Wednesday, November 24, 2010

FEIS, Good Compromise? I Think Not!

Yesterday, the Virginian Pilot published an editorial that proclaimed the FEIS as being a good compromise. That article can be found here:

I don't know if they will extend the character limit or nuke the reply entirely. In any case, here it is.

A good compromise on Hatteras driving, I should say not!

The fight for access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area began long before the now infamous presidential executive order 11644 signed by Nixon in 1972. In fact, the Park Service originally intended that Hatteras and Ocracoke be set aside as primitive wilderness, in complete conflict with the 1937 legislation establishing the Seashore. The Park Service’s new proposed plan is also in direct conflict with that legislation and a healthy dose of other federal statutes designed to guide NPS and other federal agencies in their management decisions.

I received my copy of the FEIS (proposed rule) Thursday the 18th of this month. The scales at the post office put this two volume, 1000 plus page document, at 8 pounds 12 ounces. And in spite of my hard earned knowledge of the subjects at hand, I have only just begun to digest this federal work. I have seen enough already to know that what has been presented in this editorial is flawed and often not fact based.

The new rule does not bring predictability to the Seashore except what areas will be permanently closed to both pedestrian and ORV use. The remaining areas will still be subjected to confusing seasonal and nesting closures as they have for the last three years. The proposed new parking areas will not assist anyone in accessing the remote portions of the islands and in fact will eliminate access to significant portions of the seashore to mobility impaired persons such as me. If you study the FEIS you will see this. And if you look beyond the published FEIS, you will also see that the reported economic impact of the Consent Decree, somewhat mild in comparison to the proposed rule, has been white-washed by NPS in their thinly veiled attempt at “putting lipstick on a pig”.

Mr. Luzzatto, When I called and spoke to you yesterday and received your blessing to extend beyond the 750 character limit, I neglected to mention Carter’s E.O. 11989 (1977) and the Park Services’ reliance and use of this order in order to justify these immense, proposed closures. This E.O. requires that NPS determine that “considerable adverse effects” either will be caused or are being caused by ORV’s before an area is closed to ORV use. To date, NPS, neither USFWS nor the various environmental groups have been able to demonstrate anything even remotely approaching “considerable adverse effects” as a result of vehicular access to the Seashore. Instead we are confronted with hundreds of pages of speculation, out of date studies, USGS protocols that were “peer reviewed” by the authors, and it gets worse. One study within the FEIS concerns bird behavior in South Africa, perhaps just a short ferry ride from Ocracoke.

A compromise this FEIS is not. Instead it is a significant derogation of the congressionally mandated mission of this Seashore that will negatively affect the lives of tens of thousands of people from all over this nation, many of whom have visited here for generations, as well as those of us that live here. Without the ability to show “considerable adverse effects”, NPS proposes to change the entire nature of this seashore and our environment. This is not a compromise; this is a tragedy unfolding before our eyes.

I encourage Mr. Luzzatto to come and visit Hatteras Island to see and hear firsthand what this proposed rule will mean to the residents and visitors to this island.


Happy Thanksgiving Y'all :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Yep, Dr. Gill, We Have Radios

Back in the day, when I was a spry 10 year know, back when we had to walk to school and back, in a blizzard, up hill both ways, a bunch of my neighborhood friends began to join the Colonial Williamsburg Fife and Drum Corps which meant, of course,  I had to join as well. It was an experience and privilege that in many ways, set the tone for much of the rest of my life. I was part of the last of what was then, and apparently, is still now referred to as "The Old Corps".  It was an incredible learning experience. Demands and expectations were extremely high and at times the experience itself was downright brutal.

But you're talking about a bunch of kids from Williamsburg, Virginia that are routinely called upon to greet dignitaries from home and across the globe. The list is long and through the adept hands of some that I had the pleasure to march with, it grows ever longer. Nixon, Ford, Carter, Hirohito (WWII Japanese Emperor), Sadat, Began, are some of the folks we played for while I was in the Corps.

For a taste,

(probably my all time favorite tune, York Fusiliers, is on this video...last tune)

Anyhow, that led to a long stint of working for the foundation essentially presenting and teaching part of the history of colonial Virginia and a as yet, unformed nation.

You cant spend 17 and a half years talking about and pseudo-living in the 18th century capitol of Virginia without at some point becoming amazed at the army of citizens that banded together to defeat an army of tyranny.

They were, for the most part, poor, ill equipped, under fed and under funded. But they prevailed because they stuck it out.

