Saturday, February 10, 2007

CWCS Question Never-ending BWCA Lawsuits

By Nancy McReady, Conservationists With Common Sense (CWCS) Ely

It appears Marshall Helmberger’s blinders have finally come off in regard to the agenda of the many preservation groups who file lawsuit after lawsuit. (As I See It, Feb. 2) These lawsuits have very little to do with protecting the Boundary Waters and the surrounding area. It’s all about access to public lands and how they can deny or reduce access, and delay timber management.

Presently there are three lawsuits. Is a fourth lawsuit on their horizon now that the Echo Trail Management EIS has come out?CWCS believes the Forest Service, for the most part, is doing a good job. We may not agree with everything they do, but we don’t file lawsuit after lawsuit and have the courts micro manage what the Forest Service should do. In fact, we have joined the Forest Service as interveners in the Chain of Lakes and South Fowl lawsuits.

I had a very long talk with John Roth after he was fired from the Friends of the Boundary Waters. We discussed issues that should be addressed by these national environmental groups, such as cleaning up the Mississippi River or pushing for legislation that would have American companies that take their companies to Asia and elsewhere adhere to the same strict pollution regulations as we have here in the United States. It’s that pollution that is causing much of our acid rain.Instead, the Friends, Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society and others sue over three truck portages that caused great polarization in our communities. Two of the truck portages were barely back in operation and they were challenging the Chain of Lakes permits. Then the Forest Management Plan, and now the South Fowl Snowmobile lawsuit.

The good done by the environmental movement of the 1970s has been tarnished by all these frivolous lawsuits over the Boundary Waters and surrounding area. It is industry that is taking the lead in protecting the environment with cleaner, safer technology with coal gasification and mining projects. Even recreational industries are looking to protect the environment with 4-stroke boat motors and snowmobile engines.

I disagree with your opinion that their political muscle has become like the 98-pound weakling at the beach who gets sand kicked in his face. The above mentioned groups are the bullies on the beach doing the kicking of the sand. It’s so much easier to bully the people who just want to fish the lakes of the Boundary Waters with the use of allowable motors rather than tackle real environmental issues that impact far more than the 200,000 people who visit the BWCA each year.

The make up of the Friends of the Boundary Waters board of directors is very questionable. Five directors are lawyers, three with the Faegre & Benson law firm, the very firm that files all the lawsuits. This is the firm the Forest Service has paid nearly $300,000 to over the past 10 years in attorney recovery costs. I wouldn’t be surprised if the U.S. Attorney General’s office looks into a conflict of interest here.In the meantime, we’re still waiting on the Friends to sit down and discuss the recalculations of the Chain of Lakes permits and awaiting the judge’s decision in the South Fowl lawsuit.Editor’s Note: Conservationists With Common Sense is an organization devoted to “preserving access to and multiple-use of public lands and waters.”

It appears Marshall Helmberger’s blinders have finally come off in regard to the agenda of the many preservation groups who file lawsuit after lawsuit. (As I See It, Feb. 2) These lawsuits have very little to do with protecting the Boundary Waters and the surrounding area. It’s all about access to public lands and how they can deny or reduce access, and delay timber management.

Presently there are three lawsuits. Is a fourth lawsuit on their horizon now that the Echo Trail Management EIS has come out?CWCS believes the Forest Service, for the most part, is doing a good job. We may not agree with everything they do, but we don’t file lawsuit after lawsuit and have the courts micro manage what the Forest Service should do. In fact, we have joined the Forest Service as interveners in the Chain of Lakes and South Fowl lawsuits.

I had a very long talk with John Roth after he was fired from the Friends of the Boundary Waters. We discussed issues that should be addressed by these national environmental groups, such as cleaning up the Mississippi River or pushing for legislation that would have American companies that take their companies to Asia and elsewhere adhere to the same strict pollution regulations as we have here in the United States. It’s that pollution that is causing much of our acid rain.Instead, the Friends, Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society and others sue over three truck portages that caused great polarization in our communities. Two of the truck portages were barely back in operation and they were challenging the Chain of Lakes permits. Then the Forest Management Plan, and now the South Fowl Snowmobile lawsuit.The good done by the environmental movement of the 1970s has been tarnished by all these frivolous lawsuits over the Boundary Waters and surrounding area. It is industry that is taking the lead in protecting the environment with cleaner, safer technology with coal gasification and mining projects.

