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  • June 22, 2017 DOI New Federal Indian Policy?

    People send me stuff….

    Thanks to Liz Bowen this Indian news is getting around in cyberspace

    News from Klamath Basin Crisis.org 8-11-17

    Aug 12, 2017

    On June 22, 2017, the Department of Interior published a “Notice of Regulatory Reform” with an open public comment period on the Indian Reorganization Act .

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    Federal Indian Policy: “Mom Always Liked YOU best!”

    https://www.thenewamerican.com/…/26600-federal-indian-policy-mom-always-liked-…

    Jul 31, 2017Federal Indian Policy: “Mom Always Liked YOU best!” It’s 83 years late in coming, but at long last the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (IRA) is …

    full text below….

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    Thanks to Liz Bowen this Indian news is getting around in cyberspace

    News from Klamath Basin Crisis.org 8-11-17

    Aug 12, 2017

    Klamath Basin Crisis.org

    KBC News

    SEND COMMENTS NOW!!! Federal Indian Policy: “Mom Always Liked YOU best!”, Elaine Willman for New American, posted to KBC 8/11/17. “It’s 83 years late in coming, but at long last the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (IRA) is finally getting its first-ever review, and hopefully serious reform. IRA (48 stat. 984) forms the backbone of federal Indian policy across the country and has been extended, expanded, and abused far beyond the original intent of Congress…Johnny’s governments (tribes) may directly finance political parties, incumbents, or candidate election officials.

    Jimmy’s government may not.

    Johnny’s businesses are all tax-exempt and growing enormously. Jimmy’s businesses are taxed to the max. Johnny’s government members can hold elected office anywhere across the country, passing land use and taxation laws upon Jimmy that do not apply to Johnny. Johnny has priority over most of the river and water systems throughout the Western states because Johnny was here first, and Jimmy’s needs don’t matter — he shouldn’t exist.”   Willman’s Biography

    www.klamathbasincrisis.org

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    This West Is OUR West: Uniting Western States – Protecting Our Rights

    www.thiswestisourwest.com/

    On June 22, 2017, the Department of Interior published a “Notice of Regulatory Reform” with an open public comment period on the Indian Reorganization Act .

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    Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling …

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/…/2017/…/presidential-executive-order-reducing-regulati…

    Jan 30, 2017Presidential Executive Order 12291 on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs … (b) For fiscal year 2017, which is in progress, the heads of all agencies are directed that the total incremental … DONALD J. TRUMP.

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    The good news is that on June 22, 2017, the Department of Interior published a “Notice of Regulatory Reform” with an open public comment period on the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) and four other major federal statutes.

    The Notice reads: “This document also provides an overview of Interior’s approach for implementing the regulatory reform initiative to alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on the American people.”

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    UNNECESSARY BURDENS PLACED ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE?

    Jan 23, 2015 – In 2013, A FEDERAL JUDGE ordered Washington state to replace nearly 1,000 culverts that block or impede fish passage along Western … it could cost WA State Taxpayers about $2.4 billion to replace

    IS $2.4 BILLION TO REPLACE FISH CULVERTS AN UNNECESSARY  BURDEN PLACED ON WA STATE TAXPAYERS?

    May 19, 2017 – “Fixing fish-blocking culverts under state roads will open up … COURT’S DECISION FORCES THE STATE TO SPEND BILLIONS TO REPLACE CULVERTS…

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    UNNECESSARY BURDENS PLACED ON THE AMERICAN CITIZENS?

    THE TAKING OF TAXPAYERS WATER IN WASHINGTON STATE, OREGON AND CALIFORNIA

    Behind My Back | High, Dry and Destitute

    www.behindmyback.org/2015/02/01/high-dry-and-destitute/

    Feb 1, 2015 – High, Dry and Destitute WA State citizens, private property owners and … category and have previously been posted on “behindmyback.org”.

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    full unedited text….

    News from Klamath Basin Crisis.org 8-11-17

    Aug 12, 2017

    Klamath Basin Crisis.orgKBC NewsSEND COMMENTS NOW!!! Federal Indian Policy: “Mom Always Liked YOU best!”, Elaine Willman for New American, posted to KBC 8/11/17. “It’s 83 years late in coming, but at long last the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (IRA) is finally getting its first-ever review, and hopefully serious reform. IRA (48 stat. 984) forms the backbone of federal Indian policy across the country and has been extended, expanded, and abused far beyond the original intent of Congress…Johnny’s governments (tribes) may directly finance political parties, incumbents, or candidate election officials.

