|This chapter from Undue
Influence was edited for the web by the author and is copyright © 1999 and 2000 by
A bewildering array of federal actions is crippling rural
goods-producing economies in the name of protecting nature. An urban-rural prosperity gap
widens because of these actions, which damage county tax bases and vital services such as
roads, schools, and law enforcement. The flow of goods being destroyed includes water
production, farming, ranching, mining, timber, oil and gas, roads, and manufactured
goodsin short, everything physical or material that industrial civilization needs to
thrive. An "iron triangle" of coordinated interests provokes the federal
actions: environmental groups, wealthy foundations, and zealous bureaucrats. Their
campaign of rural cleansing is turning vital resource producers into despised and
THE DOW JONES
INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE BUZZING around in five digits. Employment at
high levels. Gross Domestic Product growing merrily in a troubled world. The Federal
Reserve happy enough to keep interest rates low.
With the new millennium looking that good, how could anyone believe
that the environmental movement is dismantling industrial civilization piece by piece?
Why dont we hear about it? Or see it on television?
The answer is simple.
First, the locus of the problem is literally out of sight, beyond the
gridlock, past the city limits, after the last suburb. Out in the country. In the forests
and grasslands and rivers and mountains. In rural America.
Second, the focus of the problem falls on cultural blind spots.
Its the modern rendition of an age-old conflict, the urban sophisticate versus the
country bumpkin. So ordinary that nobody sees it.
We categorize each other with stereotypes. City slickers. Boorish
hillbillies. The wine and cheese set. Joe Sixpack. Volvos. Gun racks.
Two Americas with divergent customs, rules, and wisdoms, inextricably
wedded in conflicting attitudes, values, and beliefs.
Rural Americans tend to emphasize the basic needs for sustenance and
safety, for a stable economy, fighting crime, strong defense forces; despite their hardy
religious disposition, they are materialists.
Urban Americans tend to emphasize the social and self-actualization
needs for a sense of belonging, more say in government, "ideas count," beautiful
surroundings, and nature; they are post-materialists.
The urban majority has the votes. And the power. And the jobs. And the
money. Urban dominance.
The rural minority has the logging shutdowns. And the mining stoppages.
And the road moratoriums. And the fishing bans. And the ranching suspensions. And the
farming restrictions. Rural cleansing.
While urban areas enjoy an economic boom, rural communities across the
nation are suffering terrible social and economic pain. And the mass of Americans
dont have a clue.
How do you make the invisible visible?
THE VISIBLE DAMAGE
When the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Corporation for Enterprise
Development (CFED) published its 1998 report, The Development Report Card for the
States, it focused on the "urban-rural prosperity gap"the degree to
which rural areas trail urban areas in earnings and employment levels.
While national unemployment rates hover around 5% and urban centers may
have only 2.8%, rural counties commonly suffer more than 10% joblessness, the report
found. All fifty states were ranked using a list of statistics including employment
growth, unemployment rate, average earnings and growth in earnings.
The phrase alone"urban-rural prosperity gap"is
drenched in human drama. Urban mass media can see human drama. Associated Press editors
saw. They assigned reporter Mark Jewell to cover the issue. The Los Angeles Times picked
up one of his stories on the state with the widest urban-rural economic gap: Washington.
The commonplace image Washington State evokes is one of Boeing
airplanes, Starbucks latte-land, Microsofts ultimo-rich chairman Bill Gates,
and Seattles Space Needle with Mount Rainier, sentinel of wildness, hovering over
skyscraper-jammed Puget Sound.
A.P. reporter Jewell looked for "the other Washington" in a
little-known county named Pend Oreille (the locals pronounce it "Ponderay") and
a small town there called Newport.
Separating this northeastern Washington town and Seattle are 300 miles
as diverse as any on Earthstark desert, the majestic Columbia River and the
startling beauty of the Cascade Range.
But that expanse is trifling compared with the economic gap between
this town and the states largest city.
The urban-rural economic gap in Washington state is the largest in the
country, and for most of the states rural counties, the software millionaires and
aerospace engineers of Puget Sound seem worlds away.
Pend Oreille County had 15% unemployment when Jewells story
broke. Seattle had 2.8%. Marginal workers in Seattle groused about their lousy $7 or
$8-an-hour wages. "A $7- to $8-an-hour job is a good job here," said Jim
Jeffers, director of Pend Oreille Countys economic-development council.
The whole four-county northeastern tier of Washington State, butted up
against the Canadian border, is the same. Just west of Pend Oreille County lies Stevens
County (11.3% unemployment), then Ferry County (12.7% unemployment), then Okanogan County
(12.4% unemployment), which runs westward all the way up to the crest of the Cascade
Range, looking down on urban Puget Sound.
- Washington Governor Gary Locke (D-Seattle) was perplexed by the report,
urging the 1998 Legislature to lessen the economic chasm between the urban and rural
sections of his state. Being home to the worst such split in the nation was a dishonor
Locke said was unacceptable.
- His proposed solution was the usual blind-sighted
lets-send-urban-things-to-rural-areas plan, replacing the resource class with a
spectrum of urban gentry, rich retirees, modem gypsies, and welfare families.
Mark Jewell, unlike many journalists, reported the reasons for the gap.
"Theres little mystery in why there is a gulf," he wrote. His take: Boeing
and Microsoft were the high-tech wind beneath Pugets Sounds flourishing wings.
Rural Washington, conversely, was being depressed by "new stricter environmental
regulations." In a nutshell:
The disparity can be traced in part to a slump in natural
resource-based industries like timber and mininglong the lifeblood of the rural West
and now stymied by debate over new priorities that value forests over timber, mountains
Hes telling us the slump was policy-induced. Policy-induced.
Induced by environmentalists. By a debate.
To many of us who dont live in rural America, the idea of a debate
by environmentalists thwarting the big multinational corporations behind timber and
mining seems impossible, even absurd. Industrial fat cats can always finagle their way
around government regulations, cant they?
