comments from JoanePappasWhite:
Commissioner Benally's article is articulate, persuasive and dead right! As an elected official, she must remain civil. I am not limited by such constraints so I can be much more militant, a state of mind that we should all adopt.
Why would any of us believe a single thing the federal government and its tyrannical agencies tell us? Commissioner Benally points out that Native Americans have not fared well on the promises of the federal government. Every one of us would agree that her observation is a massive understatement. Are we doomed to repeat the past because we don't learn from it? A casual review of the current news demonstrates that the Cowboys are not doing any better today than the Native Americans did a century ago! Law abiding ranchers, without so much as a parking ticket on their records, are being executed on TV in cold blood by the FBI to silence their political protests, yet we do nothing to hold their executioners accountable?
It has reached a point in southern Utah where I believe we must assume that every representation being made to us from these federal agencies, at least at a policy level, is a lie, and the minute we try to cooperate in good faith, the real federal agenda comes to the surface. To give you an example, I need only point to the Grand Staircase National Monument. Skipping past the outright lies Clinton made to our Governor and Congressional Delegation, I shall concentrate on hundreds of endurance riders who participated in the Outlaw Trail Endurance ride for more than a dozen years. In order to save the ride, they participated in all the USFS hearings and presented evidence of the significance and value of the ride. The ride was grandfathered so it could remain as an annual activity. The system worked --- NOT! It took less than one year for the agency to implement their plan to defeat the ride -- and any other activity that they chose to regulate out of existence. They created the 10 heartbeat rule! The ride could take place provided that collectively there were no more than 10 heartbeats in the group. The dogs, horses and the people all count. Kiss the ride goodby. The entire process was a lie from its inception. We all knew it with hindsight but how does one get out of these sham agency games?
After the Grand Staircase was forced down our throats, counties like Wayne (97% federal land) found they literally have no control over their own destinies. They have no tax base to provide services or infrastructure but are being overrun by tourists, which is neither cost effective nor beneficial in many instances.
In my 36 years as an attorney in southeastern Utah, I find absolutely no basis to believe that the federal government intends to deal with us in good faith. I recall being shocked as a young attorney to learn that the Feds' Atomic Energy Commission knew they were exposing our uranium miners to almost certain death but told them nothing of the risks, in spite of Dr. Saccomanno's constant memos warning the AEC of the risks. I watched dozens of our clients die from radon exposure during the administrative reviews, which were ridiculously burdensome. An entire generation of Grandfathers was missing from the reservation, yet it took years to get the admission that the Feds had been experimenting on the uranium miners an, in reality, on all of us downwinders in southern Utah.
I remember that ranchers whose sheep were dying from radiation exposure in southwestern Utah were persecuted for suggesting that the deaths were caused by underground testing in Nevada. Every dirty trick the feds could use to discredit those people, was used, even though the men in those agencies knew they were lying to us.
In the 1970s, I remember being told at the original meetings that the wilderness act would only affect roadless places untouched by man! However, when a citizen would try and discuss multiple use of the public lands, the Saul Alinsky propaganda techniques were immediately used to belittle and isolate anyone who dissented to wilderness at the public hearings. The biggest invasion of private property rights in this country has been committed in the name of the abusive triple whammy -- the Endangered Species Act, The Environmental Protection Act and the Antiquities Act. What U.S. citizen would have believed that the BLM could have become the Gestapo overnight with criminal goons like Daniel Love at the helm? The man should have been in federal prison since 2009, yet he was promoted by the BLM, an agency expressly prohibited by federal law from creating its own enforcement goons like Love.
I could go on with endless examples of over-reaching federal agencies; however, it is my hope that these few examples will remind all of you that our good faith and political naivety have been used against us at every turn for almost 40 years. This is a fight for our way of life and it is time to quit playing the federal games, like environmental impact studies and other such meaningless distractions, and start dismantling these executive branch agencies from the top down. Do not voluntarily give up one inch of Bear Ears to any further federal control. You win this game by not playing it. Start your own game with your own rules -- local rules.
Joane Pappas White
Attorney at Law