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Killing us gently

By Henry Lamb
web posted February 10, 2003

While some of us try to focus attention on how our national sovereignty is being usurped by the United Nations, the strength of our sovereignty is being sapped at home, by an army that claims to be protecting the environment.

National sovereignty is meaningless unless we have the power to exercise it. Our power comes from our ability to produce the goods and services required to do what we believe has to be done. Day by day, decision by decision, policy by policy, we are losing the ability to produce what we need.

Our strength as a nation requires food, and fuel. Our ability to produce these essentials has become less important than protecting a red-legged frog, or a sucker fish.

Food producers are being forced out of business. Klamath farmers may yet not survive the lawsuits filed by environmental organizations to protect the sucker fish, long considered to be worthless. Ranchers are systematically being moved off the range in order to preserve more wilderness, and protect weeds, wolves, and prairie dogs. And, it gets worse.

Consider the hamburger you buy at the supermarket. Typically, the red meat is imported, because producers can buy frozen, boneless, red beef from other countries for about 30-cents per pound. Red beef from American producers is much more expensive, because American ranchers must pay for the environmental, labor, and safety requirements imposed over the years. Foreign producers are rarely bothered by such requirements.

American beef processors buy red beef at the lowest possible price. Then by adding the white fat trimmings from expensive American beef, and grinding it all together, the hamburger can be sold as "American" beef. The consumer never knows that the hamburger on the grill is really quite multi-cultural in origin.

Meat producers in America are vanishing. Farmers are vanishing for the same reasons. Food producers in America are vanishing. A vital component of our sovereignty is being transferred to foreign countries. We are becoming dependent upon other nations for our food supply, where we have no control over the quality, nor security against possible contamination by terrorists.

Increasingly, our energy comes from outside our borders. ANWR (Alaska National Wildlife Refuge) represents the battleground between environmental protection and domestic energy self-sufficiency. ANWR cannot supply all our energy needs, but had we tapped its reserves years ago, when the proposal was defeated by the environmental lobby, today's dependence on foreign oil would be significantly reduced.

We have domestic energy resources, including nuclear power, which could free us from dependence on other nations. Instead of using our own resources, environmental organizations, through their incessant propaganda, lobbying, and support for like-minded politicians, are sapping the strength out of our national sovereignty.

Even our military is not immune. Training has been curtailed to avoid disturbing turtles. Whales may be inconvenienced by further development of sonar equipment. A locoweed may be trampled by troops training to defend our nation from terrorists, so environmental organizations file lawsuit after lawsuit, to further sap the strength of our sovereignty.

Environmentalists' pressure to ban asbestos may have contributed to the Challenger disaster, and to the collapse of the World Trade Center. The environmentalist-inspired ban on Freon may have also contributed to the Columbia disaster.

Environmental organizations have become a legion of leeches, attached to every part of the body politic which is our national sovereignty.

Congress has the power to pluck these leeches from our national body, if they are forced to do so by the people whose vote put them into office. ANWR will surely come to another vote. Environmental organizations will again sing their tired old song about "pristine wilderness," which in reality is frozen tundra. When Congress votes, it will not be about wildlife and wilderness; it will be about the strength of our sovereignty.

Congress must also confront the issue of food production: either reduce the expensive regulations required of American producers, or prohibit the import of food that is not produced in compliance with those same requirements.

Congress must also exempt military operations from interference from environmental organizations.

Failure to recognize and forcefully address these internal issues of national sovereignty, has already reduced our strength and increased our vulnerability in a world that grows more dangerous every day.

The "save the planet at all costs" mentality of the environmental movement is much like the wrongheaded mentality of Lincoln's physicians: while the leeches suck, they are killing us gently.

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization, and chairman of Sovereignty International.

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