Property Rights Foundation of America®

Speech from Proceedings of the Seventh Annual New York Conference
on Private Property Rights
(2003)

Invasive Species — Intrusive Regulation

Robert J. Smith
President, Center for Private Conservation, Washington, D.C.

Thank you. I'd like to thank Carol once again for the heroic efforts she has undertaken for the last decade putting on these conferences. They are very, very important. Not only have they always been good conferences and national conferences, but now they are about the only conference we have. Some of the other groups, for whatever reasons, have come on hard times, and it is hard to find a leader of a group or an organization who has the energy to keep going year after year in the face of continuous defeats, or seemingly continuous defeats. That's one reason some of our organizations in the past have burned out. I thank God that Carol is still doing this. Also, this is the first one of Carol's conferences that I have been at when she has actually had lovely weather. Whether it's spring or fall, she always has snow, and so it is nice to fly in at a green time.

One of the things that comes up all the time, and which a lot of people talked about this morning, was the whole issue of land ownership and how much we are losing it. One of the things that seemingly is a surprise is that we really don't know how much land in America is owned by the government at all levels. You would think that would be an easy thing to find out. All we have are rough estimates. The feds don't even know how much land they have. They used to brag about federal land ownership in the old days. There is a massive book that many of you may have seen called One Third of the Nation, where they bragged about the fact that the Department of the Interior owned 33 percent of the country. Now that there is a property rights movement and people don't like to have their land taken away, they don't talk about that much anymore. They say, well, maybe 20 percent or something like that, and say it very softly. But, despite the fact that the amount of land that's owned by the Department of the Interior and the feds has decreased over the years—largely that is because of the settlement of the land issues in Alaska—, government still owns massive amounts of lands and it is still constantly climbing. We know for certain that it's at least 42 percent of all the land in America that's owned by government-federal government, state government, county governments, and municipal governments. And it may be as high as 45 percent. Nobody really knows. What we are trying to do, and we hope that all of you can write your congressmen and senators, too, we are trying to see if we can finally force or get enough powerful Republican Congressmen and Senators to force the GAO to do the full study that is necessary.

You cannot have a free society without people owning their own land and their own property. Yet, every year we are pushing closer to that point where 50 percent, half the land, in America, will be owned by the government. One of the things that also came up in an early talk was the whole issue of the Greens deciding to use less than fee acquisition—don't condemn land because they can't afford to pay for all the land they wanted. They came up with the idea of massive use of regulatory takings, of using the police power so it would be so common just to regulate somebody's land that everybody would accept it and they'd say, well, we didn't take your land. All we did is regulate it and say you can't use it to harm somebody else.

In effect, the first talk I gave here at Carol's conference—I think at her first conference—was about the efforts that took place in 1970 at the Council on Environmental Quality under President Richard Nixon when Bill Riley, who later became head of the EPA under Bush, was Chairman. (Former President Bush who took us down to Rio who tried to get us into all the international treaties.) Bill Riley and a whole bunch of his very liberal, very anti-property rights attorney buddies from a law firm he had been with in Chicago did a number of studies. One was called "The Takings Issue." In that study, they said things like "private property rights are a quaint anachronism" which a modern advanced society cannot afford. One of the things they dealt with in the study is that they talked deliberately, page after page, about how to shift away from condemning land, from actually taking lands and having to pay for this, to taking land through regulations, inverse condemnation, regulatory takings, and so on.

As you have seen, as we developed a whole range of environmental law in this country, the Endangered Species Act, wetlands law, and so on, they don't take your land. They just say you can't use it and if you use it you will be fined a hundred thousand dollars and go to jail for a year, or the like. So then you go to court or whatever, and they say, well, we didn't take your land. You still own the land. You still have the deed for it, you know, sitting in the bank, and so forth. You still get all the pleasures of land ownership, like paying taxes. You just can't use it. And that is one of the situations we have and we have found no way, really, to handle that.