    Jimmy’s government may not.

    Johnny’s businesses are all tax-exempt and growing enormously. Jimmy’s businesses are taxed to the max. Johnny’s government members can hold elected office anywhere across the country, passing land use and taxation laws upon Jimmy that do not apply to Johnny. Johnny has priority over most of the river and water systems throughout the Western states because Johnny was here first, and Jimmy’s needs don’t matter — he shouldn’t exist.”   Willman’s Biography

    www.klamathbasincrisis.org

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    full unedited text….

    Monday, 31 July 2017

    FEDERAL INDIAN POLICY: “MOM ALWAYS LIKED YOU BEST!”

    Written by  Elaine D. Willman

    It’s 83 years late in coming, but at long last the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (IRA) is finally getting its first-ever review, and hopefully serious reform. IRA (48 stat. 984) forms the backbone of federal Indian policy across the country and has been extended, expanded, and abused far beyond the original intent of Congress.

    In order to understand IRA and its major impacts on America, let me share an analogy. Imagine an American household with a single mom and a couple of sons, Johnny and Jimmy. One day Mom calls the family together to make an announcement. “Johnny, you were here first; Jimmy you were here second. Therefore, Johnny, you are more valuable and important than your brother. And Jimmy, you have intruded upon Johnny’s room, his life and his world, so a big chunk of everything you earn from now on and forever will be given to me, Mom, and I will redirect your earnings to Johnny. You really don’t belong here, Jimmy, because you were here second.”

    This is exactly what has been happening in our country for 83 years. Since the Tribes (Johnny) tell the government (Mom) that they were here first, the non-tribal inhabitants (Jimmy) have become second-class citizens.

    The mantra foisted upon Americans for decades is, “We were here first; you stole our land.” Neither is true. But even if it were true, the response as of 1789 should have been, “So what?” That was the way of the world in the 1600s under the Doctrine of Discovery. Life changed on this continent in September 1789.

    One could hardly call the poor souls arriving on the Mayflower and other ships to establish a new life on this continent, conquerors. They had fled religious oppression under a tyrannical king, and were seeking liberty, religious and individual freedom. These were the seeds that became the Great American Experiment. But for that “transgression,” apparently, Americans are to be forever damned.

    In my analogy, Mom is our Mother Country. Imagine that Mom’s folks come to visit their grandsons and discover the new household rules. Mom’s folks, representing our Founders, would be astonished. The seeds planted in the early 1600s by arrivals from Europe gave birth to the Framers of our Constitution and our republican form of government. Regardless of historical decisions, some right, some wrong, the reality is that the United States of America, as of September 1789, is our government, inclusive of the now 50 separate and sovereign states. Revisionist history has been common practice for far too long, but the actual reversal of history occurring today is the slumbering thunder creeping across this country.

    There is no tribal sovereignty recognized in the U.S. Constitution, but such sovereignty (just like Jimmy paying perpetual debt to Johnny) has acquired a power beyond the Constitution’s declared sovereign authority of individual citizens and states. States such as Washington, Montana, Idaho, and some Midwestern states have continually relinquished their state authority in deference to all tribal whims. Many states have created de facto “trust” relationships with tribes where none existed; only the federal government has a court ordered (but not constitutional) “trust” relationship with their “dependent wards — Indian tribes.”

    Johnny’s governments (tribes) may directly finance political parties, incumbents, or candidate election officials. Jimmy’s government may not. Johnny’s businesses are all tax-exempt and growing enormously. Jimmy’s businesses are taxed to the max. Johnny’s government members can hold elected office anywhere across the country, passing land use and taxation laws upon Jimmy that do not apply to Johnny. Johnny has priority over most of the river and water systems throughout the Western states because Johnny was here first, and Jimmy’s needs don’t matter — he shouldn’t exist.

