(Preface: Mr. Wayne Ross is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association. He is a lawyer and lives in Anchorage, Alaska.
On Saturday, November 3 at the Board meeting, he led the revolt against HR 701, CARA, nicknamed the Condemnation and Relocation Act.
Here is the text of the speech that he delivered - see ACTION ITEM at end to THANK Wayne Ross for taking the lead! )
The so-called CARA legislation is not what it seems, my fellow Board Members.
Disguised as legislation to set aside federal revenues to purchase lands to add to the national conservation systems and to enhance protection of wildlife habitat, CARA is, because of the many amendments too numerous to mention, now a "bureaucrat's dream."
However well intentioned, the pending legislation has little to do with the original intent by the sponsors. Consequently, what we are now faced with is legislation which gives a blank check to the bureaucrats in the federal and state agencies with which to take private lands away from our country's citizens.
As you know, I come from Alaska where we already have well over 150 million acres - - ladies and gentlemen - - that's 150 million acres - - of National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, National Wilderness Areas and other conservation units.
Over one half of that 150 million acres is closed to hunting because of being in a National Park or just because it is inaccessible by any means other than foot. We don't need more lands in federal or state ownership in Alaska; we don't need more lands closed to hunting or mechanized access.
The Alaska Native Corporations own lands over which the Park Service and the federal and state bureaucrats salivate daily. They want more land to add to the Parks, Refuges and Wilderness. Every federal land management agency in Alaska and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources already have lists of lands they want to acquire from private owners. Some of the money from CARA will undoubtedly flow to take these lands.
I do not believe for one minute that the supporters of this legislation would knowingly do further harm to the right to private land ownership in America, or further enhance the federal and state government's abilities to take private lands away from Americans. Yet, that is precisely what the CARA legislation, if it is enacted into law, would do.
Do not be misled into thinking that every one of these acquisitions will be on a "willing seller" basis. CARA gives the government agencies the ability to condemn those lands.
They would first have to get the approval of Congress, so we are told. Witness what happens every year now in that process. The agencies deliver a list of wanted lands to Congress. The list then sits and gathers dust till the last week of the session and then zoooom - - the list is attached to some bill, which may or may not be germane, which no Member of Congress reads except those who want to acquire more private land or who have a political stake in a deal, and it's done!
The land owner faces the threat of the federal government taking his land, so he is left with no choice but to sell. That's NOT a sale by a "willing seller."
We have all witnessed the scandalous and reckless use of Pittman-Robertson funds by the Fish and Wildlife Service under the previous administration. There is no reason to believe that this will stop just because Congress passes the CARA legislation. On the contrary, what has in recent years been a "slush fund" will now become a "slop bucket" with no bottom in it through which more and more private lands will be taken from private ownership and added to the National Parks system, to the National Wilderness System. And folks, much of it will be closed to hunting. And that's not just in Alaska; it goes for all 50 states.
Is that what we, the National Rifle Association, want to support?
Not me! And not you, I don't believe.
The NRA should support honest conservation and habitat protection efforts. We should not support bigger slush funds. We should not support efforts to take people's lands through threat, intimidation and pressure. And we should NOT support this legislation.
I urge my fellow board members to vote to place the NRA four-square opposed to the passage of this legislation and we should urge President Bush to veto this legislation if it is passed by the Congress.
(And THANK YOU Mr. Ross, for leading the charge in support of constitutional rights and against pork barrel spending and land seizure!
THANK Mr. Wayne Anthony Ross for his leadership role in parking back the NRA's support for the disaster CARA bill. He can be reached at:
Law Office of Ross & Miner
327 East Firewood, #201
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
ALSO - all NRA Directors are elected to the Board and serve three year terms. If you are an NRA member, please make sure and VOTE FOR Wayne Anthony Ross next time he is up for election to the Board.)