From Ron Ewart (rymes with “Stewart”), President, the National Association of Rural Landowners:
The evolution of the environmental movement in America, and throughout the world for that matter, has seen an amazing and alarming increase in its scope and its power. It started with the laudable goal to clean up the waste that had been dumped into our eco-systems by people and industry. Dumping waste and pollutants into rivers, lakes, the ocean and wetlands was an obvious wrong and had to be righted. But then a strange thing happened. A mindset or paradigm shift took place, first in the backrooms of the environmental movement (they smelled money-government money-our money) and then by hype and propaganda, began to invade the psyche of the entire culture, but mostly in large urban centers. Environmentalism had morphed into a cult in just a couple of decades. But the rural folk, who were the target of this growing radical insanity, remained unaware that danger was approaching.
This mindset was aided and abetted by government and the news media, to the point that now little children are brainwashed into thinking that we must save every wetland on the planet and send our economies back into the dark ages to stop man-caused global warming. Fear, intimidation and propaganda are the tools the environmentalists use to warp the minds of large sections of the world population, including our children, from Kindergarten on up through college. Corporate America has bought into the myth of radical environmentalism with enthusiasm. They also smelled money. Think and act “green” or suffer the direst of consequences is the byword, truth be damned.
As a result, huge volumes of environmental law have been added to the huge volumes of other laws, with the single goal, “protect the environment at any and all costs”, lest ye die. Environmental law takes precedence over all other law, including constitutional law and property rights. Violate the environmental “law” and the consequences are almost worse than burglary, robbery and murder. The prosecution of environmental law has been vigorous, swift and very punitive, in order to send a clear message to the poor serfs owning rural land that they better capitulate to the “God of Green”, or else. Horror stories of abusive environmental prosecutions (persecutions in effect) litter the rural landscape, which brings us to the corrupt, illegal crucifixion of Paul.
Paul, a small rural landowner in Pierce County, WA, made the unfortunate mistake of living next to a neighbor from Hell. Paul was working his land, doing a little ditch clearing and burning, as any responsible landowner does to maintain his property. But a neighbor didn’t like what Paul was doing, so he called the planning authorities and reported that, God forbid, Paul was doing something drastic against the environment. The planning authorities came out and looked at what Paul was doing, said it was OK and went away. But that wasn’t good enough for the neighbor from Hell. He kept pressing the planning authorities and finally those authorities manufactured environmental violations against Paul. Since Paul thought what he was doing was legal and had obtained permission from the authorities to do it, he decided to fight them. But the authorities’ (local government) response was, how dare Paul defend himself against the almighty government. They converted what was an alleged civil violation into a criminal act, remanded him to a district court, that under state constitutional law had no jurisdiction in the case and set about to prosecute Paul to the Nth degree. The district court judge trumped up five contempt-of-court charges against Paul and threw him in jail for 30 days for each violation, for a total of 150 days. Had it not been for Paul’s brother, he would have rotted there for the entire 150 days, unable to defend himself. But Paul’s brother was able to get him out on a writ of Habeas Corpus in a little over 60 days, at least for the time being. So Paul persisted with his legal defense as best he could and he has been thwarted at every turn by a corrupt prosecutor, a district court judge and now a superior court judge who seems to find some perverted pleasure in driving Paul into the ground with legal mumbo-jumbo.
Paul’s alleged crime was clearing out a ditch in a wetland. The wetland designation to the area in which Paul was digging, was added after the fact, in collusion by the prosecutor and the planning director. The prosecutor trumped up a crime and was able to obtain a search warrant from a judge, giving the authorities the right to trample all over Paul’s property in search of anything they could find. The prosecutor actually changed and added criminal charges against Paul, five different times. The district court judge continuously denied Paul’s motions. The court clerk would lose Paul’s legal filings.
This case has so many areas of prosecutorial misconduct and appealable issues that the prosecutor, the judge and those that colluded with them, should be in jail themselves. Now their game is cover up. The perpetrators are very aware that they have denied Paul of any semblance of due process and are out to cover up their crime by continuously denying motion after motion. If they prevail, Paul will go to jail for another 90 days and have to pay a fine of $1,000.
This story isn’t over yet, but when it is, Paul will have the last laugh because some of these government types are going to look very sheepish in front of appellate or supreme court justices when the facts come out. And the facts will come out.
But Paul and his family have paid a terrible price for allegedly breaking an environmental law and then having the audacity to challenge the alleged violations against him. We can only hope that when Paul prevails, as he should, he will extract a huge pound of flesh from the authorities who abused his rights and from an electorate that would allow these injustices to continue unabated.
We applaud Paul’s persistence and his inflexible drive to protect his rights, as every American should, against an abusive, out-of-control government. If we all just roll over and play dead for a government who has lost all allegiance to the Supreme Law of the Land, we might just as well snap the lock on the chains that bind us and throw the key away, where it will never be found.
For those of you, individually, collectively, or in the legal profession, who have a desire to help Paul in any small or large way, (yes, there really is a Paul) please contact us by e-mail and we will let Paul know of your desire. He needs your help.
NOTE: Don’t forget NARLO’s “Declaration of Rural Independence” event for the week of July 4th, 2008. For details, visit our website at www.narlo.org.