    There is a wondrous Statue of Liberty in New York harbor that welcomes all to come, as the early Jamestown settlers, legally to the United States. We are a country forged and thriving by “intruders” from all over the world. Our republican form of government does not classify those who were here first as superior, nor does it distinguish a priority between the person naturalized yesterday as a full American citizen and the child born here five minutes ago. But federal Indian policy requires perpetual debt and shame for all who came second.

    And now we take a deeper look at the Indian Reorganization Act and its impact on the lives of American citizens. In 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Carcieri v Salazar that IRA was intended to reorganize only those tribes on existing reservations and “now under federal jurisdiction” in June 1934. There were only some 65-70 actual Indian reservations in the United States in 1934. Therefore, the IRA was to reorganize only those 65-70 tribes, and no more. The Carcieri ruling was a political earthquake.

    The Department of Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs have not just reorganized reservations in existence in 1934; they have federally recognized a current total of 567 tribal governments, each acquiring and expanding their reservations, each receiving tax exemptions, and each receiving money from Jimmy (“second-class” citizens).

    The response to Carcieri under the Obama administration was to utterly ignore it, along with other Supreme Court rulings where the High Court rolled back tribal governing authority, replacing state sovereign authority.

    The good news is that on June 22, 2017, the Department of Interior published a “Notice of Regulatory Reform” with an open public comment period on the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) and four other major federal statutes. The Notice reads: “This document also provides an overview of Interior’s approach for implementing the regulatory reform initiative to alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on the American people.”

    No doubt Johnny’s 567 tribal governments and the entire Indian industry will be weighing in with their comments to legitimize and further expand decades of IRA unauthorized overreach.

    This is our very first opportunity to truly confront the erroneous and detrimental policies that one ethnicity that was here “first” is superior to all others in this country because all other ethnicities are intruders on this continent, and that communalism, socialism, and tribalism is preferable to individual liberty.

    It is imperative that states, counties, towns, and Jimmy — who lives within an Indian reservation — describe their “burden” at this time. If Jimmy stays silent, Jimmy’s wallet will continue to be annually poached for the expansion of tribalism as a governing system, replacing our constitutional republic form of government.

    Please get your comments on the record to the Department of Interior in one of two ways:

    1) Submit comments to the federal “eRulemaking Portal,” www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter the appropriate document number (DOI-2017-0003-0002). Or,

    2) Mail a hard-copy of your comments to: Office of the Executive Secretariat, ATTN: Reg. Reform; U.S. Department of Interior; 1859 C Street NW. MailStop 7328; Washington, DC 20240.

    All other Americans are up against 567 tribal governments with 400 more waiting in the wings for their recognition (not “reorganization”). How long must Jimmy owe his older brother who was here “first” and who seldom says “thank you,” and never says “enough”?

    I am not a secondary American citizen. Are you?

    Image: screenshots of advertisements at indiangaming.com

    Related videos and articles:

    Warpath: Obama’s Indian Policy Threatens All Americans, Both Tribal and Non-tribal Citizens 

     


  • In An Apparent Shell Game S.2012

    The bill in question is No. S.2012 -the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016

    In an apparent “SHELL GAME” likely intended to disguise a hidden agenda and to confuse the American public, Congress is considering “BEHIND CLOSED DOORS” two versions of S.2012.

    U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK-R) is pushing a massive 792 page Senate Energy bill incorporating more than 393 amendments covering these and other policy areas

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    Polson, Montana –September 14, 2016

    According to nonprofit Western States Constitutional Rights, LLC,

    S.2012 contains VERY harmful tribal government forest management provisions that could severely diminish the constitutionally protected rights of western and rural private property owners throughout the  United States

    In an apparent “SHELL GAME” likely intended to disguise a hidden agenda and to confuse the American public, Congress is considering “BEHIND CLOSED DOORS” two versions of S.2012.

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    Why would the Politico’s establishment of this Congressional Mumbo Jumbo confuse the American public?