Many years ago I was a guest in the home of a remarkable historian, Harold Gill. His son Hal and I had been in the Corps together and now worked at the Geddy Foundry in Colonial Williamsburg reproducing 18th century, brass, bronze, pewter, and silver objects. The purpose being to educate the public and preserve the trade as it was practiced at the time.

As we all had a mutual interest in the War For Southern Independence (1861-1865) we began a discussion about Gettysburg. The question was, if you could take any one thing back to that battle, what would it be?

My response was a battery of 105mm Howitzers to march a line of fire toward the Federal lines. The thought being, you probably wouldn't have to kill anybody cause they'd run...

His response was radios.

I've never forgotten that response and the thoughts and message that came with it. Communication would have changed the course of the war.

Its been many a day since I donned my great coat and buckled shoes to carry a basket of newly finished bronze and silver down Duke of Gloucester Street within sight of the spot where Virginia became the first colony to declare independence from Britain.

Is it any coincidence that years later I find myself embroiled in, and teaching about, yet another struggle involving a tyrannical government and their dishonest allies? Perhaps, but this time it's not about what happened in the past. This time it's happening in real time, right in our own back yard.

The oft repeated phrase "the more things change, the more they stay the same" comes to mind. Lets examine the constituent elements.

One relatively poor, underfunded, barely organised citizen army, check!


Several overly funded, law breaking, "treaty" breaking, overzealous divisions of a tyrannical government, check!

And three divisions of unscrupulous "for profit" allies (think Hessians during the Rev War), check!

I think that pretty much sums it up.

Except this time, we have radios.

One of the most difficult parts of our years long fight for freedom and preservation of access at the Seashore has been communicating the truth and reality about what has been happening on these Islands. We sit and watch the mainstream media ignore all that we tell them while they take any utterance from the NPS and their allies to be gospel.

We suffer as Derb Carter stands in front of Judge Boyle and proudly proclaims that he and his ilk have stopped all progress on legislation that would restore management of the Seashore to levels more akin to those intended by the Congress as they established this place and the media doesn't blink; the true story remains unseen.

But, we do have radios.

Back in '02 as I was completing my university level course work to acquire certification as a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, we explored the workings of the Internet and learned about a theory called "the 12 degrees of separation".

The concept is that I/we, know somebody that knows somebody, that knows somebody that knows...etc and that virtually anybody in the developed world could be contacted via a chain of about 12 people.

So we're in a war for freedom and access and the Internet becomes our radio. And the more we post and re-post, the more we share our story and successfully encourage our friends to do the same, the more people are exposed to the travesty of lies, broken promises, and broken laws.

Since we cant get the help of mainstream media, it's up to us to take it to the people. We have at our disposal, facebook, for example. A free form of communication that enables us to quickly and effectively spread the word about what befalls us. Lets use it to our advantage. The "dark side" does.

It works! Let me share a letter I got just the other day via that very venue.

"Jeff, after learning more about the FEIS, I got to asking myself "What could I do"? I know its gonna take a boatload of cash to battle the dark side. There has got to be something that I could do from all the way up here in Ohio. Today alone I wrote a letter to President Obama and Jimmy Buffett. I've written letters to congress, state reps yadda yadda yadda... But I still feel the need to do something! I thought about having some sort of fundraiser up here in Ohio, but have no clue on how to pull that off. I've been involved with many charity/fund raising events in the past, but they were all local. How could I grab the attention of northeast Ohio, and get them to give a damn? Almost every day I see a car with an OBX sticker on it, and I bet the majority of the drivers of those cars have no clue what is going on down on HI. I ask you because you seem to be very knowledgeable, and you are one of the few who are on the front lines of this battle. I'm gonna keep racking my brain up here in the Buckeye State, meanwhile, if you think of anything that I can do from up here, let me know...

Thanks Wheat,

So what I ask and propose is that when you see a post about access, the bridge, or even the continuing hypocrisy of the "dark side", post it, share it, and strongly encourage your friends to do the same.

If all of us do this all of the time, the word will get out and maybe one day, it'll fall into the right hands and begin to raise some eyebrows so that something may be done to end this tyranny.

Yep, we've got radios Dr. Gill.

Tight Lines,



Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hypocrisy Redefined

Well folks, daylight savings time is upon us once again and already Christmas commercials begin to fill the airwaves. Shorter days and cooler waters bring the Drum and Stripers we think about all year, and the days of shorts and t-shirts become few. And now that the Anglers Club Tournament is over, the Islands will begin their passage to a turtles pace while we still seek gifts from the sea along these narrow ribbons of sand.