Likewise, city-dwellers just know that the slump is the fault of
the loggers and miners, not those who value forests over timber, mountains over mines:
loggers have cut down all the trees so there are none left, havent they? And miners
have overmined the mountains until theres only pollution left behind, havent
they? And besides, theyre crude, destructive, uneducated, bigoted social misfits who
deserve to be despised and vilified, arent they?
No sympathy there.
Rural dwellers who routinely see vast forests and untapped mineral
deposits on their three-hour drive to the nearest international airport would chuckle
knowingly at their ignorant city-brethren if they werent suffering so desperately
from the effects of such ignorance.
And rural dwellers who have watched timber companies and mining
companies depart after years of losing to environmentalist protests and legal challenges
know firsthand that the big multinational corporations they used to work formuch
less the little local outfitsare not invincible.
Washington State Representative Bob Sump (R-7th District) mourns that twenty years ago his rural locale, Ferry County, was
self-sustaining. "Today," he says, "due to environmental over-regulation,
it is an economic wasteland."
Just what is the "environmental over-regulation" Rep. Sump is
If you ask around rural Washington Stateor anywhere in rural
America, for that matteryou quickly discover an array of federal laws, government
land ownerships competing against private property, agency actions, presidential
proclamations, administration "initiatives," administrative appeals and a maze
of obscure regulations so bewildering it defies description, much less comprehension.
One single environmentalist lawsuit, the highly publicized Spotted Owl
dispute, shut down a substantial part of the federal timber harvest, resulting in the
closure of 187 mills in Oregon, Washington and California and the loss of 22,654
jobsand concentrated the timber industry in the hands of big companies that owned
their own private timberlands.
Then the big timberland owners felt environmental laws reaching to
their private lands as well. In 1998, giant Louisiana-Pacificbleeding from product
liability lawsuits over defective sidingsold off all its California timberlands when
environmental restrictions made logging them too costly, both in lost revenues and in
public relations damage control.
A few years later the Spotted Owl controversy migrated to the
Southwest. Arizona's forest products industry was decimated in 1996 by a lawsuit brought
by the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity (1997 income: $523,467) that extended a
nine-month ban on commercial logging in eleven Southwestern national forests. The
environmentalist suit claimed the U.S. Forest Service had failed to take the necessary
steps to ensure the survival of Mexican spotted owls. U.S. District Judge Carl Muecke
refused to lift the ban, which continued to close down sawmill after sawmill, leaving a
few tribal enterprises as the remaining goods producers of timber. The trail of
destruction left by Southwest Center for Biological Diversity and allies over the Mexican
spotted owl is like the catastrophe left by the Audubon Society over the Northern spotted
Rural cleansing. Dismantling industrial civilization piece by piece.
Things should be better in the sixteenth state down the urban-rural
prosperity gap: Minnesota. But St. Louis County, Minnesotathe largest county in
Americafeels like its in a war, according to County Commissioner Dennis Fink.
"The economy and the way of life of thousands of St. Louis County families are under
attack," said Fink. "Radical environmentalism threatens to shut down logging on
all federally owned lands."
Minnesota State Senator Sam Solon agrees. "The timber and wood
products industry is a $7 billion segment of our state economy employing more than 61,000
workers," Sen. Solon said. "The U.S. Forest Services decision to place a
moratorium on construction of new logging roads into Minnesotas national forests has
a chilling effect on our states timber and wood products industries.
David Glowaski, Mayor of the little town of Orr, Minnesota, is deeply
troubled over the way things are going in his town.
"For over 100 years the forest industry has been the heart and
soul of our existence," Mayor Glowaski said. "Because urban America is becoming
so economically affluent in comparison to rural America, which is declining economically,
communities like ours cannot combat the powerful special interest organizations on an
equal basis. Their economic power channeled through these environmental organizations in
pursuit of their agendas are becoming more of a threat to our very existence in a life we
love and want to maintain.
"Our childrens fears keep growing. Are we going to have to
leave our homes? Is dad going to lose his job? Why cant we hunt and fish where we
used to? Everyday questions from the children in our community, including my own."
Glowaski and Fink worry about more than timber shutdowns. Government
competition for land is a serious factor.
"Government is aggressively purchasing private lands to be set
aside or removed from production," Commissioner Fink said. "A perfect example
would be the proposed purchase and designation as Prairie Grasslands, of some
77,000 acres in Western Minnesota."
Fink expresses the concerns of many rural residents about the actual
result of all this land disappearing into government hands:
"It seems clear to me that there is the intent to remove our
population from rural areas and resettle them in more populated core areas
with connecting corridors and buffer zones, leaving the vast amount of our land to nature,
with little or no interference by humans," Fink says grimly.
A controversial notion.
"The evidence is in the actions: government agencies buying up
private property at excessively high prices. The taking of private property through
designations and regulation must stop!"
Once digested into the federal domain, private land never comes back.
And the pace of land consumption by the government is accelerating. "In St. Louis
County alone," says Fink, "22,000 acres were purchased in 1997 to be
preserved for our children. Today, 63% of our county is government owned. How much
land needs to be set aside for our children so they cant use it
Rural cleansing. Dismantling industrial civilization piece by piece.
But Fink is asking an important question:
WHO OWNS YOUR FUTURE?
The ownership of private property is considered by many to be the
cornerstone of Americas freedom and success. The Supreme Court of the United States
appears to agree. It held in the case of Lynch v. Household Finance Corporation, decided
March 23, 1972:
[T]he dichotomy between personal liberties and property rights is a
false one. Property does not have rights. People have rights. The right to enjoy property
without unlawful deprivation, no less than the right to speak or the right to travel, is
in truth, a personal right, whether the property in question be a
welfare check, a home, or a savings account. In fact, a fundamental interdependence exists
between the personal right to liberty and the personal right in property. Neither could
have meaning without the other. That rights in property are basic civil rights has long
If that is true, it is fair to ask what will become of the personal
right to liberty if government becomes the nations dominant landowner.
