Federal Agency Officials Attempt to Drum Up
Popular Pressure on State Water Engineer
By Don Bowman
copyright (c) 1997, Don Bowman
|In an action that Eureka County, Nevada officials are calling unethical, the U.S. Forest Service appears to be attempting to influence a State of Nevada legal officer in state water hearings.|
USFS paid to have a public appeal published in at least
two newspapers -- the Death Valley Gazette and
the Tonopah Times Bonanza.
Assistant U.S. Forest Service Supervisor Monica Schwalbach, in the published ad, called for the State of Nevada to "integrate contemporary values with antiquated laws" and -- after a long recitation of the federal agency's position in the currently-recessed Monitor Valley Water Hearings -- solicited letters to State Water Engineer Mike Turnipseed. Three federal attorneys and a host of supporting staff already represent the USFS in the hearings.
"The important thing," says Schwalbach's ad, "is that the people of Nevada do believe it is important to keep the water in the streams so that our fish have a place to live and our deer, birds and butterflies have a place to drink."
The letter then says that people care about ranchers too, but believe that water is "not for the single dominant use of livestock grazing."
Schwalbach called upon people to write Turnipseed and express their views regarding water.
Wild game and fish have flourished and
agriculture since the introduction of livestock in
Nevada. But in recent years the U.S. Forest Service has
sought to use those concerns to nullify long-recognized
private property rights on federal land, legal rights in
many cases established by private usage even before the
USFS was established.
rights at will, as they
now seek, the very existence of western ranching and
mining is at risk.
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