Speech on floor of Congress
Federal Bureaucrats' Rule-Making
Says Gibbons, Is Strangling the West


copyright 1997, Electric Nevada

Runaway rule-making by bureaucrats managing federal land agencies is beginning to strangle America's Western states, Nevada congressman Jim Gibbons told the U.S. House of Representatives this week
Unconstitutional usurpation of Congress's legislative powers by Department of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and others has produced an increasingly monstrous bureaucratic dictatorship under which Westerners are struggling, said Nevada's Second District representative in the Wednesday speech.
The usurpation, asserted Gibbons, has become "so powerful and hurtful that it cripples the economy, puts a stranglehold on businesses and farms, destroys livelihoods and families, and yet seems unstoppable."
In the speech -- published Thursday in the Congressional Record under the title, "BLM Bullies" -- Gibbons said federal agencies operating in the western states are effectively depriving citizens in those states of their liberty.
"Americans are no longer free," he said. "They are chained to the dictatorship of bureaucratic monsters. It is time for Congress to stand up for its constitutional rights and the protection of the American people."
"This is exactly what I and the Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands intend to do tomorrow when we bring the BLM and the Department of the Interior



before our committee and the American people."
In the subcommittee hearings on Thursday, Gibbons confronted high Bureau of Land Management officials with an incident he'd reported on the House floor the day before (
see full text of Congressional Record statement).
In the account of a 1994 New Mexico incident given by Gibbons, shot-gun-wielding BLM officers had acted like abusive, lawless thugs. It was an example, suggested the congressman, of what Americans can expect if Bureau of Land Management policing plans go forward.
Broader law enforcement regulations were first proposed by the federal agency for itself last year. Eventually, this spring, under heavy political pressure from Western congressmen, Secretary Babbitt withdrew the proposed new rules. However, recently he and other agency officials have been asserting that current regulations authorize broad police powers for the agency in Western states.
In Thursday's hearing, the BLM's top law-enforcement supervisor, Hord Tipton, responded to Gibbons' account of the 1994 New Mexico


 
incident. The individuals arrested by the BLM, said Tipton, had been under surveillance for alleged grand theft. And after the adults told their story to a federal grand jury, he said, federal authorities had successfully prosecuted them on perjury charges.
Gibbons though, did not relent. He called for Congress to make the federal agency shift the $12 million it currently budgets for police activities to other responsibilities.
"The proposed law enforcement regulations are an attempt to vastly, and in most cases unconstitutionally, expand the BLM's law enforcement authority by increasing the number and types of actions which may result in the violations of law and substantially increase penalties for violation of such regulations," said Gibbons in his statement Wednesday.
"It becomes very evident that these power hungry bureaucracies have designated themselves unconstitutional




police powers without having proper authority or training. The agents are turning into bullies with little respect for public safety or property."
Addressing -- as is the custom -- the speaker of the house, Gibbons said "Mr. Speaker, no longer are Americans free. They are chained to the dictatorship of bureaucratic monsters. It is time for Congress to stand up for its constitutional rights and the protection of the American people."
Federal agencies, he said, are now using their rule-making authority so incessantly it has "begun to put a stranglehold on the Western part of this country to the extent that it may never breathe again."

-- Steve Miller

Full text of Gibbons statement


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