Wednesday, June 1, 2011

AgChat and the EPA

While participating on the May 31,2010 AgChat about the EPA I noticed a a tweet mentioning AgChat, with the comment that “The fear and hate being displayed remind me of “The Simpsons movie.” The ensuing “tweetersation” is what prompted this post.

Perhaps the hardest thing to do, is explain to a person how one of their most trusted friends has been lying to, and taking advantage of them. Even harder is trying to explain to a dedicated and concerned group of people, that an organization they trust has been taking advantage of their naivety to promote their own political agenda to the detriment of what they are supposedly protecting.

At the risk of having you not finish this post, I would like to introduce you to Dan Dagget. Mr. Daggett was one of the first 100 members of Earth First, and was instrumental in establishing a wilderness area in Arizona and in 1992 was designated by the Sierra Club as one of the top 100 grassroots environmental activists. I invite you to peruse his views and discoveries before finishing this post as a primer.
Now back to making my own point. The following three example of EPA actions demonstrates just how little scientific thought goes into their decision process. It also demonstrates their disregard for allowing the truth to emerge if it challenges the validity of their “environmental concerns.”

The first scenario was in the late 1980's. BLM was reducing grazing allotments in Nevada at the bequest of the EPA because of the endangered Desert Painted Tortoise. Livestock Market Digest columnist Lee Pitts uncovered the fact that during this same time, the National Guard “rescued” over 100,000 of these tortoises from a housing development near Las Vegas, Nevada and airlifted them to Reno, Nevada for “adoption.” This begs two questions; a) If they were actually endangered then why were there over 100,000 of them in an area being developed? b) Why would they adopt them out rather than relocate them where the cattle numbers were being reduced?

The second scenario was also in Nevada, in the late 80's.

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout were discovered on a BLM grazing lease. These trout had been listed as endangered in 1970 and reclassified as threatened in 1975. Armed with no scientific evidence other than the trout were in the area where cattle were grazing, the EPA demanded that the BLM put a buffer area around the stream. The Fallon family had been grazing this BLM lease continuously for over 80 years and with no warning were suddenly forced to cut the size of their herd in half. One would think the prudent thing to do would have been to do a study on the population to see if perhaps the cattle were somehow benefiting the trout (logic would dictate that at the very least, coexisting with the cattle for 80 years there was no real harm being done by the cattle).

The third scenario is more commonly known as it basically destroyed the logging industry in the Pacific Northwest. When the EPA shut down logging in the area because of the Spotted Owl there were several things which never made it into the national media. There was more than one lie purported by the EPA. The EPA claimed that the spotted owls could only nest in old growth forest. Rather than halt logging only in the old growth forest, logging was also halted in the replanted areas. If the logging ban was decided on apolitical, scientific reasoning to save the owl, why was logging halted outside the alleged area of habitat of the owl? Yet the deception by the EPA (and media) goes deeper.

During the Spotted Owl controversy, the EPA kept insisting that the only place these birds could nest was in old growth timber. The surprising thing was the number of spotted owls found to be nesting in everything from younger trees, to power poles and fence posts. These pictures were published in various timber, livestock and farming publications, yet were never acknowledged by the EPA, ecological, animal welfare groups or the mainstream media.

The simple fact is that facts can be misconstrued to promote a political agenda. A well written lie can often make more sense to a person than the truth. This is especially true when that lie is fabricated to appear it is protecting you. When you see a question on AgChat, or statement on Twitter you feel is biased or false, question the person who wrote it with an open mind. Don't assume that just because it does not fit into the mold of what you have been taught, that it is false. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below. If you want to discover more about agriculture, visit the Texas Crossroads Gathering's links page where we have a large variety of agricultural links!