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    snippet…

    It is understood that the Senate passed the Murkowski version without forestry measures in April 2016, while the U.S. House of Representatives passed a second version with both forestry and tribal forest management measures in May 2016,namely,H.R. 2647 –the Resilient Federal

    Forests Act of 2015. H.R. 2647 was sponsored by Representative Bruce Westerman (AR-R) and cosponsored by 11 Republicans and 2 Democrats. It seems H.R. 2647 was incorporated within the House version of S.2012 via an amendment adding new Title VII as part of “Division B, Titles I-X”.1 On September 8, 2016, the two versions of House/Senate S.2012 were submitted to a Congressional conference committee to be reconciled for ultimate passage by both chambers and signature into law by President Obama.

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    DON’T WAIT UNTIL S.2012 IS PASSED  BY CONGRESS, LIKE OBAMACARE, TO FIND OUT WHAT’S IN THE NORTH AMERICAN ENERGY SECURITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE ACT OF 2016  

    We the People must demand an end to the secrecy, shady backroom deals, and usurpation of our natural and constitutional freedoms and property rights.

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    WELL NOT REALLY…

    WE THE PEOPLE MUST INFORM AMERICAN CITIZENS REGARDING USURPATION’S of  S.2012

    THAN ON NOV 8, 2016 WE THE PEOPLE  VOTE FOR TRUMP.

    AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TRUMP PUTS AN END TO ALL OF THE SECRECY, SHADY BACKROOM DEALS, AND USURPATION OF OUR NATURAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOMS AND PROPERTY RIGHTS.

    ENDING A MASSIVE  NUMBER OF GOVERNMENT USURPATION’S

    By definition an act of usurping; wrongful or illegal encroachment, infringement, or seizure.

    INCLUDING OBAMA’S EXECUTIVE ORDERS

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    A UN and tribal takeover? – Canada Free Press

    canadafreepress.com/…/energybillshidden-tribal-forest-management-amp-other-pro

    2 days ago – Hidden provisions in congressional energy bills undermine America’s … of private property owners throughout the United States, the Western States … shared by many citizens throughout the western and rural United States.

     

    By Lawrence Kogan —— Bio and Archives September 17, 2016

    A MASSIVE 792-PAGE SENATE ENERGY COMMITTEE BILL THREATENS TO AUTHORIZE FEDERAL BUREAUCRATS TO CEDE EXTENSIVE CONTROL OVER WESTERN STATE WATER AND PROPERTY RIGHTS, ENERGY DEVELOPMENT AND FOREST MANAGEMENT TO NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES, LOCAL UN SUSTAINABILITY COUNCILS AND RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALIST GROUPS.

     CERTAIN PROVISIONS COULD UNDERMINE THE FOUNDATIONS OF OUR NATION FROM WITHIN OUR NATION.

    S.2012, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016, incorporates some 393 amendments. Incredibly, it is being driven forward by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and other members of Congress behind closed doors. Probably very few have read the bill in its entirety. Virtually none understand its likely impacts on western and other rural land, water and property rights, potentially throughout America, or on the families and communities whose lives will be upended.

    This secretive approach—with no opportunities for meaningful public examination or comment, even by those who will be most affected—is almost unprecedented. It could well become another example of “we have to pass it to find out what’s in it.” But numerous people will have to live with the consequences, while the authors and implementers walk away exempted, unscathed and unaccountable.

    The bill’s tribal government forest management provisions are extremely harmful and could severely diminish the constitutionally protected rights of private property owners throughout the United States, the Western States Constitutional Rights consortium emphasizes. Indeed, the pending legislation is itself unconstitutional, as explained in a legal memorandum the consortium sent to 13 members of Congress.

    This Montana-based nonprofit was formed to safeguard the property rights of farmers, ranchers and other land and business owners against reckless federal, state and local government laws, regulations and policies. WSCR members live on or near the Flathead Irrigation Project within the Flathead Indian Reservation, and in other parts of northwestern Montana. But their concerns are widely shared by many citizens throughout the western and rural United States. It has a long, hard road ahead on these issues.

    The apparent “shell game” is likely intended to disguise a hidden agenda and confuse people. In fact, Congress is quietly considering two versions: a Senate-passedMurkowski version without forestry measures and a House of Representatives version with both forestry and tribal forest management measures (H.R. 2647, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, sponsored by Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and cosponsored by 11 Republicans and 2 Democrats). Bipartisan chicanery.

    On September 8, the two versions were submitted to a conference committee, to be reconciled so that both chambers can pass a bill and President Obama can sign it into law. The problems are extensive.