And that leads to the question of how much of Americas
1,940,011,400 acres government already owns.
Heres the score:
Urbanites are usually stunned to learn that the federal government
manages a third32.6 percent in 1992of the entire nation, mostly in rural
areas, "a huge federal domain of ownership that is hard to reconcile with the
reputation this country has as a citadel of reliance on markets and the private
sector," as the Presidents Commission on Privatization reported in 1988.
To get a grip on the breadth of a federal government that runs almost
one out of every three acres in the nation, consider that every one of the fifty states
contains land owned by the federal government, not just the eleven Western states we
usually think of as being federally dominated.
Delaware is 19% federally owned; New Jersey and New Hampshire are both
13.2% federal; Virginia is 11.8% federal; and the feds own more than 7% each of Arkansas,
Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Vermont, West Virginia, and
The Western states, as reputed, really are dominated by federal
Nevada is more than 82% federal land; Alaska is 66%; Utah, 64%; Idaho,
62%; Oregon, 60%; Wyoming, 49%; California nearly 47%; Arizona 44%, and so forth down to
Washington, at 26.8% the least federally owned Western state besides Hawaii
(16.7%), which has other particulars that make comparisons problematic.
Then you have to figure out which federal agency owns how much. Some
round numbers are useful for comparison.
l The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) manages about 192 million acres;
l the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages
about 270 million acres;
l the National Park Service (NPS) manages about
80.7 million acres;
l and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
manages about 91 million acres.
Thats just the "biggies" in federal lands. It
doesnt count the land owned by the Department of Defense and other federal agencies.
You can see this summary for yourself on the Park Service website at http://www.nps.gov/legacy/acreage.html.
The BLMs website says it manages 264 million acres, not 270: close enough for
Do the arithmetic and you get 632,700,000 acres, 32.6 percent, or, in
round numbers, one-third of America.
On the other hand, the 1992 National Resource Inventory, carried out by
the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
said there were 407,988,700 acres of federal land in 1992, 21 percent, a little over a
fifth of America.
Only the federal government could lose track of 224,711,300 acres of
land. What became of the difference?
Two things: some land was wrapped in weasel-words, and other land was
obfuscated by accounting methods.
Weasel words: Notice that the statements above say the federal agency
"manages" so-and-so many acres. It doesnt say they own it. Manages.
Like that 80.7 million acres managed by the National Park Service: more
than 2.8 million acres of it is private property. Says so on their own website.
Accounting methods: The National Resources Conservation Service
doesnt count lands managed by federal agencies unless they have deed and title. And
the NCRS also didnt count the Tennessee Valley Authority lands or a lot of other
So we have a fifth of the nation in actual federal ownership, but a
third of it under federal management.
Very clever, these bureaucrats.
Theres a lot of non-federal land out there behaving as if it were
federal land. Who really owns it then?
You can argue about that in a court of law, but the federal government
has two advantages over you: it never dies and it prints the money.
So much for federal land, theirs and yours.
But that doesnt count the land owned by state and local
How much is there?
The truth is, we dont know.
The 1992 National Resource Inventory covered some 800,000 sample sites
representing the nations non-federal land, theoretically including all non-federal
government land, with what NCRS claims to be 95 percent reliability. Okay, 800,000 is
a lot of sample sites.
Its inventory used a "state and local ownership" category
that included land owned by states, counties or parishes, and municipalities. It came up
with 6 percent of Americas 1.9 billion acres owned by state and local governments.
However, thats not very convincing when you consider all the
actual governments enumerated in the 1992 Census of Governments, which identified 85,006
government units that existed in the United States as of January 1992.
Yes, there are 85,006 governments in the United States.
In addition to the federal government and the 50 state governments,
there are 84,955 units of local government. Of these, 38,978 are general-purpose local
governments3,043 county governments, and 35,935 subcounty general-purpose
governments (including 19,279 municipal governments and 16,656 town or township
governments). The remainder, more than half the total number, are special-purpose local
governments, including 14,422 school district governments and 31,555 special district
governments such as port authorities, local improvement districts, conservation districts,
and so on.
Theres no indication that the NCRS counted the land owned by
those 45,977 special-purpose local governments.
It did count certain Native American tribal lands as government lands,
including "individual trust lands and land that is administered but not owned by the
Bureau of Indian Affairs." That showed 2 percent of America owned by tribal
Thats a lot of competition against private property for land,
the basic resource from which most fundamental production arises.
In actual fact, nobody, not the U.S. Census Bureau, not the National
Conservation Resources Service, not the federal agencies, has a clue how much of America
all these combined governments really own. Or control.
It could well be more than half.
And its growing steadily.
What this may portend for the personal right to liberty remains to be
Where is the pressure coming from to eliminate the resource class and
diminish private property ownership?
Is it all from little local groups like the ones in rural Washington?
Jim Hall said, "Tim Coleman came to visit me shortly after I was
elected County Commissioner. He brought two friends. They were from the W. Alton Jones
Foundation. They tried to convince me to back down on the platform I had run on, which was
in favor of natural resource industry jobs in Ferry County. It took me awhile to realize
that the W. Alton Jones Foundation was located in Virginia and had been giving a lot of
money to environmental groups all over Washington. What were these out-of-state foundation
men doing with a local environmentalist on their leash? What were they doing here at
The W. Alton Jones Foundation was established in 1944 by
"Pete" Jones, who had a distinguished career in the oil industry (the CITGO Oil
fortune). He had no interest in environmentalism. His wife and daughter and grandchildren
did. They outlived him and got his money. The foundations mission, according its
current literature, is "to protect the Earths life-support systems from
environmental harm and to eliminate the possibility of nuclear war." Thats the
new version. Well see the original in the next chapter.
