Invasive Species Support is a Fool’s Errand

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association sponsorship of the recent National Invasive Weeds Awareness Week, the Weed Science Society support for Invasive Species legislation, Senator Craig’s sponsorship of The Noxious Weed Control Act of 2003, and Congressman Hefley’s sponsorship of the Harmful Invasive Species Weed Control Act are monumental blunders for many reasons. When such sensible organizations and such responsible politicians are snookered by this burgeoning scam, a few facts are in order for concerned citizens to make a decision.

First, the legitimate and serious concerns of cattlemen and other neighbors of Federal lands regarding the lack of plant and animal management by Federal land managers can be resolved under current authorities. The Federal budget process gives Congress every bit of necessary authority to earmark both new and base funds to focus on weed control and natural resource management for sensible uses. Only after 8 years of the steady elimination of authorized uses of the Federal lands and the hiring of inept resource managers committed to closing the Federal lands have we come to believe that only “new” laws can turn things around. The authorizing legislation and Organic Acts for National Forests, BLM, and other Federal lands clearly spell out the authorized uses. The fact that organizations such as NCBA and respected Senators like Senator Craig can be convinced to sponsor Invasive Species legislation is grounds for grave concern.

Invasive Species legislation is a “Son of Endangered Species” movie soon to be released in a wide range of such proposed legislation. Whether we call them alien, non-native, non-indigenous, exotic, introduced, or Invasive, what the bureaucrats, academics, environmentalists, and animal rights groups mean is they are not part of “Pre-Colombian Ecosystems.” Federal jurisdiction and authority to restore ever expanding lists of these Pre-Colombian critters and plants, exactly like “saving” Endangered Species, is a Trojan Horse for the above named groups to steadily get certain Courts and government regulation writers to give them authority over an endless list of plants and wildlife in order to control public land, private land, commercial activities, and an endless list of traditional human activities.

These two Acts in concert with similar Acts to assign Federal responsibilities (illegally since that can only be done by Constitutional Amendment or by a ratified Treaty per the Constitution) for everything from zebra mussels to rhododendrons to Federal agencies are part of a concerted effort to subvert the authority of state government over plants and animals, and private property owners over their own property, be it land or animals. The Constitution clearly spells out the Federal role being import, export, interstate commerce, and foreign commerce regulation. The plants and animals (whether native or not) are and should remain under the jurisdiction of state governments. The Founding Fathers didn’t think states were perfect but they knew (based on centuries of Kings and central Parliaments) that they were far more amenable to citizens concerns than remote central governments. Does anyone doubt their wisdom in this regard today?

The future of American Cattlemen is far better protected by the state authorities over plants and wildlife laid out in the Constitution. It is foolish beyond belief, after seeing what the Endangered Species Act has become, to entertain giving the Federal government additional authority to go after plants or animals because they weren’t here when Columbus arrived or while “native to New England” that fact alone slates them for eradication in the Midwest by Federal bureaucrats and their silent “partners.”

Noxious plants, like harmful animals, are best managed, controlled, or eliminated under state authority. The Federal government as extensive landowners (like their “partners” such as the Nature Conservancy and other such large landholding organizations) can and should manage their holdings responsibly before expanding annually as they continue to do. State lands and private lands have to follow state and local requirements, so should Federal land managers (except where the Federal government never relinquished authority—a minority of such holdings like Yellowstone.)

Everyone should support wise management of problem plants and animals by all landowners. We should not let this concern be a means for unscrupulous groups to utilize us to expand the Federal government authority, eliminate state Constitutional jurisdictions, and generate a new Federal role which is unattainable, unimaginably expensive, and yet another step in growing an all powerful central government like the failed systems in Russia and China.