Recently I was informed of a vote by the Senate to fund further government land acquisition from private citizens through the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act. I was pleased to see that passage was stopped by a single vote, but troubled to see that Maine’s Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Angus King voted for it.

Federal land grabs in the name of environmental protection have had very negative effects, both on the citizens whose land has been taken for pennies-onthe dollar and on the communities and businesses that rely on these natural resources. These land grabs violate private property rights protected under the Constitution.

Once the government takes over the land, they send in the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Forestry to keep everyone out of the area. That means everyone! No hiking, no bicycling, no kayaking, no hunting, no fishing! Here is a link documenting multiple examples from Utah that are similar to my experiences in California, and likely what will happen in Maine if this attitude fostering bureaucratic environmental control is allowed to expand here as well. ( /20140724/102552/HMTG-113-II10- Wstate-PerkinsJ-20140724.pdf)

I sent both Sens. Collins and King a message through their constituent message systems letting them know of my disagreement with their votes. I did not hear from Sen. Collins, but did receive a letter from Sen. King stating his support of this and other similar federal programs. What follows is my response to his letter:

Dear Senator King,

Thank you for responding to the message that I sent you via your constituent mail system. You state that one of your objectives is to pass Maine’s and the nation’s natural treasures on to future generations. The problem with this is that future generations will never be allowed to enter or enjoy these areas. I have entered into two of these protected areas in California. Your counterpart, Sen. Diane Feinstein, has locked United States citizens out of the mountains and deserts of California through the Wildlife Protection Act, the Desert Protection Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

I have been approached by armed BLM agents in these areas and was threatened with arrest if I did not leave the area. Didn’t seem they wanted any citizens enjoying these areas.

In Inyo County, California, there is a case of a lost boy who froze to death in one of these protected areas. This young man had become lost because of the heavy snow. He was spotted deep in the woods by a sheriff ’s helicopter. It would have been an easy rescue.

The problem is that the Wildlife Protection Act requires that permission to land aircraft must be granted through the Bureau of Land Management. The sheriff first requested, and then pleaded for permission to land. In the name of environmental protection, the requests were denied.

A search and rescue crew set out on foot. They reached the boy the next morning where they found him frozen to death. The environment was “ protected,” the animals are safe, but a young man is dead.

The Land and Water Conservation Act, of which you are so proud, violates the constitutional rights of our citizens. It forces private property owners to give up their land with little or no compensation. It deprives these private landowners of their livelihoods, the ability to raise their families, and their God given right to own land, which the Founder’s protected in the United States Constitution. I believe our nation’s Natural Treasures are our future generations, not some trees and animals.

I do want to thank you for clarifying and not hiding your extreme environmental views. You have made it clear that protecting the environment is your priority. You have proudly pointed out your close ties and alignment with Obama appointee (Sec. of the Interior) Sally Jewel. You have voted with environmental radicals such as Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein. Their acts have successfully locked out and bankrupted many mining companies and lumber harvesters. The communities surrounding their protected areas that once thrived on the natural resources are now boarded up and desolate. Let’s be honest, isn’t that the goal?

Gregg Imus
Camden, Maine

Another View, a Maine Press Association award-winning column, is written on a rotating basis by a member of a group of Mid-coast citizens that meet to discuss issues they think are of public interest.

Comments are not available on this story.