Financial data for fiscal year ended December 31, 1997: Assets:
$370,538,404. Income (from a managed investment portfolio): $52,450,156. Total grants
authorized: $26,983,718. Total grants disbursed: $25,261,551. 1998 grants budgeted:
The W. Alton Jones Foundation makes grants in two areas: environmental
protection through its Sustainable World Program, and nuclear warfare prevention through
its Secure World Program.
But the way it makes grants is of particular interest.
Consider this advice to grant-seekers in its brochure:
The foundation works principally through foundation-defined initiatives
addressing its priority issues. These initiatives usually take the form of coordinated
grants to multiple institutions, each of which focuses on one or more components of an
overall campaign defined by the foundations mission. Proposals for participation in
these initiatives are invited by the foundation.
Note several key items:
Foundation-defined initiatives. In other words, a few foundation
executives and staff members write the social engineering plan.
Coordinated grants. In other words, the social engineers
orchestrate numerous agreeable groups to put the foundations plan in action.
Invited by the foundation. In other words, dont call us,
well call you if we think youre worthy enough to do our bidding.
The W. Alton Jones Foundation is not responsive.
It is prescriptive.
It writes the social engineering prescription.
Okay, who gets invited to take W. Alton Jones Foundation money? Lots of
people, evidently. Heres a sample from the $2,511,855 that Jones orchestrated for
grassroots projects in 1997, not counting the $11,582,550 they spent on their main
environmental initiative, the Sustainable World Program:
Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project
May 1997 - $18,000. A Project of the League of Wilderness Defenders. Fossil, OR. For
public education and forest monitoring efforts in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon.
Coast Range Association Nov 1997 - $52,000 over 2
years. Newport, OR. To organize grassroots watershed groups in Oregon and educate the
public about forest watershed protection.
Columbia River Bioregional Education Project May 1997
- $10,000. Oroville, WA. To monitor Forest Service timber sales and promote environmental
education in the Okanogan Valley of eastern Washington.
Environmental Protection Information Center Nov 1997 - $40,000.
Garberville, CA. To protect the privately held Headwaters redwood forest in northern
Headwaters Nov. 1997 - $80,000 over 2 years. Ashland, OR. To
promote the economic and social benefits of environmental protection and build a stronger
base for forest conservation in southwestern Oregon.
Kettle Range Conservation Group May 1997 - $15,000. Republic,
WA. To protect ancient forests and conduct forest watch activities in the Columbia River
highlands of northwest Washington state.
Klamath Forest Alliance Nov 1997 - $80,000 over 2 years. Etna,
CA. To build a community-based constituency for forest protection, and to influence Forest
Service management in northern California and southwestern Oregon.
It takes a certain talent to read these grants.
Theyre written in foundationese, a language of genteel euphemisms and
For example, that first grant of $18,000 "For public education and
forest monitoring efforts in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon."
What does that mean?
The $18,000 went to the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project, a little
group based in Fossil, Oregon, and run by a dreadlock-coifed man named Michael
Christensen, who uses the alias Asanté Riverwind.
W. Alton Jones Foundation gave Mr. Riverwinds group $11,410 in
1994, $13,140 in 1995, $18,000 in 1996, and another $18,000 in 1997.
While being supported by W. Alton Jones Foundation grants, Mr.
Riverwind had a federal conviction for blocking Forest Service Road 4555 on the Malheur
National Forest on March 21, 1996 with an overturned pickup truck and logs, cutting off
access to the Reed Fire Salvage Timber Sale, where units were actively being logged.
Perhaps that is what foundationese means by "forest monitoring."
After federal law enforcement officer Gale Wall served Riverwind with
at least five Notices of Violation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Sheldal filed an
Information (prosecutors indictment) against Riverwind, who entered a guilty plea to
one count of blocking a federal government road by leaving a wrecked vehicle and erecting
barriers, a misdemeanor. On May 8, 1997, Federal Judge Ancer Hagerty of the United States
District Court in Portland, Oregon, ordered Riverwind to pay a $300 fine, $252.52
restitution and a $25 fee assessment, and placed him on probation until restitution was
paid. Riverwind paid the next day. Case No. 9757.
Law enforcement documents show the cost of cleaning up Mr.
Riverwinds mess was $15,886.60. Minus Riverwinds payment of a total of
$577.52, that leaves the taxpayer $15,309.08 short.
Why didnt the W. Alton Jones Foundation step up to the cashier
with its deep pockets and pay for their grantees mischief? Its not clear. If
we can believe their brochures, Mr. Riverwind had been invited to take their money and use
it for "foundation-defined initiatives." Well, whose work product was the
And another thing: The W. Alton Jones Foundation grant to Tim
Colemans Kettle Range Conservation Group"To protect ancient forests and
conduct forest watch activities in the Columbia River highlands of northwest Washington
state"doesnt mention sending two foundation men from headquarters in
Virginia to intimidate Ferry County commissioner Jim Hall out of keeping his campaign
promises to support natural resource production. You just have to know what
"protecting ancient forests" means in foundationese.
Artful grant descriptions aside, its fairly clear from these
sample grants that W. Alton Jones Foundation doesnt want anybody logging or mining
much of anywherecertainly not in rural Washington state.
But how can Tim Colemans little group do such economic damage?
Even with a big foundations money behind it?
It cant. Not alone, anyway.
Remember, other groups filed appeals on the Okanogan and Colville
National Forests, too. And they had wealthy foundations pulling their strings, too. In a
highly organized and coordinated fashion.
Its interesting to see the pattern of funding behind all these
(Republic, Washington); EIN
943175114; Income: $81,635 Assets: $49,507 Last filed: Feb 1997 Exempt since July
Kettle Range Conservation Group
1997 $10,000 Bullitt Foundation.