    The House/Senate versions’ forestry measures embrace Euro-UN-Agenda 21 sustainable forest management principles, plus United Nations Indigenous Peoples Rights policies that would supersede the U.S. Constitution—while implementing unscientific climate change and sustainability objectives devised by the White House and “Forest Service Strategic Energy Framework.”

    Tribal Forest Management (TFM) provisions in House/Senate S.2012 are more problematic, because they would racially discriminate in favor of Native American tribes. They would do so by using the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to recognize off-reservation aboriginal pre-European land and water rights—where none exist in U.S. law—at the expense of all other Americans’ constitutionally protected private property rights. S.2012s’ TFM provisions would also:

    • Supplant states’ authority and jurisdiction over their natural resources, as recognized by the Tenth Amendment requirement that these resources be held in “public trust” for the benefit of each state’s citizens—including incredibly hard-working western ranchers who put so much food on your table.
    • Enable Native American Tribes to treat “Federal Forest Lands” (including national forests and national parks belonging to all Americans) as “Indian Forest Lands,” merely by establishing that “the Federal forest land is located within, or mostly within, a geographical area that presents a feature or involves circumstances principally relevant to that Indian tribe.” That means a tribe only has to show that the lands are covered by an Indian treaty, are part of a current or former Indian reservation, or were once adjudicated by the former Indian Claims Commission as part of a “tribal homeland.”
    • Provide Native American Tribes near U.S. national forest and park lands with federal “638” contracts to manage, oversee and control such lands and appurtenant water resources for federal regulatory and other purposes, even when they are well beyond the boundaries of Indian reservations.
    • Expand tribal political sovereignty and legal jurisdiction and control, especially over mountainous forest lands—the source of most snowpack and other waters that farmers, ranchers, and even towns and cities rely on for irrigation, drinking and other water needs.
    • Enable tribes to impose new federal fiduciary trust obligations on the U.S. government to protect their religious, cultural and spiritual rights to fish, waters and lands located beyond the boundaries of Indian reservations, by severely curtailing non-tribal members’ constitutionally protected private water and land rights, without paying “just compensation” as required by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    A recently filed federal lawsuit by the Hoopa Valley Tribe of northern California against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and National Marine Fisheries Service underscores the importance of this so-called federal fiduciary trust obligation. The tribe wants to compel the agencies to protect the tribe’s alleged off-reservation aboriginal pre-European water and fishing rights in southern Oregon’s Klamath River and Upper Klamath Lake—even though their reservation is more than 240 miles southwest of the lake!

    A tribal court victory would severely curtail Klamath irrigators’ ability to exercise their rights to vitally needed water. Northern California’s Yurok Tribe says it will soon file its own lawsuit. A cascade of such legal actions would disrupt or destroy the entire western water rights system.

    Combined with S.3013 (Montana Democrat Senator John Tester’s Salish and Kootenai Water Rights Settlement Act), the TFM provisions would expand and codify into federal law off-reservation aboriginal water and fishing rights that the tribes now claim. That precedent could then be used by other litigious tribes to override water and private property public trust obligations that Montana, Oregon, California and other western states owe their citizens under state constitutions. It could happen throughout America!

    S.2012 would cause even more problems if Congress adds a Wyden-Merkley Amendment that provides federal funding and implementation for the controversial Klamath Basin Agreements Tribal Rights Settlement. That would greatly expand tribal water rights, in violation of U.S. constitutional requirements that any such expansion be pursuant to Congress’s authority to approve or reject interstate compacts or regulate commerce with Indian tribes.

    It would also create a federal and interstate template for greatly diminishing regional—and potentially all irrigators’—state-based private property rights, in favor of Native American tribes. Its proponents have grossly misrepresented the settlement’s alleged benefits and substantially understated the damage it would impose on Klamath Basin residents.

    If S.2012 is enacted into law with the tribal forest management, Wyden-Merkley Amendment and Salish-Kootenai Settlement, Congress will cede control over western and rural lands and waters to Native American tribes in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth, Ninth, Tenth and Fourteenth Amendments.

    This year’s presidential and congressional elections are a referendum on the role and performance of government.