Even under the current Bush Administration, land acquisition is still going on, for whatever reason. In June of this year, we had a very encouraging meeting in one way and disappointing one in another way. Gail Norton, Secretary of the Interior, met with a number of the free market conservative types in Washington, DC. She pointed out in her talk to us all, as we sat around a big, long conference table, that, well, you know, we are doing a lot to try to protect private property. We have actually reduced the budget for land acquisition. Later, when there was a little reception, I went up to her and said, well, with all due respect, Secretary Norton, I heard your national telecast this morning in which you were talking to people all around the country about the new Bush initiative on using conservation as a tool for the Endangered Species Act. I said to her, you pointed out a new $97 million program that is supposedly at the heart of Bush's new approach, which will not use regulation, but will work voluntarily, using voluntary conservation. Yet, almost every single program that they announced in that $97 million was a program to acquire land for the government. They just shifted that money from a program that said land acquisition into money that said voluntary conservation. I said I didn't want to rain on your parade or anything, but this is something that needs to be addressed. I mean, we have a hard time believing what the government is telling us when these things are going on. She said, well, you know, that was forced on us. That was already in the budget, or something like that. Well, we are three years in this administration. She said wait till next year, so we will see next year. But it's not stopping. It is still going on.

One thing that I wanted to say quickly is that a couple of people asked about the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. As you know, the Act passed the House of Representatives in May quite handily by 67 votes, which is a landslide in Congress these days. There was a big story in the Washington Post the other day about the fact that bill after bill rarely passes; so you are lucky to pass with one vote. Forty-two Democrats went in on it. The Healthy Forest Restoration Bill was before the Senate and until very recently there were not 60 votes in the Senate to get it through past the Democrats' filibuster. They may have that right now. There is time on the Senate floor on Monday, and they may be able to get the bill up.

But one thing you really need to watch. The Greens are arguing all the time, which makes common sense to lots of people, to people who don't live in the woods, is the Greens are saying that you don't have to worry about the forests. You don't have to go thin out the forests or the wild lands or so on because they are fine. They are doing fine despite the fact that we have a hundred years of history to say that they are not, and that is the source of the problem. We haven't managed these forests. We've let them just build up with dead wood and turn into tinder for huge, catastrophic fires. The Greens won't let us do anything about that, to thin that out. They're saying this is just a payoff to big industry, to International Paper or whatever. All you need to do, they argued, when I debated on CNN with somebody from Greenpeace, is thin 200 feet of trees around a community, and then you save the community. It is fireproof.

Well, if you are in New York City, that probably stands true. Because if there are no trees there, they can't burn down and so you've solved the problem. What most people don't know is that, when there is a wall of fire, one of these 500,000-acre big fires that comes roaring down on you, there is a process in fires where they are so big, so intense, with a 300-feet high wall of flame that creates a fire storm, it is constantly throwing fire embers, limbs, and so on—flaming limbs—way ahead of the fire. That's called spotting. In a big fire, you will have spotting going on 2, 3, 4, 5 miles in front of the wall of fire. Yet the Greens are selling the nation, or trying desperately and being pretty successful, that all you have to do is cut down 200 feet of trees around a town and that will solve it, when the fire can naturally jump five miles or more. So we will see what happens on that.

What I am supposed to talk about is invasive species, something many of you may not have heard about. This is the next big threat to private property rights. Any of you who have had any problems with wetlands or any of you who have had any problems particularly with endangered species, should realize that this will make the Endangered Species Act look like absolute and total child's play. The reason for that, is what are invasive species? Well, actually an invasive species is a species that your neighbor doesn't like, or a college professor doesn't like, or a Green doesn't like, or a bureaucrat doesn't like, and it becomes a more dangerous, invasive species the more power those particular people have.

Supposedly, invasive species were intended to be things that were truly invasive. They would come in and take over the landscape and suddenly, instead of having, you know, daisies and this clover and that flower and whatever, you would have all kudzu or all leafy spurge or something. They are supposed to be noxious and they are supposed to be harmful. Well, noxious and harmful, all these things are very relative terms. Noxious to whom or what? Harmful to whom or what? Basically, it also includes for the hardcore and the purist in the argument anything that is an alien species-anything that's non-native. Anything that is non-indigenous to the United States or in whatever area you're in. This can include animals, plants, foods, insects, diseases. I mean, typical things. We've had problems with some of them.

We've had the Dutch elm disease, where a disease came over and killed all the elm trees. Those of you who are my age probably remember growing up in towns in the northeastern United States where you had those magnificent green tunnels of giant elms over the streets. They're all gone. That's what a truly harmful invasive species can do.

We brought over English sparrows and starlings and introduced them in this country. They took over. Because they nest in cavities and don't migrate, they took over nesting holes for birds like the bluebirds, and bluebird populations has plummeted in this country, as have other birds that depend on nesting in holes and cannot make their own, like a woodpecker. Those populations were declining and declining until groups like the North American Bluebird Society stepped up to put up nesting houses, artificial houses, for them. But invasive species can do all kinds of harm like that.

