July 24, 1980. Judge Miles Lord has ruled on three cases that have come before him.
Plaintiffs include the National Association of Property Owners, the Boundary Waters Alliance, the Ely Chamber of Commerce, the Lac La Croix Indian Band, Koochiching County, the State of Minnesota and others.
The defendants were the Secretary of Agriculture, the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, the Sierra Club, Izaak Walton League and others.
One of the cases asked if the federal government has the right to place regulations on property it does not own and also asks if the 1978 law violates the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842. One case claimed that the law discriminates against disabled individuals. And the third case stated that the 1978 BWCAW law did not go through then National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) before the law was enacted.
Sitting in the court room as an attorney for the Sierra Club during the hearings were Reid Carron along with his wife Becky Rom.
Miles Lord ruled against the plaintiffs in all three cases, stating in the third case that “First, the Secretary’s function as the Administrator of the Act and the actions which his Department engages in through the implementation of the new Act are not “major federal actions” within the meaning of § 102(2)(C).” And even if it were “the court noted that the main purpose of an EIS is to help the federal agency involved to make an appropriate decision on an agency project. In the BWCAW Act case, the Congress wrote and passed the Act congressionally—it was not an agency decision. Therefore, while the Secretary must enforce the congressional Act, he had no ability to change it. As a result, preparation of an EIS was not applicable.”
Fast forward 32 years to 2012. Now Mr. Carron is crying foul because HR 5544 does not use NEPA for this proposed land exchange. Well, HR 5544 is not a Department of Agriculture decision, it is a congressional act and Reid should know this considering his involvement in the 1980 court cases.
In fact, HR 5544 specifically states that this act “is not a major federal action,” thereby covering any possible lawsuits which might come about due to this law passing.
Reid goes on to complain that the counties lose money under the Thye-Blatnink Act. Thye-Blatnik payments are based on an appraisal of the lands in the wilderness, yet the USFS testified in the Natural Resources Committee hearing that it would take up to four years to appraise the state land. So how have the counties actually been compensated for the last 34 years?
Carron also claims that this bill is not about the kids. If this bill is not about the kids, then why did Grace Keliher of the Minnesota School Board Assoc. testify in favor of it? She testified because she was part of the working group (including Betsy Daub of the “Friends”) that sought to work out an exchange with the USFS and after two years she “grew to believe it was virtually impossible.”
In September of 2010, the Superior National Forest exchanged 3,619 acres of Forest Service land outside of the BWCAW for 2,854 acres of Lake County land that was locked up in the wilderness area. Where was the uproar??? Reid and his “friends” did not even comment on the Rifle Land Exchange.
The School Trust Fund lands were created to generate revenue for our schools. This was not actually a giveaway by the federal government, as the states had to give up the right to tax federal lands in exchange for these acres. Now it is the federal government that has locked up Minnesota lands so that they cannot generate revenue for the school trust as they were intended to do.
Tom Rukavina outed Reid Carron’s true reason for opposing HR 5544 and now Carron calls it “yelling.” Really? Guess the truth hurts. Reid and his “friends” have had a hay day over the years suing the feds over snowmobile trails, timber sales, roads, portages, and a cell tower. Anything that might benefit the “sherpas” of NE Minnesota has been opposed by Reid and his “friends.” They can’t do that with state lands and that’s the real reason for the opposition.
Reid and his “friends” have a need to stir up controversy regarding the BWCAW because without that controversy, there would be no reason for their organizations to exist. And by the way, sherpas are the ones who carry the heavy equipment up to the top of the mountain for the convenience of those climbers that get credit for the ascent. They are the ones who will carry a dead body down from the peak if it is a paying climber who has succumbed while having to leave fellow sherpa corpses on the mountain (Google “what does a Sherpa do?” and read the ABC interview of 2003 or the National Geographic article of May 2010). They may be noble people (and what human being isn’t), but the fact is that they are the forgotten when it comes to those with the funds to hire them.
Tommy wasn’t degrading hard work, he was just pointing out the fact that maybe those of us living in NE Minnesota would someday like to be the paying climber and that not all of us should be pouring coffee and folding t-shirts for the rest of our lives for tourists.
Finally, Reid, you’ve gotta stop relying on Wikipedia for your info. It’s not a reliable source (and we in NE Minnesota know that).
I urge all to contact our senators to get going on a companion bill for HR 5544.
Fall Lake Township, Minn.