And we wait to see what befalls us this winter as the attempt at destroying the legacy, culture, and future of this magnificent Seashore continues.

The shocking part of it all, is that all of the things I mention above have been consistent for years. Winter I understand and expect, but this incessant drive to rob us of these beaches is not only amazing, but well beyond irritating.

I was cutting and salting baits for the tourney the other day and during a break I came upon a post on facebook from the Greystone Project which took my ire at those that seek to wreak havoc upon us to an entirely new level.

We've all seen hypocrisy before but Audubon, or Auto-ban if you prefer, has now redefined the term. Were there a Nobel Prize for Hypocrisy they would surely prevail. And knowing their thirst for money, would pursue.

The first time I was floored by their hypocrisy was when I watched a 60 Minutes segment by Leslie Stahl that talked about Caspian Terns that were breeding on a dredge island in the Snake River. This "species of least concern" was/is decimating the U.S. taxpayer funded, hatchery raised, micro-chip implanted, endangered Salmon. The birds eat so many of these salmon that USFWS has employees rake through the bird poop on the island to recover as many microchips as they can.

USFWS decided to trap and relocate the birds but Audubon sued to stop them and prevailed.

They sued so that a non threatened, non endangered bird that breeds worldwide, can continue to decimate an endangered species.

This year takes the cake.

We all know how Audubon has sold their property in Corolla. You know, the one they were supposed to preserve as primitive wilderness in perpetuity and never paid taxes on. And they sell it for high density development to include hundreds of retail outlets..

But at the same time they reject the proposed seven mile bridge in Currituck claiming that it will bring to much development to the very same place they sold their property, specifically for high density development.

They also complain about potential storm water run-off harming wildlife in the sound on a new Currituck bridge while at the same time advocating a 17 mile span to get from Bodie to Hatteras Island;  all the while opposing the 3ish mile short bridge option all together and helping to put human lives at risk though we hear nothing about storm water run-off and harm to wildlife on that monster span.

Huh? What?

Now these folks have upped the ante!

The Greystone Project post that sent me into tantrums and caused me to swear like a sailor for about fifteen minutes marked yet another milestone in the definition of the term hypocrisy.

Now Audubon wants to sell oil and gas leases in their privately owned "nature preserve" where they openly state that 36 species of bird are in decline. But as we've seen before, when it comes to nature vs. profit, in this case, potentially huge profit, Audubon is going for the cash and nature takes a hike.

And this is happening while Defenders of Wildlife and the Southern Environmental Law Center are suing BP for the gulf oil spill.

These are the people that want us off these beaches even though they cannot show that we impact wildlife and ignore the USFWS "Finding Of No Significant Impact" issued in 2007.

Here's the link to the article posted by Greystone:

I can't help but shake my head in dismay.

At the same time, I'm inspired by their idiocy as they have openly revealed themselves for who they truly are and confirmed what we've been saying all along. The oft used statement "it's not about the birds" rings more true now than the bells of Westminster Cathedral and Notre Dame combined.

This new profit seeking venture must have been cleared by Defenders and SELC as well, for we see no mention of a potential lawsuit to stop these proposed drilling leases. Will they profit also?

I know this much is certain, If Dare County were to propose an exploratory drilling platform at the Fresenden Center to fund the upcoming lawsuits necessary to force NPS to obey the laws extant and return this Seashore to the people, SELC would be standing at the courtroom door waiting to file an intent before you could bait a hook.

Lets all hope that Audubon and their co-conspirators are given the national media thrashing they deserve for all of these actions.

Perhaps the new Congress will also lend us a hand and finally allow passage of legislation that will forever end this 30 plus year fight for free and open access to the nations first National Seashore Recreational Area.
And also, with the first Republican House and Senate in North Carolina since the late 19th century and Bassnight out of the "sit on the fence and do nothing" mode, we can look forward to resolution assisting not only access but the new bridge as well.

Write these people, pressure them to act, and do not relent.

Remember also that the time for us to act to preserve access draws nigh and funding is needed for the legal expenses that will come with that action. I urge all that read this to take the time to assist the Outer Banks Preservation Association in raising the necessary monies. Please log on to to find out how and where you can help. Every dollar that goes into the legal fund helps us regain that which has unlawfully been taken from us, and helps to preserve this Seashore for future generations.

Tight Lines,