Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Letters to the Editor

April 3, 2014

Crying foul

JACKSONVILLE — What an amazing bit of gerrymandering in the opening lines of an article posted by Fox News this morning. The article: “Critics cry foul as feds place lesser prairie chicken on threatened species list” began with the first line with: “The Obama administration on Thursday announced plans to place the lesser prairie chicken on a list of threatened species...” and was quickly followed with: The Fish and Wildlife Service's decision, set to take effect around May 1 ... ”

There are so many red flags of presidential mandate and special groups’ involvement in this announcement I hardly know where to start. When proclamations of coming laws are preceded by high sounding ideals and platitudes used before to pass onerous laws (Can you say “spotted owl”?) which, after their passing did more harm than good, we, the people should immediately be concerned.  Do not get me wrong. I believe that if there is indeed a threat to the lesser prairie-chicken, then The Fish and Wildlife Service should take all necessary steps to protect them, but when The Fish and Wildlife Service becomes a political arm of any administration, spouting political hyperbole and passing laws that should be approved by congress before they are implemented, we the people should take action.

Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe was quoted as saying:  “Biologists say a major problem is that prairie chickens fear tall structures, where predators such as hawks can perch and spot them. Wind turbines, electricity transmission towers and drilling rigs are generally the tallest objects on the plains.” He failed to designate specific sources or studies for his conclusions. The history of The Fish and Wildlife Service is replete with success stories. “Geese And White-Tailed Deer Were Once Rare” (Robert Krulwich--On Science) as were buffalo, passenger pigeons and oysters and with proper husbandry all these and more were restored.  Not a highline, not a derrick, not a windmill was involved in their decline nor their comeback. As far as hawks and other predators, they will hunt whether there is a perch to watch from or not!

When the law is passed then the oil companies and the electric companies must spend millions to advance their cause (bring prosperity and energy independence to America), to build new facilities, (generating stations and transmission lines) call them nests if you will, (wells and pipelines pumping black gold to us all) and to defend their rights. All this activity makes America a stronger and independent nation. It is only right that due diligence be given before starting down this path blazed by special interest groups again.

Instead of killing the goose which lays the golden egg, we need to encourage her to choose her nest sites carefully, pay particular attention to her house (nest) keeping and to leave the courtyard as pristine when she leaves as when she arrived.

Calvin Howell


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