    We the People must demand an end to the secrecy, shady backroom deals, and usurpation of our natural and constitutional freedoms and property rights.

    Congress’ immediate withdrawal or modification of this grotesque omnibus energy bill would be a good first step in this direction.

    Lawrence Kogan is managing principal of The Kogan Law Group, PC of New York, NY and legal counsel to Western States Constitutional Rights, LLC.

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    Just asking?

    Why would the Politico’s establishment of this Congressional Mumbo Jumbo confuse the American public?

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    This West Is OUR West: Uniting Western States – Protecting Our Rights

    thiswestisourwest.com/

    Energy Bill’s Hidden Provisions UndermineS.2012 – the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016, which many in Congress … protected rights of western and rural private property owners throughout the United States.

    BREAKING NEWS September 15, 2016

    WESTERN STATES CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS, LLC

    PRESS RELEASE

    Energy Bill’s Hidden Provisions Undermine Western and Rural U.S. Property Owners

    The following press release is based on a recently prepared memorandum of law and

    correspondences dispatched to 13 members of Congress explaining the unconstitutionality of pending legislation discussed below

    Polson, Montana – September 14, 2016 –

    Energy and forest management are not generally assumed to be interrelated policies.

    Nevertheless, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK-R) is pushing a massive 792-page Senate Energy bill incorporating more than 393 amendments covering these and other policy areas. The bill in question is No. S.2012 – the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016, which many in Congress have not likely read.

    According to nonprofit Western States Constitutional Rights, LLC, S.2012 contains VERY harmful tribal government forest management provisions that could severely diminish the constitutionally protected rights of western and rural private property owners throughout the United States.

    In an apparent “SHELL GAME” likely intended to disguise a hidden agenda and to confuse the American public, Congress is considering BEHIND CLOSED DOORS two versions of S.2012.

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    A shell game is a shell game….. by hook,  by crooks or by the U.S. Congress

    Behind My Back | The “RESTORATION” Shell Game

    www.behindmyback.org/2014/06/09/the-restorationshellgame/

    Jun 9, 2014 – The “RESTORATIONShell Game. A highly convoluted “GAME OF RESTORATION” that is involving the sleight of many, many hands, in which …

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    Read more on Pie N Politics

    News from Klamath Basin Crisis.org

    by Liz Bowen

     

    http://klamathbasincrisis.org/billslaws/2016/Energybillshiddenprovisions091516.pdf

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    Western States Constitutional Rights, LLC is a Montana-based nonprofit entity the mission of which is to promote the protection of private property rights held by western United States property owners against reckless federal, state and local government laws, regulations and policies. Its members are irrigators, landowners and business owners located on or near the Flathead Irrigation Project situated within the Flathead Indian Reservation, and from other areas in northwestern Montana, but their concerns are widely shared by many citizens throughout the western and rural United States.

    All media inquiries should be directed to The Kogan Law Group, P.C., NY, NY, Western States Constitutional Rights, LLC’s legal counsel, at: 212-644-9240.

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    Energy,  forest management  and TRIBES are not generally assumed to be interrelated policies.

    Connecting the dots on  Senator Murkowski….

    Senator  Murkowski  (R) is an active member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and served as Vice Chairman of the Committee during the 110th Congress. She is the Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a member of the Committee on Appropriations, She was honored with a Congressional Leadership Award by the National Congress of American Indians


  • What’s Upstream? in Olympia and Bellingham

    EPA: What’s Upstream is a misuse of federal funds …

    www.capitalpress.com/…/epawhatsupstream-is-a-misuse-of…
    Capital Press

    3 days ago – In a turnaround, the Environmental Protection Agency says a media campaign to link farmers with water pollution has been a misuse of EPA …In a turnaround, the Environmental Protection Agency says a media campaign to link farmers with water pollution has been a misuse of EPA funds.

    Don Jenkins Capital Press Published on April 5, 2016 11:31AM

    Last changed on April 5, 2016 6:12PM

    Photo courtesy of Save Family Farming
A billboard near Bellingham, Wash., promotes a campaign funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Kansas Republican Pat Roberts, calls the billboards a disturbing and malicious attack on farmers. On Tuesday, the EPA said it was withdrawing its support for the campaign.

