successfully fighting back. When the U. S. Forest service closed a rural road in Jarbidge, Nevada, hundreds of Americans rallied on July 4, 2000, and opened the road as part of the Jarbidge Shovel Brigade. Today, the locals and a more cooperative forest service supervisor share a tenuous truce, and the road is open.

U. S. Fish & Wildlife developed a stealth plan to create a wildlife refuge in the Darby River watershed of Ohio, including the removal of 2000 families from 53,000 acres of prime farmland in the process. On Labor Day weekend of 2000, 5000 property rights advocates from across the country rallied with the local farmers in peaceful protest. Today, as a result of this activism, the Fish & Wildlife bureaucrats have closed their local office and given up on the project.

In April, 2001, a liberal judge in Portland, Oregon, decreed that 1400 farm families in Oregon's Klamath Basin would get no irrigation water to support the coming growing season. Rather, the water would be used to sustain a supposedly endangered sucker fish. On May 7, 2001, 15,000 people joined local farmers in the Klamath Falls Bucket Brigade, a peaceful demonstration of civil disobedience. Water was transferred from the reservoir in 50 buckets, one for each state, to the irrigation canal. The Bucket Brigade got the attention of the Bush administration, which initiated a peer science review by the National Science Foundation. The NSF found the environmental science behind the judge's decision to be fraudulent, and today the irrigation canals are open.

When people like CSE activists get involved, we win. But the no-compromise environmentalists never give up.

Today, in the Everglades of South Florida, homeowners and farmers are fighting to protect their property rights from the Everglades Restoration Project, a $7.8 billion taxpayer-funded environmental boondoggle, and its implementers, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps is supported by environmental groups who would drive Everglades-area property owners from their land. In addition, over the next 10 to 100 years, they would remove all rural Floridians from their land and into cities. See graphic. The green areas, generally off limits for humans, are shown as proposed: Today (10% of Florida), in 10 years, and in 100 years (90% of Florida).

The Corps has decided to raise the water table in the Everglades, resulting in drowning crops and recurring flooding of farmland and homes. Further, the Corps wants to condemn homes in an 8 1/2 square mile residential area. Although the Corps was authorized by Congress to provide flood control to protect property owners in this area, they have ignored Congress' direction in deference to environmentalists and the desire to drive owners off the land.

In Nashville on July 19-20, 2002, a coalition of property rights advocates, led by Henry Lamb of Sovereignty International and Jay Walley of the Paragon Foundation, and including CSE, announced the "Sawgrass Rebellion", to bring national attention to the South Florida property owners' dilemma. In late September, a caravan will leave Klamath Falls, Oregon, winding its way east and growing in numbers along the way, and arriving in Naples, Florida on October 17. Another caravan will travel from Ohio to Florida. Rallies are planned along both caravan routes.

Naples and Homestead, Florida, will be the sites of huge rallies, complete with a major celebrity band, great food, and of free camping. After the Naples rally, a miles-long vehicle motorcade will traverse the Everglades Parkway (Alligator Alley) to Homestead. These Florida rallies will be the biggest property rights events ever.

CSE strongly supports the Sawgrass Rebellion. We will notify CSE members in our weekly emails as plans firm up for these rallies so that you may participate. We will be especially supportive of our CSE Florida members, who have the most to lose if the Everglades Project and its follow-ons are not contained.

Contacts: billames@prodigy.net, sflaherty@cse.org

For more for more information please visit www.sawgrassrebellion.com



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