Even recreational industries are looking to protect the environment with 4-stroke boat motors and snowmobile engines.I disagree with your opinion that their political muscle has become like the 98-pound weakling at the beach who gets sand kicked in his face. The above mentioned groups are the bullies on the beach doing the kicking of the sand. It’s so much easier to bully the people who just want to fish the lakes of the Boundary Waters with the use of allowable motors rather than tackle real environmental issues that impact far more than the 200,000 people who visit the BWCA each year.

The make up of the Friends of the Boundary Waters board of directors is very questionable. Five directors are lawyers, three with the Faegre & Benson law firm, the very firm that files all the lawsuits. This is the firm the Forest Service has paid nearly $300,000 to over the past 10 years in attorney recovery costs. I wouldn’t be surprised if the U.S. Attorney General’s office looks into a conflict of interest here.In the meantime, we’re still waiting on the Friends to sit down and discuss the recalculations of the Chain of Lakes permits and awaiting the judge’s decision in the South Fowl lawsuit.Editor’s Note: Conservationists With Common Sense is an organization devoted to “preserving access to and multiple-use of public lands and waters.”

It appears Marshall Helmberger’s blinders have finally come off in regard to the agenda of the many preservation groups who file lawsuit after lawsuit. (As I See It, Feb. 2) These lawsuits have very little to do with protecting the Boundary Waters and the surrounding area. It’s all about access to public lands and how they can deny or reduce access, and delay timber management.

Presently there are three lawsuits. Is a fourth lawsuit on their horizon now that the Echo Trail Management EIS has come out?CWCS believes the Forest Service, for the most part, is doing a good job. We may not agree with everything they do, but we don’t file lawsuit after lawsuit and have the courts micro manage what the Forest Service should do. In fact, we have joined the Forest Service as interveners in the Chain of Lakes and South Fowl lawsuits.

I had a very long talk with John Roth after he was fired from the Friends of the Boundary Waters. We discussed issues that should be addressed by these national environmental groups, such as cleaning up the Mississippi River or pushing for legislation that would have American companies that take their companies to Asia and elsewhere adhere to the same strict pollution regulations as we have here in the United States. It’s that pollution that is causing much of our acid rain.

Instead, the Friends, Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society and others sue over three truck portages that caused great polarization in our communities. Two of the truck portages were barely back in operation and they were challenging the Chain of Lakes permits. Then the Forest Management Plan, and now the South Fowl Snowmobile lawsuit.The good done by the environmental movement of the 1970s has been tarnished by all these frivolous lawsuits over the Boundary Waters and surrounding area. It is industry that is taking the lead in protecting the environment with cleaner, safer technology with coal gasification and mining projects.

Even recreational industries are looking to protect the environment with 4-stroke boat motors and snowmobile engines.I disagree with your opinion that their political muscle has become like the 98-pound weakling at the beach who gets sand kicked in his face. The above mentioned groups are the bullies on the beach doing the kicking of the sand. It’s so much easier to bully the people who just want to fish the lakes of the Boundary Waters with the use of allowable motors rather than tackle real environmental issues that impact far more than the 200,000 people who visit the BWCA each year.

The make up of the Friends of the Boundary Waters board of directors is very questionable. Five directors are lawyers, three with the Faegre & Benson law firm, the very firm that files all the lawsuits. This is the firm the Forest Service has paid nearly $300,000 to over the past 10 years in attorney recovery costs. I wouldn’t be surprised if the U.S. Attorney General’s office looks into a conflict of interest here.In the meantime, we’re still waiting on the Friends to sit down and discuss the recalculations of the Chain of Lakes permits and awaiting the judge’s decision in the South Fowl lawsuit.

Editor’s Note: Conservationists With Common Sense is an organization devoted to “preserving access to and multiple-use of public lands and waters.”

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