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Pend Oreille County, extreme northeast corner of Washington State. Rural, real rural, forests, mountains, next to Idaho and British Columbia. Pend Oreille River is like the people, backwards. Just kidding, river does flow north, and the original small population of loggers, farmers and old hippies is an independent lot. Although, since area is beautiful and river lots were cheap an influx of summer residents and retirees have flooded the county. As an aside, winters usually drove away the less durable after a few of them. Now, a phenomenon known as "Snowbirds" has developed. Seasonal residents, retirees on the river for summer who move to Arizona for the winter. The county votes conservative, for some reason, as we are a depressed area. Usually tied for most depressed in state. Our Congressional Representative, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, keeps getting elected. For the life of me, I can not understand why people vote against themselves.
So, the county has been politically conservative, but is being forced further to the right, Tea Bagger Whacko right. The Oath Keepers get their own clubhouse, promoted by the Sheriff and at least one county commissioner, a Cliven Bundy supporter. Open carry is a second amendment right god dammit. Although, nobody is that goofy, yet.
Latest turn of events is the takeover of Federal lands by the locals.
Check out this  draft resolution, leaked to Pend Oreille County Democrats:

At Monday's POC Commissioners' meeting, 10:00 A.M., there will be discussion  of transferring federal land to Pend County ownership.  If concerned, plan on attending meeting at POC Courthouse.  If you have questions contact

                         RESOLUTION NO. ___      DRAFT ONLY

A resolution by Pend Oreille Board of County Commissioners to promote the future health, education, and well-being of the children of the State of Washington.

Whereas:  Our children are our most precious Natural Resource treasure we have and are the future of the State of Washington; and

Whereas:  We have the solemn duty of ensuring the health and education of our children through the preservation of families and the sound administration of the resources available to us; and

Whereas:  The wise use of our renewable forest lands and the natural resources they contain are an integral part of our heritage and the foundation on which is built a nation of freedom and accomplishment; and

Whereas:  As a result of well-intentioned but ineffective management the health of our forests has degraded to a point where they become a liability to our nation rather than the asset they once were, and negative impact on our local economic stability; and

Whereas:  As a result of poor management recent years have seen an increase in the number and size of catastrophic wildfires each of which has resulted in long term harm to the quality of our water, air, human health and wildlife and has expended resources that could be directed to improving the health and education of our children; and

Whereas:  The federal budget can no longer absorb the cost associated with the mismanagement of our forest land under federal ownership; and

Whereas:   The federal budget can no longer absorb the cost associated with payment-in-lieu of taxers to state and local governments nor can state and local governments plan their budgets effectively due to the uncertain nature of PILT payments; and

Whereas:  It is long held the most effective government is that which is closest to the people; and

Whereas:  It is historical fact that forest management conducted on the county and state level is more efficient resulting in higher levels of forest health while generating greater income from forest products; and

Whereas: at statehood the federal government promised all states, in their enabling acts, that it would transfer title to the public lands within the newly-created states; and,

Whereas: the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled these promises to be ‘solemn compacts’, ‘ bilateral agreements’ and ‘trusts’ that must be performed in a timely manner; and,

Whereas: states like Illinois, Missouri, Florida and others were once up to 90% federally controlled; and

Whereas: those formerly ‘western’ states, as they were known, succeeded in compelling the federal government to transfer their public lands; and

Whereas:  It is imperative that government act today to implement a more effective management strategy before the current approach results in long term or even irreparable damage to our forest and the eco-systems and economies they support.

Therefore Be It Resolved:  The Pend Oreille Board of County Commissioners supports the transfer of all federally managed public land not currently in wilderness designation within the boundaries of Pend Oreille County to Pend Oreille County ownership and management or Washington State ownership and management.

Be it further resolved:   We call for the federal government to obey the constitution, the Supreme Court rulings, honor its solemn compact, and transfer all public lands within Pend Oreille County to County or State ownership.

Be it further resolved:  The Pend Oreille County Board of County Commissioners call on the Governor and Washington State Legislature to adopt appropriate legislation transferring the management of all Federal Public Lands to the to the Department of Natural Resources with the directive that these lands be managed to assure long term health of these lands and to generate the income necessary to comply with the constitutional mandate to provide for the education of the children of the State of Washington.

Dated at Newport, Washington this ___ day of ______, 2014.

                                                                              BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
                                                                              Pend Oreille County, Washington

                                                                        Karen Skoog, Chair

                                                                        Stephen Kiss, Vice-Chair

                                                                        Mike Manus, Member

Elizabeth Braun, Clerk of the Board


My friend Gayle, was asked her thoughts on this state of affairs, and said:

“This is the first time the Pend Oreille County Democratic Party has undertaken this type of effort, but POC County Commissioners, especially “one commissioner” has pursued moving Pend County toward transferring federal lands into local hands.
It started two years ago with small items, including sponsoring the development of a local branch of Oath Keepers, using our local tax dollars to join the American Lands Council (an entity with the sole purpose of privatizing all federal land), replacing 3 experienced intelligent POC Planning Commissioners with cohorts that support private property rights over public good, moving to abandoning longstanding state mandated land use laws in favor of local control and taking steps to privatize our U.S. National Forests.
With few exceptions, we did little to oppose these steps, but feel it is time to speak up.  We are not asking members to become involved, but understand that we need to let people know what is happening.   If we continue to allow our local political leaders to move ever closer to privatization of our public commons without informing others, we are also to blame for the outcomes.
Thus, this e-mail is to inform others, but POC Democrats are hoping that those who are concerned about this issue will attend the meeting to better understand what POC Commissioners are doing.
Thank you for asking about this communication.”