    Photo courtesy of Save Family Farming A billboard near Bellingham, Wash., promotes a campaign funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Kansas Republican Pat Roberts, calls the billboards a disturbing and malicious attack on farmers. On Tuesday, the EPA said it was withdrawing its support for the campaign.

    The Environmental Protection Agency today reversed course and said EPA funds should not have been used to finance What’s Upstream, a media campaign to arouse public support in Washington state for stricter regulations on agriculture.The campaign, a collaboration between a tribe and environmental groups, raised the ire of farm groups and drew a rebuke Monday from Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan…….. (read full text on link))

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    EPA’s reversal on What’s Upstream rings hollow to ag groups

    www.capitalpress.com/…/epas-reversal-on-whatsupstream-ri…
    Capital Press
    3 days ago – The Environmental Protection Agency says grant recipients misused federal funds in waging media campaign against farmers, but agriculture …
    The Environmental Protection Agency says grant recipients misused federal funds in waging media campaign against farmers, but agriculture groups say the agency needs to explain why the grant was awarded in the first place.
    Don Jenkins Capital Press Published on April 5, 2016 6:16PM

    Last changed on April 6, 2016 10:55AM

    Don Jenkins/Capital PressA billboard in Olympia advertises a website that advocates for stricter regulations on farmers. A tribe and environmental groups put up this billboard and one in Bellingham with a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The billboard fails to dislcose the funding source, as required by the terms of the grant.

    Don Jenkins/Capital Press A billboard in Olympia advertises a website that advocates for stricter regulations on farmers. A tribe and environmental groups put up this billboard and one in Bellingham with a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The billboard fails to disclose the funding source, as required by the terms of the grant.

     

    The Environmental Protection Agency reversed course Tuesday and said EPA funds should not have been used to finance What’s Upstream, a media campaign to arouse public support in Washington state for stricter regulations on agriculture.The change in position pleased farm advocates, but also left them asking why EPA allowed the campaign in the first place.

    “It’s nice EPA recognized what seems obvious,” said Washington State Dairy Federation policy director Jay Gordon. “But who … decided this was acceptable for federal funding?”

    What’s Upstream, a partnership between the Swinomish Indian tribe in northwestern Washington and environmental groups,

    has been funded with nearly $600,000 in EPA grants.

    The tribe used some of the money to hire a public relations firm, Strategies 360, and kept EPA informed as the firm crafted a campaign to influence a “malleable” public.

    Until Tuesday, the EPA had refrained from commenting on the campaign’s substance other than to say it did not violate prohibitions on using federal funds to lobby, even though What’s Upstream sought to organize a letter-writing campaign to state lawmakers.

    In a statement, the EPA took to task the grant’s original recipient, the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, and the Swinomish tribe.

    The commission, a consortium of 20 tribes, “sub-awarded” the money to the tribe.

    “The consortium made a sub-award for a campaign which should not be using EPA funds. We are in the process of correcting that,” an EPA spokesman said in a written statement.

    Efforts to reach the commission and tribe were unsuccessful.

    Two U.S. senators Tuesday sent a letter to EPA Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins Jr. requesting an investigation into how the grant funds were used.

    “We are troubled to learn that EPA’s financial assistance appears to improperly fund an advocacy campaign in Washington state that unfairly targets and demonizes farmers and ranchers,” wrote Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts and Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, both Republicans.

    Roberts, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Inhofe, who chairs the Environment Committee, zeroed in on whether the letter-writing campaign amounted to illegally funded lobbying and political activities.

    “The fact that the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission campaign website fully or partially funded by the EPA enables the public to use a script criticizing agricultural producers in an effort to influence lawmakers deserves immediate legal scrutiny,” the senators wrote.

    An Inspector General spokesman Tuesday said the agency doesn’t confirm or deny the existence of any ongoing investigation.

    IG investigators have already had a preliminary telephone conference call with farm groups, though it’s unclear whether the office will conduct a full investigation.

    “Based on our conversations with the people from the inspector general’s office, we think it is a pretty significant issue for the EPA,” said Save Family Farming director Gerald Baron, who participated in the call.

    Save Family Farming, based in northwestern Washington, was recently formed to respond to critics of farming practices.

    Baron said EPA should be held accountable.