1996 $15,000 Brainerd Foundation. To protect the roadless areas and
ancient forests of the Okanogan, Kettle and Columbia Highlands regions of north-central
Washington and south-central British Columbia, and to support development and
dissemination of restoration guidelines for recovery of bull trout.
1996 $1,500 Brainerd Foundation. Hardware and Technical Assistance
1996 $18,000 W. Alton Jones Foundation, Inc. To protect forests and
conduct forest watch activities in Colville and Okanogan National Forests.
1996 $11,500 Bullitt Foundation. To oversee management activities on
private, state and federal lands in north central and eastern Washington and south central
1995 $18,450 W. Alton Jones Foundation, Inc. To protect ancient forest
and conduct forest watch activities in Colville and Okanogan National Forests.
1994 $18,450 W. Alton Jones Foundation, Inc. To monitor forestry
practices in the Colville and Okanogan National Forests.
Okanogan Highlands Alliance; EIN 911571661 Income: $50,783 Assets:
$32,461; Last filed: Feb 1996; Exempt since Jan 1993.
1997 $15,000 Brainerd Foundation. To support continued efforts to
challenge the permitting of an open-pit, cyanide-leach gold mine, and to empower its rural
community and the state to hold the green line against a large, multinational mining
1996 $10,000 Brainerd Foundation. For a public education and outreach
effort concerning a proposed cyanide leach open-pit gold mine on Buckhorn Mountain.
1996 $30,000 Bullitt Foundation. To challenge Battle Mountain Gold
Companys proposal for open-pit, cyanide-leach gold mine in Okanogan Highlands
1994 $35,000 Bullitt Foundation. To challenge proposed development of
first large, open-pit cyanide-leach gold mine in Washington.
Some interesting patterns appear in the grants that
these appeal-writers get. You no doubt noticed that certain names show up more than once.
And theyre only connected to grants that sound wonderful in foundationese, but have
no effect other than rural cleansing, eradication of timber and mining and ranching and
other natural resource industries.
Names like W. Alton Jones Foundation, Bullitt Foundation, Turner
Foundation. Year after year. Almost like they were deliberately trying to destroy rural
goods producing economies.
Its worth a quick look at one of them: the Bullitt Foundation,
based in Seattle, Washington. It was established in 1952 by Dorothy S. Bullitt,
real-estate mogul, member of so many boards that her resume reads like a Seattle history
text, and founder of King Broadcasting Company, the local NBC affiliate. When Bullitt died
in 1989, her two daughters, Harriet Stimson Bullitt and Priscilla ("Patsy")
Bullitt Collins, privileged children of a Northwest legend, took over the foundation with
other family members and turned it to a single-minded purpose:
The foundation has one primary goal: to protect and restore the natural
physical environment of the Pacific Northwest. The foundation prefers to fund projects
that leverage resources, show possibilities for multiplier effects, address priority needs
where government fails, and show discernible impact.
These people who never had to work for their money now have assets in excess of
$103,000,000 and income of $9,772,795 (from investments) of which they gave away
$5,064,200 in 1998.
Thats a lot of people wanting to end natural resource extraction
in rural America. But that long list explains a good deal of how little outfits like the
Kettle Range Conservation Group can have a devastating effect on rural economies. They
have friends. Coordinated, orchestrated friends.
Harriet Bullitt and Patsy Bullitt Collins, orchestrators, are classic
patricians, worlds best directors of everybody elses lives, intolerant of
opposing views, determined to retire the resource class.
Patsy tells the story about going as a child during the 1930s to a bee
farm in Woodinville, a tiny town near Seattle: "I used to go sit in the woods with a
friend and try to go to Nirvana," Patsy says. "Wed close our eyes and say,
Ommm. At our 50th reunion, we both remembered that and I asked her, Did
we really get there, to Nirvana? And she said, Yes, its just that we
never came back. Now I go to Woodinville and I get lost. Its a suburb.
Wheres the little bee farm? This is very silly and romantic, I suppose, but it is a
part of our life. When you see something and then its gone, you say, Does it
all have to go?"
Harriet is just as determined as she looks out from her houseboat on
Seattles Lake Union (Sleepless In Seattle was filmed nearby). She can see
across the water to where her grandfathers timber company clearcut a forest to build
the Ballard section of town. Her money came from cutting trees before it came from
"We grew up around big cedars and clear water," she says.
"When it begins to change its like a disaster happening to your family."
Harriet is infuriated at the idea of anybody else cutting trees.
Thats the Bullitt sisters. Their philanthropy is pure revenge.
Rural cleansing. Destroy rural America to save it.
Even the Seattle Times, itself owned by Seattle nobility (the Blethen
family), had to commentpolitely, of courseabout how batty, dogmatic and even
rabid the Bullitt sisters could be in their environmental crusade:
They were raised in the sheltered atmosphere of the old Seattle
aristocracy, and its no surprise that their view of the environment is romantic and
simplistic. Even they admit it. Eccentric hobbies aside, theyve been so elusive
publicly that what does come as a surprise is that beneath the well-bred dignity and
naivete, theyre strong-willed and focused, perhaps even calculating, when it comes
to their cause.
CIRCLING THE WAGONS
Rural families all over the Pacific Northwest say "Amen!" to
Traditionally, rural America has fought back with little citizen groups
that pop up everywhere a new restriction is proposed. In the early 1990s, in the tiny town
of Chesaw, Washington, a group called the Common Sense Resource League formed to counter
out-of-town protests against Battle Mountain Gold Companys proposed new Crown Jewel
gold mine nearby.
"This country was founded on mining and logging back 100 years ago
when my grandfather homesteaded this land," said Bob Hirst, then-president of the
League. Hirst, now in his early 70s, was elected an Okanogan County commissioner in 1998.
The conflict in Chesaw pitted loggers, ranchers and farmers, whose
families settled the region, against big-city activists who allied themselves with a
handful of back-to-the-land families that moved to Chesaw more than 20 years ago, but are
still considered newcomers.
