Possible action consideration summary:
Based on the turnout numbers and comments of the home-building
industry representatives, I suggest that this business sector is in the
biggest need (among attendees) for technical and compliance assistance
from our peers.
Background: Cooperative conservation:
Executive order facilitation of cooperative
conservation (note EPA is involved, as is Council on Env. Quality):
The Omaha session was 5th in 24 such
How the session operated:
The session began with a group recitation
of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Director Hall - http://www.fws.gov/offices/H.DaleHall.htm
- opened the session with remarks that indicated an interest in how the
feds could encourage conservation and respect property owner rights. The
goal, as reported by Omaha World Herald reporter Nancy Gardner: "If
we do this right, (regulations) should decrease," he said, because
landowners would voluntarily be doing "good deeds." He
suggested the way to do this would be found by answers offered to the five
suggested questions that were given to the attendees on a card they received
upon entry. These questions are:
can the federal government enhance wildlife habitat, species protection,
and other conservation outcomes through regulatory and voluntary conservation
can the federal government enhance cooperation among federal agencies and
with states, tribes, and local communities in the application of environmental
protection and conservation laws?
can the federal government work with states, tribes, and other public-
and private-sector partners to improve science used in environmental protection
can the federal government work cooperatively with businesses and landowners
to protect the environment and promote conservation?
can the federal government better respect the interests of people with
ownership in land, water, and other natural resources?
Written responses can be offered by
stating "Listening Session Comments" in the subject line and
sending to Beth Duff, contact info here:
These will supposedly receive equal weight to the recorded spoken
Everyone was given a card with a number,
and the questions, as they entered. Testimony was given by cardholders
in numbered order. At 2 minutes, a signal was given the speaker,
and another 30 seconds allowed. The moderator cut off eveyone
promptly at the end of 2.5 minutes.
Time began after giving name, name spelling.
Group affiliation and town affiliation was also requested.
Tip: A good use of time used by
many was to thank the Director for his time prior to offering their name
and name spelling.
98 cards were issued in Omaha.
Session started promptly at 1. There was a short break ~ 2:15
- great time to network. We were done ~3:50.
The most representation by any one interest group was the Home Builders
Associations, developers, and their attorneys. They seem most aggreived
by the fines imposed on their industry by EPA (their words) for failing
to meet new storm water regulations. Their suggested action is to
have EPA (I guess) build up its staff in order to do inspections during
construction and "red tag" (stop) construction until the regulatory
inadequacy is met. Based on their turnout numbers and comments,
and my view of the low probability that any environmental agency will quickly
restructure their enforcement program to offer this kind of help, I suggest
that this business sector is in the biggest need (among attendees) for
technical and compliance assistance from our peers.
Local agencies and organizations asked
for more federal dollars to continue the good work that was being done
so well under the existing system. Specifically mentioned was LIP,
the Landowner Incentive Program, about which I know nothing.
NGOs emphasized the need for more funds
for environmental education, the worth of the Endangered Species Act, and
questioned the wisdom of drilling for oil at Teshekpuk Lake (that was me,
actually, as a concerned citizen and former north slope resident).
Individuals spoke for and against the
water level management plan in the MO River. Others stated simply
that their land was their land, individual property rights supecede
the need of the rest of society to work through government to ensure safe
drinking water, clean air, or a world as rich in natural resources for
our children as it has been for us. (OK, they didn't use these words
exactly, but you get the gist.)
Lincoln Journal Star story: