39. Maine Conservation Rights Institute (MECRI)
(Latest update 2001)
P. O. Box 220
Lubec, Maine 04652
also: (207) 723-8543
email: Bob Voight
web page www.mecri.org
See: web page of Ecologic: www.freedom.org
Robert O. Voight, Chairman, Board of Directors, and Founder
Brenda L. Haskell, President, P. O. Box 30, Millinocket, Maine 04462
(207) 723-8543, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Files IRS Form 990 (IRS 50l(c)(3)
"Property Rights Congress": MECRI was one of prime organizers of the new coalition, which met in Washington, D.C., this year.
Sovereignty International: This organization devoted to protecting the sovereignty of the U.S. is headed by Dr. Michael Coffman (religious activist focusing on the Wildlands program) of Maine and Henry Lamb (international activist on UN issues and publisher of EcoLogic) of Tennessee.
Mountain States Legal Foundation
Organizational Goals (founded 1990)
"The Maine Conservation Rights Institute (MECRI) is a non-profit 501(c)3 education organization committed to the application of innovative conservation methods within the context of private property and free market systems."
"MECRI has two primary goals:
"First: To inform the public of the reality that conservation methods can succeed best when the rights of individual landowners are protected as a Constitutional civil right.
"Second: to educate all citizens of the threat by preservationists and bureaucrats to deny the Constitutional rights of individual landowners to prudently use their land without bureaucratic interference. And management by bureaucratic mandate is a threat to everyone!"
Officers and Board of Directors
Robert Voight, President
David Guernsey, Secretary
(1) General background and annual conference
"MECRI has been effectively involved in a variety of efforts to achieve its goals in Maine.-Education, op eds, annual Land Rights Congress, Information dissemination by direct mailings, providing information to political leaders, awards."
"Research into the goals, tactics and strategies of bureaucratic and preservationist leaders"
"Coordination with organizations and grassroots groups having compatible goals to enhance effectiveness of all efforts."
"Hold conservation easements to protect natural areas under private ownership."
This particular operating principle of MECRI got it into dispute with other property rights groups recently, because MECRI failed to see the dangers of the huge easements being executed in New England between timber investment organizations and government with the national land trusts as intermediaries.
"MECRI has been extremely effective in executing its mission since its founding in 19990. MECRI's education efforts exposed the attempt by the well funded Northern Forest Alliance to legitimize in law the Northern Forest Lands Council, and to greenline 26 million acres. As a result of MECRI's efforts, the federal law and the greenlining were stopped."
Like the environmental groups it opposes, MECRI grabs more credit than is its due. MECRI's original involvement in the Northern Forest Lands issue was important, but it was Congressman Jerry Solomon, representing this District in New York, first as Ranking Member of the Rules Committee, then as the Chairman, responding to specific information furnished independently by a member of this district, and then to widely expressed District interests, who first monkey-wrenched the Northern Forest Lands program by denying the ability to buy land in New York to the related Forest Legacy program, and then for several years held up the Northern Forest Stewardship bills which followed. Neither Maine, nor any of the other New England states sought or achieved the restrictions on land acquisitions with federal funds which Congressman Jerry Solomon accomplished.
At the present time, MECRI is exercising leadership with the Northern Forest Lands property rights concerns, as well as working with the Pacific Legal Foundation in bill analysis
MECRI justly takes credit for the national moratorium on new National Natural Landmark designations as a result of the controversy in Maine. Eric Veyhl of Maine, a computer expert who is now somewhat inactive in the property rights movement, but was one of its paramount researchers, working as an associate of Chuck Cushman, is responsible for the national exposure which changed the course of the Landmark designations. Indeed, this spring, after about seven years, the National Park Service finally issued the opt out notices for landowners (but only in obscure newspaper announcements), and one locality, the property owners of Baraboo National Natural Landmark in Wisconsin has just completed the monumental task of opting out 4/5 of its landowners, working with PRFA as its volunteer consultant.
(6) Future Campaign-Expose Environmental Grantmakers Association and the Wildlands program
MECRI has adopted a goal to continue its work to expose the clique of environmental organizations receiving much of their direction, MECRI has concluded, from the wealthy Environmental Grantmakers Association, to promote the Wildlands program. This is obviously important to MECRI, because the vast portion of Maine, like the Adirondacks, is receiving the brunt of the environmentalists' Northern Forest campaign to depopulate and "re-wild" the area.
"It is time we moved beyond the forestry issue, which is only a Trojan horse, to the real issues at stake-our way of life here in Maine, our jobs, our families, our values,"op ed by Bob Voight in "Moving beyond the forests in Maine," Bangor Daily News, January 3l, 1998.
Publications and Web Page
MECRI newsletter (published monthly and at other intervals)
Web page - with information about MECRI's work and causes, and hyperlinks to other organizations such as Mountain States Legal Foundation