Relief Report #63: March 20, 1998

Last December, Stephen Tvedten of Marne, Michigan received a terse letter from Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) informing him that he was in violation of the state’s Environmental Protection Act. His alleged offense? Building two “wood debris” dams across an outlet stream to Spring Pond. “The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding at downstream locations,” wrote David L. Price, District Representative of the DEQ’s Land and Water Management Division. “We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all unauthorized activities at this location and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the strewn channel.” Tvedten would have been only too happy to oblige the DEQ. The only problem is, he had nothing to do with the dams. Had officials at the DEQ used an ounce of common sense, they would have realized that the dams were constructed by beavers, not by Tvedten. The construction materials — wood debris and brush — should have given them a clue. In a tongue-in-cheek response to the DEQ, Tvedten wrote, “I would like to bring to your attention a real environmental quality… problem: Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the dam beavers alone.” For more information on this story or other regulatory victim stories.

1998 Wise Use Leadership Conference Slated for April 17-19The 1998 Wise Use Leadership Conference will be held April 17-19 at John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Reno, Nevada. Each year the Wise Use Leadership Conference brings together some 100 leaders of the Wise Use Movement, a grassroots movement made up of property rights, farming, ranching, logging, and mining organizations dedicated to wise use/sound management of the nation’s natural resources. The conference gives these leaders the opportunity to network and share ideas and strategies. This year’s conference promises to be one of the most ambitious ever. The program will feature Congressional Insight, a fast-paced, performance-oriented game that immerses participants in the real world of a federal legislator. Congressional Insight is one of the best tools available for teaching grassroots activists what it is really like to be a Congressman or Senator, making them more effective in dealing with their legislators. Also on the program will be Wise Use Movement champion Congressman Helen Chenoweth. A block of rooms is being held at the Nugget at the special rate of $88 per night but only until March 20. Hotel reservations can be made by calling 1-800-648-1177. Registration costs for the event are as follows: $50 per person before April 1, $75 per person after April 1 and $100 per person at the door. Think tanks, companies or individuals interested in co-sponsoring the event or securing a spot on the agenda should contact Ron Arnold of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise @ 425/451-3959.


Group Unveils Top Ten Reasons to Oppose Kempthorne’s Endangered Species Recovery ActThe Competitive Enterprise Institute has developed a list of top ten reasons to oppose Senator Dirk Kempthorne’s Endangered Species Recovery Act (S. 1180). Some of our favorites: 1) The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation,” but S. 1180 provides no compensation for regulatory takings, just or otherwise; 2) S. 1180 authorizes the federal government to impose regional and state-wide Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs), which are nothing more than vast centralized zoning schemes that operate as legalized extortion rackets. HCPs force landowners to pay the government for permission to use their own land, in the form of land, money, or both; 3) If S. 1180 becomes law, the GOP-controlled Congress will have enacted an explicit federal land-use planning law for the first time in our nation’s history; 4) S. 1180 authorizes the Interior Secretary to “withhold or limit the availability of data requested” under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The FOIA exemption will put landowners and regulated communities at a severe disadvantage, in effect preventing them from challenging the regulations foisted upon them; and 5) S. 1180 is endorsed by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. For a complete “Top Ten” list, contact the Competitive Enterprise Institute @ 202/331-1010 or

New Releases from The National Center for Public Policy ResearchForthcomingEarth Day 1998 Fact Sheet. Three-page, quick reference paper providing all the information one is likely to need for Earth Day 1998. The fact sheet provides a brief history of Earth Day, a summary of environmental progress since the first Earth Day, a list of myths and facts about the environment, an overview of the rising costs of regulations since the first Earth Day, and several notable Earth Day quotes.

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