Government?s first duty is to protect the?people, not run their lives.?? Ronald Reagan
Let?s see what tips the scales for?your typical federal bureaucrat.?Ah, here is an open window into?the mind of one now. Let us look?in.
It is March, and for nearly a year the?Baker Water and Sewer General Improvement District has been trying in?vain to get permission to replace its leaking 250,000-gallon municipal water tank?on a tiny 30-by-100-foot tract of Bureau of?Land Management-controlled land. The?leak poses a threat to fire safety as well?the risk of bacterial contamination of the?town?s sole water supply.
But the safety and health of the 100 or?so homes and businesses that use thewater have been weighed and found?wanting when compared to the potential?perturbance of greater sage grouse, even?though the Interior Department said the?birds did not warrant being listed under?the Endangered Species Act and are still?legally hunted in Nevada.
The town of Baker must jump through?hoops to assure the federal bureaucrats?that anything they do to assure their?own safety does not disturb a chicken?sized bird with a showy mating ritual.?This was on display at a recent meeting of the White Pine County Board of?Commissioners, as recounted by The?Ely Times.
The commissioners were attempting?to referee between the tiny town and the?mammoth and intractable federal agency.?BLM Ely District Manager Michael?Herder was also present.
?We?re here to address any issues,??Herder told the commissioners and?representatives of the water district.
Asked if the water district could begin?construction to replace the tank by May?1, Herder?s reply revealed just where his?agency?s priorities lie.
?If we meet the criteria,? he was?quoted as saying. ?Realistically speaking, biologically speaking, it?s in the best?interest of the sage grouse if the new?tank is completed and the old one removed in one season. If we can limit the?time period that both tanks are in place,?that?s what we?re looking for.?
Herder added under further questioning that, ?Our attorneys are already?looking at it. Completion in one year is?very appealing. As long as there is a net?conservation gain, it?s doable. We still?have to do bird surveys before construction can happen, but Baker GID can?qualify for exceptions to expedite the process, as long as there is a net conservation?gain. We?re confident it?s not going to be?an issue. After the end of the nesting season, there?s between a week and a month?before construction can start.?
But in December officials said the?BLM?s delays in approving the project?could jeopardize its state loan underthe Federal Safe Drinking Water Act,?without which they could not afford the?replacement. They also said the BLM?is asking them to complete a 12-month?project in only four months.
There you have it. People are an invasive species to the federal bureaucrats,?encroaching on their pristine range. The?health and safety of the citizenry is of?no concern if it ruffles a single grouse?feather. ? TM