Grizzly bear photograph


    The state legislature has said NO, the Idaho Association of Counties has said NO, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission has said NO, the Congressional delegation has said NO, the governor has said NO, and finally, the local people have said NO to the controversial plan to reintroduce the grizzly bear to Central Idaho. Yet, in spite of almost complete opposition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is going ahead with the plan. "What part of no doesn't the Secretary of the Interior understand," asks United States Representative Helen Chenoweth of Idaho. "It is my belief that the issue of reintroduction of the grizzly bear is a states rights issue. It is an issue of local control. And as we heard today, the local people do not want the grizzly bear foisted upon them by the federal government." Congressional Press Release

     The congresswoman introduced H.R. 2162 on July 16 which would cut off funding for the project. "She reached the decision after a hearing before her subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health convinced her that THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WAS NOT INTERESTED IN WHAT IDAHO CITIZENS WANT." ibid.

     "The federal government is not interested in what the citizens want", has become the battle cry of many groups across the western states. The landowners and natives are being eliminated from the decision making process. Local control and input is increasingly ignored by the many bureaucracies and agencies that have charge over much of land in the West.


     A confrontation occurred in another location in Idaho over the issue of heavy-handed federal agencies steamrolling the locals. "We're not Waco! We're not Ruby Ridge!" said state Representative Lenore Barrett, (R) Challis. We're the hardworking people of Challis, we have done nothing more than exercise our constitutional rights." Post Register.

     At issue was the shooting of an endangered gray wolf that had been introduced into the area by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The animal was shot beside the body of a dead calf on a ranch owned by Gene Hussey. This triggered the hot button at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which dispatched officers to serve a warrant. But Lemhi County Sheriff Brett Barslou says sending three armed agents to serve a warrant on a 74-year-old man was "inappropriate, heavy-handed and dangerously close to excessive force."

     More than 500 people turned out for a rally in the small towns of Challis and Salmon to support the sheriff and the rancher and to tell the federal government to "back off." These confrontations represent a growing rift between the federal government and local officials, many of whom have concerns about the recent turn toward violent reaction on the part of federal agents to those who are in disagreement with their policies.


     Local resistance to heavy-handed federal agencies has developed into a campaign and is spreading throughout the western United States. Known as the Tenth Amendment, or the States Rights movement, it derives its authority from the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution which states that, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, not prohibited to it by the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people." Backed with the power of the U.S.Constitution, states are challenging the jurisdiction of the federal government.

MONTANA- Ravali County Sheriff Jay Printz has refused to enforce terms of the Brady law which requires law enforcement agencies to perform background checks on gun buyers. The Sheriff says he has neither the "manpower" nor the "time", besides, "we like our guns in Montana."

CALIFORNIA- The state with major illegal immigration problems, and required by the federal government to support them, filed suit to require the United States to assume the entire cost of education, providing medical treatment and imprisoning illegal aliens.

ALASKA- Fed up with restrictions, the state filed a $29 billion suit charging that the United States has locked up 100 million acres of its land, violating the compact by which it became a state.

NEVADA- Nye County Commissioners passed local ordinances which declare that federal lands in their county are by constitutional right the property of Nevada and, by custom and culture, the ward of the local citizen. Nye is one of 300 counties nationwide that has or is considering such ordinances.


     With more than 50 percent of its land under federal management, localities in the western states are increasingly finding their way of life threatened. With the advent of the Endangered Species Act, states must come into line with federal regulations in the attempt to protect a diverse array of creatures, including the much publicized spotted owl, grizzly bear, wolf and snail darter. The ensuing laws, regulation and controls proliferate to the point of destroying local and regional economies and, consequently, destroying the culture and way of life of its people.

     To examine the dilemma more closely, note the following case in point. In June, 1994 a proposal was made to restore native Gila trout to streams in the Gila National Forest in southwestern New Mexico. The federal government proposed poisoning streams to kill an estimated 100,000 white trout in order to reintroduce 100 endangered Gila trout. Many locals suspicion the plan has more to do with control than with fish. By introducing an endangered species into the national forest, federal officials have a much larger degree of control over land use in the area. Once the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restock the streams, they can regulate surrounding lands indefinitely. This could drastically affect historical use of the area for grazing, timber harvest, hunting and fishing.

     This entire movement is being driven by local people who see their mores, their history, their heritage, and their way of life threatened with extinction. They are the local business owner, the rancher, the logger, the miner and those who desire to lead a quiet, self-reliant life; those who value a life independent of the social dictates of an overgrown federal government, a government that seems insistent on pulling them into a future-- a society-- a world order that they do not want.

     The focus of the fight has been on the west, but it reaches beyond the west to encompass the nation and the world. At issue is the usurpation of power and those who understand the agenda of the "power elite" realize that the domination of man begins first with his environment and, finally, his mind.

     It may be considered a vain hope for the individual citizens or the states themselves to attempt a reversal of the onward rush toward the 21st century and the entrenchment of the new world system of government. Critics of the government quote Thomas Jefferson as saying the counties are "little republics" and, as such, are sovereign. But consider the present condition of the world's greatest republic, the United States of America. In it can be seen the fate of the states rights and the county rights movements.

     The current controversy in Idaho over the reintroduction of the grizzly bear can be seen as a microcosm of the emerging world order. Those whose lives are intimately involved with their locality are denied a voice in its destiny.


     In a larger sense, though, the oppressive enactments of a new world order cannot reach the individual who possesses true freedom. He responds to the voice of true Authority. He lives above all oppression and coercion. He understands developments in the world around him and, without resistance to its threats, he advances unhindered in the accomplishment of his purpose.


Written 7/24/97


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