A local environmental group called the Okanogan Highlands Alliance (see
chart, page 13) has conducted a campaign against the mine for years. The groups
leader, David Kliegman, has in-depth contacts with big money: the Bullitt Foundation gave
the group $25,000 in 1998 with the blunt comment, "The grant supports the
organizations efforts to halt Battle Mountain Golds proposed mine and prevent
a precedent for chemical-leach mining in Washington State."
You can almost see Patsy crying over the bee farm.
When the Forest Service approved the Crown Jewel mine, Kliegman used
the computer network of the environmental movementfunded in part by Seattle-based
desktop-publishing millionaire Paul Brainerd (he created PageMaker)to generate
Brainerd is another story. Well unfold that in the next chapter.
The conflict followed a well-worn pattern: environmentalists striving
to generate a level of anxiety sufficient to kill the mine and demean Houston-based Battle
Mountain; supporters touting the mines safety features and economic benefits and
bragging up Battle Mountains excellent operating plan.
Ground has yet to be broken for the Crown Jewel mine.
Rural cleansing. Dismantling industrial civilization piece by piece.
With these rich rural cleansing foundations behind the scenes all over
the country to block forestry and mining and farming and ranching, youd be inclined
to think they get together and strategize it.
Its called the Environmental Grantmakers Association. EGA is an
informal unincorporated association of some 200 foundations and donor programs. It is the
power elite of environmentalism. Many of the environmental movements programs are
designed by EGA member foundations, not by the organizations we commonly think of as
environmental groups. Collectively, EGA members give over half a billion dollars each year
to environmental groups.
Thats a good start on total enviromania.
Lets see a little of how they do it.
Maine sits squarely in the middle of the nations urban-rural
prosperity gap list, tied for 25th place with Michigan. Maine has very little federal
land, and therefore its rural areas should have very little problem with grant-driven
environmentalists and the prescriptive foundations behind them, right?
A consortium of thirty-five environmental groups is trying to
nationalize and de-develop huge chunks of Maineand New Hampshire and Vermont and
upstate New Yorkso there will be 26 million acres of federal land there.
Preposterous? Not a bit.
The Northern Forest Alliance is the name of the consortium, and their
stated goal is: "To achieve a sustainable future for the 26-million-acre Northern
Forest, in which its Wildlands are permanently protected, its forests are sustainably
managed, and its local economies and communities are strong and vibrant."
If that sounds a lot like foundationese, read on.
A little background helps.
The idea for the Northern Forest Alliance came from a 1982 National
Park Service report. It proposed the federalization of twenty-seven huge
"landscapes" in "The Northern Forest." The Park Service gave its
"landscapes" such names as the "Catskills" in New York, the
"Northeast Kingdom" in New Hampshire and Vermont, the "North Woods"
and the "Washington County Coast" in Maine. They wanted to do a big federal
That was in the Reagan years, and the Park Service realized they would
not get money to plan a massive expansion of the same federal domain that the Reagan
administration was busy trying to sell off. So they turned their project over to the
National Parks and Conservation Association (NPCA), a private environmental group that was
created in 1919 by Stephen Mather, the first Park Service director. Mathers purpose
for the organization was to do things for the Park Service it could not do for itself,
like create plans for a massive expansion of the federal domain.
In 1988 the NPCA completed its work, unveiling the grand plan for
wholesale federalization of the Northern Forest as well as other areas of the country. The
plan urged "mega-conservation reserves in the northeast" and proposed eight huge
new national parks in the Northern Forest.
Realizing that locals would not likely welcome a federal takeover, the
NPCA called New England the "conservation challenge of the 1990s."
Environmental groups then used the NPCA plan as a map as they lobbied for a government
study. In late 1988 they convinced Congress to authorize a Northern Forest Land Study to
be conducted by a Northern Forest Lands Council, largely staffed by Forest Service
bureaucrats. Congress also authorized the Forest Legacy Program, which made the affected
states eligible for federal acquisition monies to purchase conservation easements, which
are agreements not to develop your property.
The Council and the study and the Legacy Program generated explosive
controversy. Ask Erich Veyhl of Concord, Massachusetts, who organized homeowners on the
Maine coast. Or ask Bob Voight of Lubec, Maine, who co-founded Maine Conservation Rights
Institute. Theyve both been fighting to keep private lands in private hands since
these land-taking proposals first surfaced. They had plenty to fight.
In 1990, Michael Kellett, the Wilderness Societys New England
director, told a Tufts University audience about the 26-million acre Northern Forest,
"I think its likely this will all end up, most of this will end up being public
land, not by taking away, but that will probably be really the only alternative."
Then, Brock Evans, a vice president of the National Audubon Society,
told the Tufts audience, "For a century, I think its safe to say, timber
companies up there have owned all 26 million acres. Once it was all public domain, then it
went to the private domain where its been for a very long time. I dont agree
that we cant get it all back. You have lots of strong urban centers where support
comes from. We should get all of it. Be unreasonable. You can do it."
Save rural America from the people who live there.
To the public, its not at all apparent what role foundations had
in making the Northern Forest Alliance happen. On the face of it, the Alliance seems like
a spontaneous, if remarkably unusual, gathering of organizations with sometimes competing
goals and always competing needs for funding.
If you had been a fly on the wall at the Environmental Grantmakers
Association annual retreat in October 1992, you would have heard a foundation man named
Chuck Clusen explain the Northern Forest Alliance to other foundation leaders, beginning
with his personal background, which is also useful for our own understanding:
"Well, during the 1970s and 80s," said Clusen, "I
was involved as an advocate in a great number of forest issues in large part dealing with
wilderness. I started at the Sierra Club where I was for eight years. Then I was Vice
President for Programs at the Wilderness Society for eight years. I also was greatly
involved in the Alaska lands. I led the Alaska Lands Coalition during the lands fight in
the late 70s and 1980s. And in the late 80s I spent a period of time in the
Adirondacks. I was the Executive Director of the Adirondack Council. So my background is
advocacy, its public lands, its land use regulations and so forth. Now for
three years Ive been with the American Conservation Association, which is a
foundation. Its Laurance Rockefellers foundation. He has specialized over the
many years in sort of land use kinds of issues.