Most of our crops, for that matter, are non-native. Wheat is non-native in the United States. Potatoes are non-native. Oranges are non-native. One of the biggest sources of money for most of the mid-western states and for protecting wildlife and habitat and so on is the annual hunting for ring-necked pheasants. Ring-necked pheasant is non-native; it was introduced. The brown trout that many of you have caught was introduced from Germany.

When you get down to things like ornamentals or things you use in your lawn, one of the things that the Greens absolutely hate, it is near the top of the list they have, is something called tall fescue. Tall fescue is the major turf grass in the United States. There is tall fescue growing on the White House lawn. But that's "evil." The hardcore in the Greens, once they get the power from the Invasive Species Agency, that's one of the things they want to have eliminated. That's near the top of their list.

They also want to get rid of something else that some of you may know of. There is this plant called crown vetch. In fact, one of the people I hoped was going to be here is Fred Grau; you know him from the Alliance for America. His family is one of the major breeders of crown vetch in this country, and what it is used for is that it grows fast and it stays relatively low on the ground and it stops erosion. You put it in the highway mediums, along banks, you put it in cornfields in between the rows of corn and it keeps down weeds. You don't have to go through and till all the time to keep down the weeds so there is no erosion and loss of the topsoil. You don't have to spray herbicides on the ground to kill weeds, because the crown vetch is there. The State of Pennsylvania made crown vetch the official conservation plant of the State of Pennsylvania. This was back before invasive species legislation became the trendy politically correct thing to do. Now they want to get rid of crown vetch. They don't want to use it anymore. They want to dig up where they put it in highways and so on.

Then you have the plants like kudzu, killer kudzu, that supposedly has destroyed the South and the zebra mussels, which have supposedly destroyed the Great Lakes. They have caused some problems, but they can be controlled and are controlled when people try. There are other things that are a potential threat. You may have heard of something called the Indian brown tree snake, which eats anything in its path. It's been introduced to some of the Pacific islands, particularly in Samoa and Guam, and so on, and it has caused seven species of ground-nesting birds that can't fly or barely fly to actually go extinct from the face of the Earth. Everywhere you go there are brown tree snakes. They are shorting out wires and electricity. They are getting into houses and eating babies and so on. I remember the hearing that they had in Congress at the end of April, where the U.S. Representative from Samoa, when she found out that there was a billion dollars a year in federal budgets all ready to take care of the problem of invasive species, she said, where on earth is it going? Why don't you bring some of it over here and kill our destructive snakes that are causing endangered species to go extinct?

That's one of the questions. Where is the money going? What's behind all this? Now, you notice that when something is really a problem, like when you hear there is an outbreak of Mediterranean fruit flies that is really going to harm the agricultural industry, the citrus industry, the next morning the feds are up in a helicopter spraying the hell out of the whole county with Malathion. They say we are going to stop this now. We are going to take care of and solve the problem. If you don't like it, sue us.

You may remember that last summer they had the problem that made all the television in this country; this monster from hell, the Chinese northern snakehead fish, that was found in some quarries in Maryland and that can get out and crawl around and go to the next pond or next lake and eat everything and take over the country. Well, there is already power, the government already has the power, to handle this. That is what APHIS [Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] is in the Department of Agriculture, to stop harmful things from coming in. That's why they inspect things and ask if you have been on a farm, did you bring back any plants and so on when you enter the country. Well, Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton, used her existing authority, her power to ban snakehead fish. Boom! That's it. Possession is against the law. Importing is against the law. Eating is against the law, and so on. Take care of it. Do it. And don't start, we don't need to start, any massive new programs.

The other thing that is very interesting in this whole talk is you get into all kinds of philosophical aspects of this because things spread naturally, anyhow. Non-natives become natives, because wind blows them somewhere or a hurricane blows a bird to a new place and suddenly it starts nesting there and storms carry things. Wind draft carries all kinds of zillions of little spiders up thousands of feet in the air. They will get carried 7,000 miles around the world and land somewhere. Floating vegetation, mats of vegetation going from the mainland of South America and out to the Caribbean Islands actually carried snakes and animals, alive on them. That's how they got on there. Air currents…Birds eat seeds and then deposit the seeds in another country or pick up a seed on a feather when they are wintering in Argentina and then their next landfall is the United States and that seed gets started here. It is a natural process that goes on all the time.