    “I think it’s dishonest for them to try to put the responsibility for this on the grantee,” he said. “The record shows they were very closely involved in the content.”

    The tribe submitted regular reports to EPA over several years as Strategies 360 polled voters and met with focus groups. The polling found that voters were largely unconcerned about water pollution and held farmers in high regard, though the public relations firm reported that opinions could be changed with the right message.

    EPA distanced itself from the campaign one day after Roberts rebuked EPA for funding it.

    “The tone and content of this outside campaign does not represent the views of the EPA,” the EPA spokesman said.

    In a statement issued Monday, Roberts directed his ire at What’s Upstream billboards put up in Olympia and Bellingham, Wash., calling them “disturbing” and “malicious.”

    The billboards, which advertise the campaign’s website, picture dairy cows standing in a stream. The words say: “Unregulated agriculture is putting our waterways at risk.”

    The billboards do not disclose that they were funded by the EPA, a standard requirement for all EPA-funded materials.

    Gordon, himself a dairy farmer in Western Washington, said he was especially pained to see the billboard on a busy street in Olympia.

    “Seeing that right in the middle of Olympia, knowing it was paid for by taxpayer dollars, that was the one that hit me the hardest,” he said. “When you see it, you just go, ‘It’s just not fair.’”

    The environmental groups involved in What’s Upstream defend the campaign as public education, a permissible use of the EPA grant.

    “I still contend its use was for public education and was not a misuse of funds,” said Trish Rolfe, director of the Center for Environmental Law and Policy. “It (whatsupstream.com) is an educational website. It doesn’t lobby for or against a particular piece of legislation.”

    The EPA did not elaborate on what its next step will be.

    The agency should act quickly, Baron said.

    —————————————————————

    Two billboards that violate federal rules governing EPA funding, which appear to lobby for …

    By Rich Keller, Editor, Ag Professional

    Two billboards that violate federal rules governing EPA funding, which appear to lobby for new state legislation to limit farmers activities that environmental groups claim pollute waterways, has caused quite a stir in Washington state and Washington, D.C.

    A coalition of environmental groups in Washington state put up two billboards with the same photo and headline promote “What’s Upstream,” a campaign developed by a public relations firm to link agriculture with water pollution. It appears that a large amount of the money for the campaign and billboards are being financed by an EPA grant to the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and controlled by the Swinomish Indian tribe.

    According to regulations, the billboards should mention financial support from the EPA, but they don’t, and EPA officials have agreed it was a mistake. The second concern is that money is being used for political lobbying, which is also contrary to use of federal grant funds. Of course, the EPA says the What’s Upstream campaign isn’t strictly political lobbying. Third, farmers and legislators from agricultural districts see the EPA aligning itself with anti-agriculture forces of environmental activists, and this isn’t appropriate for an agency that should be unbiased before evaluating specific regulations.

    The billboards show three cows standing in a stream with the headline: “Unregulated agriculture is putting our waterways at risk.” The environmental groups along with the Indian tribe—Puget Soundkeeper, Western Environmental Law Center and Center for Environmental Law and Policy—say the What’s Upstream is simply of educational nature.

    This whole situation about the billboards and the EPA handing out of grant money was first uncovered by Capital Press, but this has grown into more than a state issue.

    The chairmen of two Senate committees are calling for an investigation into billboards in Washington state that blame agriculture for polluting waterways because they apparently were funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.

    Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Agriculture Committee are requesting an audit and investigation of the EPA grant.

    Sen. Roberts released a statement regarding the anti-agriculture billboard. “This disturbing billboard is a bold example of exactly what America’s farmers and ranchers complain about all the time: the EPA has an agenda antagonistic to producers. Whether it’s overly burdensome and costly regulations or something as obvious as this malicious billboard, the EPA has much to answer for in maligning those that grow the food and fiber to feed the world. Our farmers and ranchers are stewards of the land and want to see our natural resources protected as much as any other American.

    “While there are legal concerns with the lack of disclosure of EPA’s involvement, the billboard is another example of EPA’s improper practice of encouraging the lobbying of legislators. How and why the EPA has allowed taxpayer dollars to be used to attack any industry, including our vital agriculture producers, demands answers.”