"In any case, the environmental community across these four
states, which really did not have a history of collaboration, has come together in a very
large coalition called the Northern Forest Alliance, and now  has I think 28
organizations. It has the major national groups as well as all the principal state groups
in these four states.
"And Ive been working with them over the last year and a
half. One, on their development of political strategies and so on. But also to facilitate
their development of a campaign plan very similar to the Alaska situation as to a campaign
that will probably go on for at least a decade."
Cold, calculated, relentless green greed.
And theyre pulling it off.
On March 3, 1999, the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF, 1997
income, $1,870,237, assets $16,881,228) announced that the wealthy industrialists of the
Pingree Family would sell them the development rights to 754,673 acres of northern Maine
forestlandapproximately 80 percent of their land-for $28 million.
The conservation easement "prohibits all structural development
and promotes sustainable forest management." It is not clear if "sustainable
forest management" includes timber harvest at commercial levels.
It was the largest forestry restriction project of its kind ever
attempted, an area twenty percent larger than the state of Rhode Island.
Join the American Farm Bureau in thinking about conservation easements
for a second: You retain title to the land, but you have sold important rights to use it.
You obtain a tax write off immediately and lower taxes thereafter. In the near term, the
cash and the tax benefits are good for the land owner. But what happens if you or your
heirs cannot afford those lower taxes any more? Or when the time comes to sell your land?
Who would buy land that has a hampered use or income stream? The government, of course.
In December of 1998, the Conservation Fund purchased over 300,000 acres
from Champion International in New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York and pursued state,
federal and private funding to close the deal.
A few weeks later, the Nature Conservancy announced the purchase of
185,000 acres along Maines St. John River from International Paper, adjacent to the
Pingree lands. A high Nature Conservancy official, Daniel R. Efroymson, is also
vice-president of the Moriah Fund.
The Champion and International Paper lands are outright purchases, one
already looking for government owners.
Rural cleansing. Dismantling industrial civilization piece by piece.
While its true that the power and pressure of grant-driven
environmental groups and prescriptive private foundations can begin the dismantling of
industrial civilization in rural America, it takes the force of government to finish the
The Northern Forest project, for example, would be impossible without
the help of activist federal employees: High-ranking administration appointees who made
sure the right people got on staff, Forest Service personnel who staffed the Northern
Forest Lands Council, Park Service personnel who contributed to the Northern Forests Lands
Study, lower-level technical employees who gave special access to their environmental
soul-mates and none to natural resource workers and property rights defenders.
Then there are the government grants.
What? Government gives money to private environmental groups?
Yes, by the billions.
For example, several members of the Northern Forest Alliance received
grants from the Environmental Protection Agency: Appalachian Mountain Club, $5,000;
National Wildlife Federation, $306,237; Natural Resources Defense Council, $749,301; Trout
Unlimited, $24,000; Trust for Public Land, $30,000; World Wildlife Fund, $1,220,540.
Government officials feeding their pigs.
GOOD NIGHT, COWBOYS
Nevada is practically the bottomNumber 48of the urban-rural
prosperity gap chart, so you wouldnt expect its rural hinterlands to be suffering
much, certainly not as much as Maine (#25), New Hampshire (#29), and Vermont (#41).
Because most of those arid hinterlands are inhabited by self-employed
ranchers and farmers who pay their few hired hands decent wages, theres not much
unemployment to measure alongside the jobless of Las Vegas and Reno.
The Monitor Valley of central Nevada is a forbidding Great Basin desert
to tourists but a lush mountain-held Eden to the folks who live there. And those ranchers
and farmers out by Fallon and Tonopah are being hit hard by environmentalists just the
same as elsewhere.
Only in this case the environmentalists work for the Forest Service and
the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation.
And theyre using every regulation and every technicality they can
devise to get rid of those ranchers and farmers.
George Benesch used to be a resource economist for the U.S. Forest
Services Toiyabe National Forest, which covers a good bit of central Nevada. Benesch
is now an attorney specializing in water and grazing issues and represents beleaguered
ranchers and farmers.
He charges that the Forest Service is regularly deploying legal and
administrative attacks for the purpose of getting privately owned resources away from U.S.
citizens without paying them fair market prices.
Few ranchers and farmers in Nevada have the financial resources to
defend themselves from unlawful or arbitrary actions by the Forest Service or the Bureau
of Land Management, says Benesch. Most are busy simply scrambling to make a living.
"And thats what makes it real tough, because its all
you can do to keep your fences repaired, and maybe to get a couple of new fields
re-seeded, and cut your hay, and irrigate the stuff."
"I can name twenty ranchers that have gone broke," says
"The feds just shake the tree," is the way he puts it. "If you do it long
enough, pretty soon everything falls off."
Rural cleansing. Dismantling industrial civilization piece by piece.
The environmentalist shock treatment has hit none harder than the oil
and gas exploration community. These are the wildcat oilmen of American legend who still
walk every basin, examine and re-examine every geological formation, and take every risk
to bring in that big one.
George M. Yates is a third generation New Mexico oilman. His
grandfather was a pioneer oilman who brought in the first productive oil well in
Southeastern New Mexico back in 1924. His father got into the oil business after he
graduated from college as a geologist in the 1930s. Yates has been in the oil business
Yates currently serves as chairman of the Independent Petroleum
Association of America, and is a former director of the Denver-based Mountain States Legal
"Let me tell you a story," said George Yates.
"In 1997, after exploring several years, I found an oil and gas
prospect in a New Mexico basin that had never produced. That was a tremendous achievement
that very few explorationists see.