One thing that is interesting where the Greens and people in particular have backed off on doing anything about a problem at all of an invasive species is with West Nile disease. I hope you notice what is going on with the West Nile disease. There is a way to get rid of that vector and that is to spray mosquitoes or spray marshes, but the Greens have argued and successfully fought it, particularly here in New York State. They say no, no, no, we don't have to go out and use poisons on this because after all, this is a direct quote, all West Nile disease really does is it only kills older people and children and people who have immune deficiencies. That's all it does, they say, so it's not a problem so let's not spray Mother Nature.

In the really hard core of the non-native, invasive species, group that are already out there, are some who actually want to stop things from moving from different states in the United States. They hate what Lady Bird Johnson did with her national wildflower program and planting wild flowers. Many of you have driven down the highways and highway medians and so on, and, you know, some states in the Midwest have planted black-eyed Susans from Maryland along the highway in Illinois. Well, they don't belong there. God didn't put them there and those have to be removed. Same thing with Texas bluebonnets. They have to be moved out. We have taken rainbow trout and introduced them in various places. There are salmon from the Pacific Coast that are in the Great Lakes and are a thriving fishing industry, but they will have to be removed if the Greens gain the power they want to do what they want.

And, finally, a couple of things on the unbelievable cost of this. One of the reasons people use non-natives is because you can breed them in nurseries and so on and make them much more efficient so they grow faster and particularly so you can get much better germination. Lots of the native grasses and native wild flowers are pretty hard to germinate. They have to go through stages; they have to be chilled in refrigerators for so many months before you can put them on the ground and they will germinate and so on. You can produce things in nurseries that will solve those problems. If we move away from non-natives, there is only so much money every year in the transportation budget for highways, and one of the big things they always have with highways is what they are going to do about erosion and hillsides and cliff faces and the medians. They are now going to have to start putting natives only in those kinds of areas. It is going to vastly increase the amount of money that is spent just on vegetation, and, of course, that is going to be less money that is going to go to make highways safer—to make turns safer, put in less steep banks, and so on.

Another area where this is causing massive problems is in all the huge wild fires across the West. Those of you who know Tucson understand where the terrible 85,000-acre fire was this summer that burned up the old growth forest on top of the mountains there. After you burn down an area like the Catalina Mountains, now it is nothing but bare rock and bare soils. In fact, in mountains you don't have much soil, very little soil. It has taken thousands of years since the Ice Age to come. As soon as the summer monsoons come and the winter rains come, it washes it all off and you're never going to get trees back on those mountains. So one of the things they try to do is they have a program called the BAER teams. It stands for "burned area emergency reclamation." They fly over with helicopters and drop seeds down, grass seeds, fast-growing grass seeds, hoping they can stop the erosion and stabilize the area before the rains come. Well, they had a huge fight this summer out there when the BAER team was ready to go in on the Forest Service lands in the Coronado National Forest outside of Tucson to re-seed the area, because one of the ecologists who works for what is euphemistically called the U.S. Geological Survey—it's really the biological survey—said, oh, you can't do that, even though they were already buying the seed. They were forced to buy at outrageous prices certified 99.9 percent weed-free natural grasses to seed, to make sure that in nature you don't get a weed out there. This guy pointed out that for the 99.9 percent—he said, I worked on the Sierra Grande fire, the Los Alamos fire, and we found out that if you use that formula, if you don't have 100 percent pure, you are getting as many as 2 million invasive non-native cheat grass seeds for every 200 tons you drop. The guy with the Forest Service said, well, what do you want us to do? Nothing? And just let all the soil and everything disappear so we never have any vegetation again? That's the kind of things you get into.

This is not a problem if it is just a bunch of Greens having a list. In 1999 President Clinton issued an executive order on invasive species. Well, executive orders, what do they do? We saw what the executive order on the taking of private property did. I mean it was a good idea. It didn't really do much. Same thing with Clinton's executive order. What it did do is create something called a National Invasive Species Council, that happens to be one of the reasons there is no money to do anything about the invasive weeds out there. They put out all these fantastic expensive multi-colored booklets and so on that cost a fortune. They, also, by the way, have conferences all over the place to study the problem of invasive species and, you know, they love to have those conferences in February in the Yucatan or Key West or some place that get terribly expensive.

As the woman who is head of this, Lori Williams, wrote, "Invasive species are everywhere." That is the problem. That is a scare technique, but that is also true and that is the problem, because invasive species are everywhere. There is probably not a single acre, a single area of private property anywhere in the nation, probably even in your own lawns, that does not have invasive species on it.

