Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Sagebrush Rebellion" in Oregon

The voters in eastern Oregon's Grant county (7,800 residents in a county the size of Connecticut) passed a measure restricting U.N. intervention in their affairs:

Welcome to Grant County, Oregon: A ‘U.N.-free Zone’

It's not as kooky as it might sound, they have actual reasons for fearing direct interference by the U.N. in their county:

[...] The measure was sparked by residents who worry that the U.N. might designate land in Grant County as a "United Nations World Heritage" site or a Biosphere Reserve, which would provide the U.N. a foothold into the county and lead towards greater regulation of remaining private land.

While that might sound crazy to some in the county, who believe the new law will make them a laughingstock, voters passed the measure 1,326 in favor to 959 against. Herb Brusman, who drafted the measure, told the East Oregonian, "It basically was a statement to be made. . .The less we have contact with (the United Nations) the better."

Fear of U.N. control is not uncommon for many Westerners who are quick to resist any perceived government intrusion — foreign or domestic — into their independent way of life, which they feel is in danger of extinction.

Farmers, ranchers and loggers are constantly faced with increased land and water restrictions on behalf of the snail darter, spotted owl or whatever’s next on the Endangered Species list. Westerners are skeptical of government scientists whose findings are later disproved -- with alarming regularity — or shown to have been manipulated.

Last summer, irrigation water was cut off to 1,400 farmers during a severe drought in the Klamath River Basin near the California-Oregon border to protect endangered salmon and sucker fish. This bankrupted many valley farms, cost the regional economy more than $130 million, and almost led to an armed insurrection; Federal agents had to be called in to stop farmers from forcing open the head gates to the river. In the end, a report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) found "no sound scientific basis" for the government's decision to cut off the water. In fact, the report suggests that high river flows in the Klamath Basin might actually be lethal to the salmon.[...]

(bold emphasis mine) As if that's not bad enough, there's more, an investigation conducted by the Department of the Interior proved that federal and state wildlife workers submitted false evidence of endangered lynx habitat in order to enforce restrictions on land use. Read the whole thing. It made me angry, because I see similar BS happening around here too. We live in Sagebrush territory, it's the only "culturally sagebrush" part of the US West coast. I support the "Sagebrush Rebellion", count me in.

Pat told me at breakfast this morning that he also posted about this, his link is here:

Oregon county declares itself a ‘U.N.-free Zone’

UPDATE 05-21-08: It's been pointed out to me that this article was originally posted in 2002. Well I never claimed it was breaking news ;-)

It's still relevant today, as the issues it brings up continue to be of concern to many rural Oregonians. The "sagebrush" culture is still alive and kicking... and unfortunately, so are the attempts by government to smother it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Better late than never!!