"I had federal leases on a fairly large acreage in an approved
Bureau of Land Management oil and gas unit. The location looked great. I had seismic. I
had a structure there with enough potential to talk a couple of partners into joining with
me and drilling a well.
"My leases were time-limited, and we ran into an unavoidable
delay. Getting an extension from the BLM under such circumstances is usually no problem.
But the BLM refused to grant my extension.
"It was denied, BLM said, because an unidentified environmental
group had claimed that my drilling site was in the habitat of an endangered species.
"So, before my lease ran out, we moved in a rig and drilled and
made a discovery. We discovered gas seventy miles from existing production. A new field.
The chances of that were probably one in a hundred.
"Now we needed to lease more land in the basin to claim the entire
discovery. But BLM refused to do any leasing pending a review of the area.
"That discovery still sits in the ground. The stoppage was
instigated by an environmental group that has not come out of the shadows. There has never
been a public hearing.
"Oil and gas exploration in the United States is going the way of
mining, and outside of Nevada, there hasnt been a new mine approved in America in
something like ten years."
Rural cleansing. Dismantling industrial civilization piece by piece.
MOTOR TRAIL BLUES
Environmental groups often say their pressure on the resource class is
for the benefit of recreationfor Americans outdoors.
That misrepresents the real agenda, says Clark Collins, executive
director of the Pocatello, Idaho-based Blue Ribbon Coalition, a grassroots umbrella group
supporting motorized recreation, including snowmobiling, trail biking, off-road trekking
and many non-motorized recreations such as horse packing and mountain bicycling. More than
300 recreation groups make up the coalition.48
Collins, an Idaho native, came to his present position the hard way: he
found his own favorite outdoor recreation, trail biking, thrown out of one area after
another by environmentalists.
"That did it," Collins said. "I got a bunch of my
friends and fellow recreationists together and we systematically removed those
endorsements. Except for the governor. When I finally got a chance to meet with Governor
John Evans, he told me, You people are politically insignificant. That hit me
right between the eyes.
"Looking back on it, he was probably just explaining political
realties to me, but I vowed I was going to change that reality. So I started the Idaho
Public Land Users Association, which soon went national and became the Blue Ribbon
"Weve become politically significant now because were
organized. We got Congress to pass a Recreational Trails Act that protected motorized
recreation from environmentalist shutouts.
"But its been an uphill battle. The federal agencies have
become so riddled with green advocacy group members that were having trouble
protecting our rights."
In 1995, Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY), investigated what he called illegal
lobbying by the Bureau of Land Management, whose employees spoke against a congressional
rangeland reform plan and for Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitts own reform measures.
Babbitt himself, while president of the League of Conservation Voters,
revealed his mission for environmental issues, "We must identify our enemies and
drive them into oblivion."
With grant-driven environmental groups carrying the message.
And prescriptive foundations writing the message.
Rural cleansing. Dismantling industrial civilization piece by piece.
The societal consequences of the iron triangles success have yet
to be measured. One impact, however, is getting some academic scrutiny: the vilification
and moral exclusion of the resource class.
Rural goods producers, primarily loggers and miners, have been
subjected to a campaign of vilification and moral exclusion similar to racism. Messages in
the media, academia and official government reports make them perceive that their way of
life is under attack by environmentalists in particular and the urban majority in general.
Environmentalists file appeals or lawsuits that have sudden devastating effects on
goods-producers. Government and media messages tell goods-producers they are
"obsolete" as if goods were no longer necessary. Goods-producers live in a
climate of occupational prejudice not unlike race prejudice.
We have run into what University of Washington Professor Robert Lee
calls "the hidden dangers of moral persuasion, a kind of mind control the federal
government is now practicing in an effort to change public attitudes about resource
management and management of federal forests in the Pacific Northwest."
Dr. Lee came to this conclusion when he was invited to work with
scientists in the administrations Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team
(FEMAT) after the 1993 Timber Summit (see pp. 228-229). He found them to be making
policy, not gathering information so that others could decide on proper policy. He
objected. They told him to shut up and get with the program. No diversity of views
allowed. Especially not views that respected the dignity of loggers, miners and ranchers.
He quit. And wrote a book about the ominous attitudes he saw.
"Using guilt, shame and ridicule to control people, and to reshape
their values, holds terrifying political ramifications," Dr. Lee said. "FEMAT is
a classic example of moral persuasion, using the same social control techniques used in
China and North Korea. At times, these techniques have also been used by our own
government and some U.S. companies. I dont want my mind rearranged by others."
So he wrote Broken Trust, Broken Land Freeing Ourselves From
the War over the Environment. In it he exposed the governments refusal to
acknowledge the cultural upheaval it was causing.
Bob Lee was ostracized for his pains, a story predictable to most
academicians. He is a fearless pioneer in stripping away the moral high ground from
beneath those who practice moral exclusion.
But the exclusion and vilification goes on.
Richard Larson, associate editor of the Seattle Times, found himself
attacked by environmentalists and fellow editors when he wrote a column about some of
those inconvenient truths, particularly that the environmental movement had already
stopped logging in all but a tiny remnant of federal lands where commercial timber harvest
and replanting was still permitted. Larson was forced to shut up.
Urban readers accepted negative portrayals without thought or
They did not know or care that vast commercial forests remain and have
long been designated as Americas timber supply.
They did not know or care that vast noncommercial forests have been
permanently protected, never to be logged.
Loggers had been vilified into moral exclusionno longer quite
human, proper targets for extirpation.
They deserve to be swept aside to save nature.
The urban newspaper portrayals matched urban reader prejudices. The
urban newspapers knew their urban audience.
But their urban audience did not know what was behind their own
Grant-driven environmental groups.
Theyre destroying Americas resource class.
Theyre destroying Americas property owners.
No one sees.
No one cares.