Endangered species are another thing. Look at the problem we have with the Endangered Species Act. Very few people have endangered species on their land and yet it has been a monster, a nightmare, a horror. It has caused all kinds of problems. If they do start, which they are leaning to, all kinds of legislation coming every year, more and more, aiming toward starting a national invasive species program, an agency, just like the Office of Endangered Species. It will go around, and one of the things they are going to do, of course, is going to find invasive species on your lawn, in your yard, in your garden, and so on, and then you're going to be forced to solve the problem. Do you think the government is going to pay you to do it, or the Green groups? No, you are going to have to do it. It is going to become the worst possible nightmare we have. This woman Lori Williams is a well-spoken and very radical green.
They have something else that is interesting. You can find out and get copies of this by contacting the National Invasive Species Council in Washington, D.C. They have a National Invasive Species Advisory Committee, and as you might imagine, it is mainly radical Greens and radical academics. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is on there. The group that is trying to reintroduce wolves in every state in America, those of you from Maine may know one man who was a major problem everywhere; he is on this committee. The Center for Marine Conservation was a group that prevented the creation of sea turtle farms to save them. The Nature Conservancy and Environmental Defense Fund and on and on, all kind of academics. Then, what is also interesting is you often find that there are some industry groups that see they have a way of making some money. Monsanto is on this committee. Why? Because Monsanto makes Roundup, and the more bad plants you can find, the more weeds that get put on an official list, the better Monsanto sales and stock is going to do. Also the Weed Management Services, Inc., is on there and, of course, their model ought to be the more the merrier, the more things they can get on there the better.

Again, this was just something that was an executive order. Well, lo and behold, to our surprise the first week of February this year there is a group that meets in Washington once a month that holds the Ford Environmental Policy Group Luncheon, where think tank types and dissident types and so on get together to discuss environmental issues. All of a sudden, out of the blue, scheduled for February 18, the Ford Environmental Policy Group meeting was a program on invasive species, the threat of invasive species, with two of the leading people from the United States Department of the Interior, one from the Department of Agriculture, and one from NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]. Well, thank God we had a blizzard that day and so this thing got postponed until April 3. Then we had time to tell people about it and get people there and get people on our side who know what's wrong with this. Again they had the same crowd from Interior, from Ag, from NOAA. There were also people there who were not speaking, from the Justice Department, from CEQ. To show you what the Bush Administration has been doing on this issue, working behind the scenes, at this meeting the Greens were there for the first time ever. Keep in mind that this is usually just a bunch of right-wing policy nerds in Washington, DC, people like me and Andrew Langer and so on who go to this meeting and nobody else even knows about it. Well, there were green Senate staffers. The Director of the United Nations Environment Program for North America and her top aide were there. This must have been talked about at the highest levels behind the scenes and nobody even knew that this was going on. And, the person who represents the government on this and talks about the looming catastrophe is a person some of you may remember from ESA days, Jim Tate, James A. Tate. He is the science advisor to the Secretary of Interior Gale Norton. He sits about four desks down from her in the office next to her. He is pushing this whole agenda and telling her how wonderful this is, and that we have to do something about this. He used to be in the Office of Endangered Species and then he went to the U.S. Senate, helped Senator Kempthorne draft his ESA bill which had no protection for private property rights, no compensation for "takings," and so on. He has been involved in all of this, and Tate said, and then testified a couple weeks later, saying, "America is under siege." This is the whole thing. I mean this is our people saying, that America is under siege.

All kinds of bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to control terrestrial invasive species, aquatic invasive species, and many of these are being pushed by conservative and western Congressmen and Senators. One of the things is they don't quite know what they are doing. They think they are going to help farmers and ranchers soak the taxpayers to get rid of obnoxious weeds on the rancher's land, and they are naive enough to think, or the ranchers are, oh sure, we'll just get the taxpayers to clean up our land and there won't be any catches to it. There won't be a Catch-22. Nobody will regulate our lands. They will just come and clean up all the stuff on our lands.