"Do nothing, share the guilt." goutytophus

Your Email has been sent.
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Comment Preferences

  •  From all I've read they have no legal case. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rashaverak, AJayne, Mopshell, Lujane

    Federal lands will stay federal.

    I would look into the reasons behind the reasons. More than anywhere else those of us who live in the places that vote red have an opportunity to moderate the views of extremists.

    I talked to someone the other day who didn't even know what "Payments in Lieu of Taxes" were. 68 years old and that's where the lions share of his county finances came from.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:31:55 PM PDT

  •   any attempt by a county or state to force the (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rashaverak, 4stgrl, Karl Rover, AJayne, Lujane

    feds to turn over land is null and void, due to the supremacy clause. fed claims to the land trump state and state trump local. basically any land that is not specifically reserved for the state or local agencies or in private hands, it by default belongs to the feds. now if the feds wanted to force the states to turn over their land, due to the supremacy clause, then yes the feds could do that. it would be a huge PITA to enforce though.

  •  We are not asking members to become involved[.] (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leftleaner, Mopshell, Lujane

    Why not?

  •  If the Dems don't speak up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The rethugs are the only voice, and people don't know the opposing arguments. Even if you know it's futile, it's important to have the conversation.  

    Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Gabby Giffords.

    by Leftleaner on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:33:49 PM PDT

  •  May I ask (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llywrch, Lujane

    what was their reason for deciding to do this is?

     Having had the federal government as a neighbor for many years I can vouch that they are awful with zero regard for anybody or anything and seemingly no consequences or recourse when they screw up.

    So I often wonder if behind these seemingly wacky proclamations there is a very real problem that needs to be addressed.

    It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

    by PSWaterspirit on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 02:05:25 PM PDT

    •  in cases like this, theres really is no reason (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ypochris, Mopshell, llywrch, Lujane

      other than they want the land  in order to sell it to developers for a quick buck. if i may ask PSW, which federal agency owns the land next to yours?   agencies like the NPs and BLm have very small budgets given the amount odd land they have to manage. the blm holds 250 million acres, their budgets is just over 1 billion, so for each acre, they get 4 bucks. that doesnt leave much wiggle room in terms in responding to complaints or managing the land like it should. raising the agencies budget, which in turn will allow them to hire more people and devote time and resources to any problem areas, is the rational solution. good luck get that through the current House though.

      •  The forest service and national parks (4+ / 0-)

        My neighbor has just gone through a long battle over a tree he had removed that was leaning over his barn. The forest service claimed he had cut it off of pubic land and tried to fine him several thousand dollars. It was actually over 40 feet inside his property. He was forced to prove this, surveys and such costing him as much as if he had paid the fine.

        Given this it came as rather a surprise when they then decided it was a good idea to log on the hillside behind him.  This is the state of Washington where the amount of water running off a hillside with no trees makes logging a very bad choice. If this land was private ownership I am fairly sure there would be no permit or logging. With the federal government all things even bad ones can be possible. They have, after all, managed to contribute heavily to raising the bed of one of the local rivers 3 feet through poor logging choices of hill sides. I would like for them to have to go through the same permitting process anyone else has to go through before they can log a piece of land.

        This is just the latest skirmish in this valley. We have had many. Our county has only a small percentage of land in federal hands. Some neighboring counties have up to 80% this has strangled any possibility of a sustainable economy for them in the post federal timber years.

        This is why I wondered about the situation there. It seems like one of those desperate ill conceived moves one of our local counties might make because they are starving for employment.

        It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

        by PSWaterspirit on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:48:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  thank you for the reply. Yes logging in a rainy (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane, PSWaterspirit

          area is just asking for landslides like the big one that occurred a few weeks ago that they are still digging out bodies from. ah so it was one of those small bore issues that bureaucrats can be very very anal about. no one likes it when stuff like that happens, whether its the neighbor across the street or in your case the feds. during the Depression the CCC was put to work on public lands , creating employment for millions of people across the country, areas like that with high unemployment and high public land ownership are perfect candidates for a revived CCC. frankly given the stagnant unemployment, you'd think  doing something like that would be a no-brainer. there were over 30 camps in Washington state, all on public land.  the Corp was instrumental in creating hundreds of state parks across the Country, and  reviving it would do wonders to repairing the infrastructure in state and federal parks. everyone wins, the unempkloyment rate goes down,  economic activity picks up and  and open areas get some tender loving care,

  •  Uphill battle, but will win local support (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Agree that the county will likely not be successful securing federal land.  However, in a very extreme right wing controlled county they will win in the arena of public opinion.  This type of extremism is appalling to sensible people, but the far right hate the U.S. government so much that will follow those whom they see as raging against their enemy in D.C.

    While those who support this effort are generally militant, oppositions' response cannot be seen as strident because it is perceived by many as both sides are the same.  The tactic of those opposing this unhinged idea must use an approach that educates supporters of the  many downsides of such a venture.

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