Archive for the ‘Administrative State’ Category

Village sues feds to open road in refuge | Juneau Empire – Alaskas Capital City Online Newspaper   Leave a comment

Village sues feds to open road in refuge | Juneau Empire – Alaskas Capital City Online Newspaper.

Good for them! Not that the 9th circuit will recognize the right of people to have access to the outside world, but this speaks to the larger issue of federal overreach and the more of these court cases that make it into the national view, the better.

Lawmakers, vets groups: Shinseki resignation only first step to VA fix | TheHill   1 comment

Lawmakers, vets groups: Shinseki resignation only first step to VA fix | TheHill.

Shinseki resigned! Yah!

So what????

Let’s be honest about this. Shinseki is the political face of an anonymous, unelected, unaccountable administrative state. We can change the front men all we want, but until we address the real power of these administrators, things are not going to get better. The VA will continue to treat veterans worse than Medicaid patients. The IRS will continue to target conservative groups under some other guise. The EPA will continue to second-guess the Army Corps of Engineers on clean water projects and then the Army Corps of Enginners will delay the permits even after the EPA signs off on the project. The real power in Washington lies not with the politicians or their appointees, but with the unelected bureaucrats all over the country who believe, rightly or wrongly, that they know better than the voters how to run the country.

The Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act would be a good start toward reining (ha-ha) in the administrative state. . It would make Congress earn their salaries for a while and it might result in the sunsetting of a great many regulations that WE DO NOT NEED and SHOULD NOT WANT.

It can’t pass the Senate right now and President Obama would veto it, but the day is coming … we can hope. But, folks, we have to remember it and push it through when the Republicans are in the White House or the Senate, because they are as much the problem as the Democrats.

Posted June 2, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Administrative State

House to use post office cuts to fund highway bill | TheHill   Leave a comment

House to use post office cuts to fund highway bill | TheHill.

This is an example of the sorts of trade-offs that Congress will need to make if the federal government is going to remain solvent and, hopefully, return to sustainability. In order to do that, the budget needs to be reduced by at least one-third. To have a truly healthy economy, it needs to be reduced by one-half to two-thirds, but let’s start with baby steps.

It’s unfortunate the Saturday delivery of mail had to be sacrificed, but something has to be and Saturday delivery won’t happen if roads aren’t maintained.

The world is not ending, Congress is no more inept than it is at everything else and maybe this would be a good opportunity to point out that there are private carriers that deliver packages on Saturday and the rest of the days of the week as well. Maybe they could deliver envelopes too and ….

Oops, I just touched the third-rail of the administrative state … thou shalt not suggest that mail could be delivered by anyone other than the United States Post Office.

Gov Parnell Invokes RS 2477 in King Cove Road Controversy   Leave a comment

Why Alaska’s governor plans to use a 150-year-old law to sue the federal government

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/04/08/why-alaskas-governor-plans-to-use-a-150-year-old-law-to-sue-the-federal-government/

Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Photo by Kristine Sowl, USFWS,

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell announced Monday that the state plans to sue the federal government over a road, and he plans to use a 150-year-old law to do it.

Residents of King Cove — population 892 — say they need a one-lane gravel road to connect with Cold Bay, a city less than 30 miles away as the crow flies but separated by a famous wildlife refuge. Frequent bad weather often makes flying unfeasible, so the village needs access to Cold Bay’s larger airstrip for emergencies, residents argue. But wildlife advocates say it would hurt what is a world-class habitat—the 315,000-acre Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, home to virtually the entire population of the Pacific black brant as well as other types of birds.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has over several decades argued that such a road would cause “irreversible’ damage to the habitat and reaffirmed that belief most recently in February. Still, some of the residents were in D.C. last month to make their case to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. She stood by the department’s decision not to allow the road, prompting Parnell’s threat of a lawsuit.

“In just the last several weeks, serious health-related evacuations have shown just how critical a road for medical evacuations is for residents,” he said in his  statement Monday, officially providing a 180-day notice of the state’s intent to sue. The suit rests on a 148-year-old mining regulation: Revised Statute 2477 of the Mining Act of 1866. The controversial law was created to promote development of the West, according to a Bureau of Land Management fact sheet.

Black brant over Izembek Lagoon (Izembek National Wildlife Refuge). Photo by K.Mueller/USFWS

It “minimized the administrative burden on the federal government to authorize the construction of each highway across the largely undeveloped lands in the West. However, while the law accomplished its goal of facilitating development of the West, the general wording is a source of disagreement and controversy.”

