The phone in my office rang a couple days ago, "hey Tony, how would you like to get some aerial photos of the Rocky Mountain Front and talk about H.B. 1505, and 1581," "the federal lands protection act," and the "road-less release act" respectively. I paused for about a millisecond and replied, "let me think-about-it-yes." Of course I want to fly the Rocky Mountain Front - who wouldn't
Some are calling these bills land grabs by the federal government and a complete over reach. H.B. 1581 is meant to roll back the protections on millions of un-roaded federal lands and turn back the clock to a time when people were making their own roads with wood wagon wheels across unsettled land. Just so you understand, that era close officially in 1976 with, the "federal land policy and management act," or FLMPA.
Anyhow, it made sense for me fly since I've been doing a lot of it lately documenting the development of the industrial oil complex on the Blackfeet Reservation on Glacier National Parks east side. But back to the subject. Both bills are horrible and if passed could mean serious impacts to our wildlife, land, and our own public health. H.B. 1505 (how ironic that the framers chose to call it the, "federal lands protection act." I'm guessing that means, "federal lands" and "protection act" put together into one title - it certainly is misleading if you just read the title).
|Oil drilling on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Glacier National Park, Rising Wolf Mountain in the back ground. All images are protected by copyright, unauthorized use is prohibited. Please contact Tony Bynum for licensing. ©tonybynum|
1505 would allow U.S. Border Patrol to operate in any fashion it wants within Glacier National Park, including building roads and forward operating stations without any consultation with anyone, heck, they would not even have to pick up the phone and call the national park service. When glacier was named the crown of the continent I'm sure no one intended that to mean managed by the big "C" Crown!
After the flights I had some time to answer a few more questions and give my opinion about what these bills mean to me. Here's the CBS news broadcast that aired wednesday night on CBS in Montana.
It is hard for me to imagine, in this time of our country's history, there are people who are praying upon our weakness in order to push their land grab agenda. Along with 1505 there's 1581, again another bill that would open lands that have been manage for their wilderness characteristics for 20 years. If passed it would open millions of acres to roading and ultimately destruction.
People, if there is one thing only that you take away from this, hear me when I remind you that there is NOT more wild space. We should expect more people, but there are NO more wild places, unless of course your definition of wild places includes bourbon street in New Orleans. Once you wreck a place there's no going back. It is far better to protect and manage wisely than it is to destroy it and rebuild it later.
Stripping all regulations from federal public lands within 100 miles of the Canada, in order to protect us from terrorism, is like grabbing the shotgun and a box of number 7's when you hear a fly buzzing around your head. The sponsors are telling us that the federal government does not have enough authorization to control federal lands, and that it is just trying to level the playing field with the authority homeland security now has over state and even private land. Jed Link, a spokesman for Congressman Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., said the border protection legislation, which Rehberg supports, is limited in scope.
"It gives the Border Patrol the same access to the border on federal lands they currently have on state and private lands," Link said. Huh, what access does the Boarder Patrol already have over my private land - is this really coming from a republican constitutionalists - allow boarder patrol access to my private land - what! I’m confused folks . . . Is Rehberg a conservative, sounds more Meo-inian than conservative to me. . . Mr Rehberg, what happened to less government? Where have your conservative values gone? Or is this the one area where you believe it's okay to be big government?
Did you know that homeland security has the right to search your house if you live near the boarder - huh? Orwellian - who said that?
What we need is a fly swatter, not a shotgun. The people proposing this bill need to calm down and realize that creating a panic now is not the way to manage our Nation. Let’s look at the issues we have and build a sound plan to address them. Throwing up our hands and rolling back over 40 years of environmental protection in order to protect ourselves from our Canadian brothers to the north is just plain silly-talk . . .
Please let your representative know that we are smart people who can find simple solutions and are meant to solve specific problems. We don't need our local federal lands taken over by the border patrol and homeland security. . .
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Hi Tony--your comments are well taken. A mutual friend Morris Uebelacker gave me your link after discussing the passing of another mutual friend.
Barbara and I drive our Toaster on Wheels (07 Prius) to Glacier and do love that country so. Thanks for the commentary--and esp the great images that seem to take us back to some primordial state of being.
Greg Cleveland--your workmate from ancient times----
I didn't see this until today...thank you for explaining the impact of these bills on our public lands.
Good article. Just terrible. We cannot trust anyone. I hope the people of Montana "hollar" loudly.
Thank you for this information. As someone who grew up in Montana I find it very interesting and valuable.
Keep up the good fight.
As someone who grew up in Montana I appreciate this valuable information. Thank you for keeping us informed.
Keep up the good fight.
Thank you for the comments folks. As of this day, nothing has changed, the bills are still alive and the drrillers are still drilling. @rosh, I did not know you were frm Montana, what part?
Tony, it's an excuse by a certain political party. For some, "terrorism" is an opportunity. Good article.
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