Thank God for Richard Pombo, who is now chairman of the House of Resources Committee, and was the keynote speaker, I think, at Carol's first conference, who immediately had oversight hearings on the whole issue of invasive species on April 29. That is something you might want to find. You can get that on the web. We were able out of the 20 witnesses to get three good witnesses. Ray Arnett, some of you may know. He was Reagan's Assistant Secretary of the Interior. Fred Grau, the breeder-grower of crown vetch, and Jim Bears, who used to work in the Department of the Interior and is a real eagle on state's rights issues. What was interesting here, they gave great talks, and the main thing they said, the real thing that we are trying to do now on this, is we can't stop this flood of legislation. It is probably too late, but before we pass a major program including an agency, at the very beginning we have to go in and put in one little title, one little section, that says nothing in this act will permit the taking of private property or the loss of the use of private property without full and just compensation. Get it in at the beginning. So, as Ray Arnett said, we all thought when we passed the ESA 30 years ago, we were just saving the eagles. We didn't realize it was going to prevent me as a farmer from taking my own water out of my own irrigation ditch on my own land and putting it on my own crops or I'd be fined $100,000 or go to jail for a year because there was an endangered something-or-other there. He said that the only time you can fix that is at the beginning.

The frightening thing, the thing we don't know, and you people with the Farm Bureau here and so on should be aware of, is that also on that hearing the American Farm Bureau Federation testified and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association testified. Neither of them said in their written testimony one word about protecting property rights or takings compensation. Even though we had sent people, Jim Beers and Fred Grau had gone and talked to the person who was writing the testimony for the Farm Bureau and had tried the Cattlemen's. The woman from the Cattlemen's Association would not even meet with them in advance, would not meet with them at any time whatsoever. Now, thank God, one thing I can say, at least Bill Pauli, the president of the California Farm Bureau, who presented the testimony for the National Farm Bureau, followed immediately after Ray Arnett. Ray Arnett kept talking about protecting our constitutional property rights, we can't allow land to be taken again. I must give Bill Pauli credit. He changed his oral testimony and said things that were not in his written testimony. He said, whatever we do, we must protect private property. If there is the "taking" of private property, there must be compensation. We need to clean up noxious weeds and invasive weeds, but we need to protect our constitutional property rights at the same time. Then we called him, and I called the person who wrote his speech. While there is still the two-week period, I asked, would you please take that oral testimony and put it officially into the written testimony so it stands forever in the written testimony before the United States Congress? They refused to do that.. I argued with an attorney of the American Farm Bureau, who is a really good guy. Why can't you do it? He said, well, it's not necessary. It doesn't say they are going to take property. Well, it didn't say they were going to take property with the ESA. You think the government is going to tell you that? We have a clause in our official booklet bylaws that says…Yeah, but that is not part of the law or the bill that is going to be passed. Why can't you just add one line and say there must be compensation. We never got anywhere.

Anyhow, this is where we are headed. This is something you really need to look at, and it is also going to be enormously expensive to do anything about this. After the meeting Rep. Pombo, we asked Pombo what he thought. Pombo is somewhat aware of this issue. He said, yeah, I've got tall fescue and I've got clovers, all non-natives, on my grazing pastures out here in Tracy, California. He said, I did go to a native plant company to ask how much it would cost to plant native grasses in there, and they said it would cost me $5,000 per acre. These are the kinds of things, because you can't just order these things. You have to hire hippies to go out through the woods and find a native plant and knock the seeds into a bag and hope they all get in and then treat them properly and chill them properly and all this kind of stuff. It's going to be unbelievable.

Just to sum up the philosophy of where this is coming from—it is all part of the stuff that man, particularly white men are evil. We have to go back before 1492, return America to conditions of 1492, because everything was fine then. One of the people who testified at Pombo's hearings was a leading conservation biologist from the Bishop Museum in Hawaii, and he said, you know, it is terrible, Mr. Chairman. Over the last 200 years 10,000 non-native invasive species have invaded Hawaii and are a threat to the native flora and fauna of Hawaii. Now even Pombo, as sharp as he is, didn't really get quite what was wrong with that. We sat around and talked, he and I, and Arnett for awhile. I said there is no native flora of Hawaii, Congressman. Hawaii came from bare volcanic rocks that came out of the ocean. Every single thing that lives and grows on that is an invasive non-native species that got there one way or another. You notice, when he made his cut off line—200 years ago when the whites arrived. He didn't say a word about the Polynesians who came in their canoes and introduced pigs and dogs and rats and everything and caused all kinds of species to go away.

This is a new philosophy, and if the Greens get what they want, if they get this program started, they'll have an official Office of Invasive Species or Invasive Species Program so they can take all the things they dislike, whether it is crown vetch or whatever, and put them on the list and then start eradicating them, and that is going to mean an end to your private property. Thank you.


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