Revised Statute 2477, which has been interpreted as granting authority to establish roads where informal routes existed, has been a source of controversy for years despite being just 20 words long. (It states: “The right-of-way for the construction of highways over public lands, not reserved for public uses, is hereby granted.”) The statute was repealed in 1976, but the law’s protections were preserved for routes that existed before then.

In a 1993 report, the Interior Department found that most of the controversy arising from the grandfathered protection to that point had come from Utah, but Alaska was also singled out for its unique reliance on R.S. 2477. It was prompted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service preparing land-use plans for refuges and parks there in the mid-1980s.

The proposed road. (Office of Gov. Sean Parnell)

“This federal action precipitated the State of Alaska’s interest in using R.S. 2477 to obtain rights-of-way over federal lands as state and local government in the Lower 48 States had during their own early developmental periods,” the report’s authors wrote. Some claims have been upheld, but the federal government has refused others. In fact, such a refusal to recognize a right-of-way prompted a separate suit last spring, Alaska’s attorney general wrote in his 2013 review:

In April 2013 we filed a lawsuit against the federal government and others to quiet title to a number of rights-of-way near Chicken, Alaska. Alaska acquired these rights-of-way under Revised Statute 2477, but the federal government fails to recognize that grant and has interfered with Alaskans’ right of access. As a state, it is important that we assert our interest in these vital access routes though much work remains to be done.

Ultimately, the fate of the refuge and the road may rest on the courts—which claimed authority to rule on such claims in a 2005 10th Circuit Court Ruling—and how they interpret a 148-year-old, one-sentence statute.

Comments
It said lands not reserved for public use. A national wildlife refuge is “public use”, I believe. Places are usually open to the public, like other national parks.

Instead of hassling the federal government which Republicans have worked to undermine and make sure it doesn’t function at all, how about Alaska help this tiny town build a hospital so that they don’t have to travel far when there’s a serious injury. And if it doesn’t make sense to you to have a hospital that’s closer than 30 miles away in an emergency, then maybe having a new road isn’t your only problem.

Besides, I thought Alaskans were supposed to be so rugged. You don’t need any government roads or roads through government areas. Just cut off the limb or body part and keep on going. Or better yet, join the Iditarod – I’m sure there’ll be a bunch of dogs headed in your general direction at some point.

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Wouldn’t the same “bad weather” that makes a helicopter flight impossible make travel over a gravel road impossible?
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Johnnee
4/8/2014 6:47 PM GMT-0800 [Edited]
Seriously……? You will never go there, see how the people that live there actually live…you reside in some bubble, burn gasoline, turn lights on & off, turn your heat up when you are cold….yet you don’t want anyone to develop a place you will never see or appreciate…..
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stevensp1
3:07 AM GMT-0800
The people you speak of have lived where they live, as they live, for generations. Or they are transplants who chose to move to that isolated post. Why should 850 people have the “right” to endanger the existence of millions of migratory animals on the off chance the one of those people might need an ambulance? Let the State of Alaska purchase airboats to resolve this conflict, or develop alternate means to rescue the injured. A road is not necessary and is not appropriate for a designated wilderness area.
It is hard to understand how a 30 mile dirt road, that would probably get very little traffic, could negatively impact the wildlife in the park.
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stevensp1
3:03 AM GMT-0800
Poachers and Native hunting rights. This road wouild gut the preserve and make it meaningless.
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Sad to say, ” Fat Chance ” I wish Alaska luck on this. Legislation seems needed to protect your rights.
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how_did_THAT_happen
4/8/2014 1:13 PM GMT-0800
What gives the National (not Federal) government the right to land that was paid for by ALL of the citizens of the US? They don’t own it, the people of the US owns it and some crapola that the government may do to make the land off limits is just that – more piles of uncomposted manure.
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NancyESL
4/8/2014 5:10 PM GMT-0800
I also own that land and, if left to people like you, every natural square inch of it would be drilled, fracked and paved over.
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ovocop
10:03 AM GMT-0800
What gives the federal government the right to land paid for by its citizens? I believe that would be the Constitution. Paid for it from Russia with taxpayer money and maintain it with said money, but like with any other federal lands, it manages and owns it (for us). So yes, they do own it. Do you think you *personally* own it?

I think the problem is, a lot of people like you don’t understand how government works. The government pretty much owns all of the land within its borders and whatever land it governs like territories. Eminent domain says so. Banks may hold the deed until you pay off a mortgage on your house, but if the federal government felt it necessary, they could compensate you or the bank and take that land for whatever purpose it deems fit.

