Our San Juan Island County Council just voted 6 to 0 to have Secretary Salazar ask President Obama to include San Juan BLM lands into a Conservation area via Presidential Proclamation. Considering the ramifications that go with this, as well as the far reaching effects to our community and citizens, I am very disturbed that this would all happen without "Due Process." This letter was written behind closed doors and in a very arbitrary and stealthy manner. For example, when Secretary Salazar had a two day notice and visitation in Anacortes regarding including the San Juan Islands and their BLM lands as a National Monument, more people spoke against the proposal for a National Monument than for it. Many citizens pointed out that the meeting should have been held in San Juan County, not Skagit County. It was also interesting that the press release about the Anacortes meeting was written before the event happened and therefore, inaccurately reported.
When were the open public discussions with ample notification? Where are the fact finding reports? What might be the unintended consequences? It is amazingly short sighted that our San Juan County Council would create such a controversy without a public process to vet the concerns, answer the questions of the citizens, and properly and with due diligence research this Federal conservation proposal.
Here are some facts:
* PBS Frontline produced a documentary 27 years ago, "For The Good of All." It follows the creation of a "poster child" of National Parks: Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation area. It is typical of what can happen in a National Monument area, and due to what is still happening in National Monument areas in the United States, the documentary could have been made yesterday. Since nothing has changed in the way government operates these areas, it is inevitable that history will continue to repeat itself.
* While our Council included language in their letter noting that the County wants a say, and protections, there is no obligation of the Federal government to abide by any comments once the paperwork has been drawn up and signed.
I encourage others to write to our County Council and advise them to rescind their letter. They need to engage in a public process since this is a proposal that affects all of us, as well as adjacent counties and their citizens.
I am going to ask all of you to do five things:
1.) If you have sent a letter to the County Council about this issue, please send me a copy.
2.) Please write a letter to our Council (firstname.lastname@example.org) asking them to rescind their letter and start a public process before making a decision about this issue. Please send me a copy of your letter.
3.) Please send a copy of your letter to Secretary Salazar at: email@example.com
4.) Let me know if you would like CAPR SJ to organize a public forum about this issue by bringing in an expert on National Monuments, and individuals who can give testimonials on what it is like to live in areas incorporated into National Monuments.
5.) Share this letter with your neighbors.
Some history and information for your letters might be found in these sources:
* Watch the PBS Frontline Video: For the Good of All at : http://www.landrights.org/VideoForTheGoodOfAll.wmv
* Other shorter videos: In Condemnation, The Cuyahoga Valley: http://www.landrights.org/VideoInCondemnation.htm , and Big Park, a Satire video: http://www.landrights.org/VideoBigPark.htm
* Case Studies (note the Olympic National Park study): http://www.landrights.org/OCS/SocioCultural/index.htm
* The County Council's short video discussion shows that their minds were made up before the meeting, and the letter was already drafted for them to sign.
* This process has been developed and presented in an arbitrary and capricious manner, and without Due Process.
* This process will lead to a loss of control on the final word of what goes on within the Green Designated area that has been outlined on the map.
* The affected area is much broader and wider than the individual BLM lands.
* This land could be protected in other ways that would assure local control.
* The qualifiers in the Council's letter to Secretary Salazar will be meaningless and not have the force of law when the affected areas have been given a National Monument designation.
Frank Penwell, President
CAPR San Juan
I predict future
Americans if they can prevent the government
from wasting the labors of the people under the
pretense of taking care of them.