Obviously, we get to vote for people who run the government and we pay for maintenance of such lands, so that’s how we control what happens… but other than that, the government owns the land. As you see, even within Alaska, which has a state government, the federal lands are not run by them or owned by them – it’s the federal government that holds this land. They get to decide what happens to it. They must follow what laws are on the books, but use their discretion in deeming fit what purpose the land is used. Obviously, there’s already a use for the land that is observed by the federal government, so this road does not take precedence over that unless they see it as necessary and lawful. They do not.

The Bush Administration has spoiled right-wingers. You believe that our national parks should be paved, drilled, fracked, logged, and mined – because that’s what they allowed. That’s not the purpose of a park. Not local parks, not national parks. The purpose of a park is to just be. It’s supposed to exist for existence sake. 

Company Pulls Out of Alaska’s Pebble Mine   Leave a comment

And gives its stock to two opponents of the mine…?

When I see something like this, it makes me go “hmmm????” There’s something about the EPA’s jumping the gun on the environmental report and this latest piece that just smells of manipulation. The question is … why?

Knowing the history of Alaska as I do, I suspect it is more American colonialism. Alaska is being spun in circles like the banana republics of old. Pebble will be developed eventually, but watch … the federal government and the Native corporations will benefit, not the people of Alaska.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the opposition to Pebble was always about Bristol Bay Native Corporation wanting a piece of the action.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/04/07/223636/company-pulls-out-of-controversial.html

— Global mining giant Rio Tinto is pulling out of the Pebble Mine project in Alaska, the latest blow to the controversial plan to build an open pit mine in the best wild salmon stronghold in the world.

Rio Tinto said Monday that it will donate its 19 percent share in the project to a pair of Alaskan charities, the Alaska Community Foundation and the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation.

Rio Tinto’s decision comes as after the Environmental Protection Agency last month moved closer to blocking the mine. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the mine would “likely have significant and irreversible negative impacts on the salmon of Bristol Bay. She said her agency would decide on action to protect the salmon under the Clean Water Act, which could lead to a veto of the project.

The British mining powerhouse Anglo American pulled out of the Pebble project last year and now Rio Tinto is abandoning it as well. The company said Monday that “the Pebble Project does not fit with Rio Tinto’s strategy.”

“By giving our shares to two respected Alaskan charities, we are ensuring that Alaskans will have a say in Pebble’s future development,” Rio Tinto Copper Chief Executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said in a written statement.

The Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation said in statement that “Rio Tinto’s gift will benefit organizations that serve the people and communities of Alaska.”

Executive Director Greta Goto said the shares would help the foundation to support educational opportunities for shareholders in the Bristol Bay Native Corporation.

The Bristol Bay Native Corporation, though, has been among the most outspoken opponents of the mine.

“This gift provides an example of what open discussion and relationship building between stakeholders with differing views can accomplish,” said Bristol Bay Native Corp. President Jason Metrokin. “However, BBNC’s opposition to the proposed Pebble mine has not changed.”

A representative of the Alaska Community Foundation did not have an immediate response to the gift.

The Pebble mine ranks among the largest copper undeveloped copper deposits in the world. Project developer Northern Dynasty Minerals is vowing to push on despite the controversies and continual setbacks.

The pullout of Anglo American left Northern Dynasty without a needed partner to bankroll the development of the mine. Northern Dynasty is continuing to search for a new partner, and said it will work with the Alaskan charities that are now stakeholders.

“We look forward to meeting with the leadership of the Alaska Community Foundation and Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation in the days ahead to better understand their long-term goals and aspirations, and how their ownership interest in Northern Dynasty and the Pebble Project can make the greatest possible contribution to the people and communities they serve,” Northern Dynasty President Ron Thiessen said in a written statement.

Email: scockerham@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter: @seancockerham.

Alaska to sue Interior Department for road to reach medical aid – Washington Times   Leave a comment

Alaska to sue Interior Department for road to reach medical aid – Washington Times.

Is Alaska’s Sean Parnell growing a backbone?

The more fights like this Alaska has with the federal government, the more (I hope) that people will come to understand that (hopefully, peaceful) secession is our only option. We can maintain cultural and diplomatic ties with the US, but we need to control our own resources and remove the colonial power from our land.

Nothing is standing in the way of this road, but an arbitrary rule written 2500 miles distant from the people it affects by people whose agenda is to keep Alaska under colonial control until such time that they can authorize the rape our resources for their own benefit rather than ours.

It’s our land! Get out!

Alaska’s long road war   Leave a comment

This subject appears to have struck a cord with the American press.

Alaska’s long road war.

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