Copngressman Jason Smith won't rest
Posted by: pblanc on Feb-05-14 6:36 PM (EST)
His latest attempt to circumvent by any means possible the ability of the National Park Service to manage and regulate the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, this time by successfully amending a bill up for consideration by the United States Congress, the Sportsmen's Heritage And Recreational Enhancement Act of 2013 or the SHARE Act of 2013:
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- Copngressman Jason Smith won't rest - pblanc - Feb-05-14 6:36 PM
I'd be happier if he|
Posted by: vic on Feb-06-14 1:07 AM (EST)
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Posted by: pblanc on Feb-06-14 4:01 AM (EST)
The bill has been passed by the US House of Representatives and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
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Posted by: gremmie on Feb-06-14 7:42 AM (EST)
of Technocracy. We live and die by the dictates of the machines and infrastructure man built on a river of oil and a bed of coal. Jason Smith is just a sad manifestation of how it -- democratic capitalism morphed into technocracy -- all goes down. We delude ourselves in thinking we live in a free democratic country anymore. "Freedom" has been skewed and manipulated in the defense of our identities and dependence on the machine which in the end tragically undermines real freedom and choice (if you dare to look toward the ends) by ensuring our pull into the gauntlet of the long emergency.
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money = free speech |
Posted by: castoff on Feb-06-14 9:15 AM (EST)
Now that money is freedom of speech those with the money have the most freedom to speak and speak the loudest. Most of the "speech/money" is aimed at making more money.
Yes we are now on the steep, slippery slope of an exponential growth curve and blindly racing headlong toward the limit and collapse of unsustainable growth for the sake of the few with the most.
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Posted by: Canuka on Feb-06-14 9:27 AM (EST)
that is the sad reality. Our owners have decided corporations are people and money is speech. These "people" like to "speak" a lot, but pay little or nothing in taxes. The level of corruption in this country is without precedent. Government is simply a tool of corporate power.
RIP, Freedom and Democracy. We hardly knew you...
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Rep. Jason Smith|
Posted by: HotelRoyale on Feb-06-14 10:34 AM (EST)
Jason Smith is such a tool! Like watching someone chew with their mouth open, he makes me sick every time he opens his yap and out spurts a collection of regurgitated pro-business cliches. But his constituents [well, those that voted for him anyway] lap it up like mother's milk.
He doesn't realize he's killing the goose that lays golden eggs by promoting more business activity along two of the most beautiful rivers in the country.
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Just to clarify a bit|
Posted by: pblanc on Feb-06-14 11:28 AM (EST)
for those who are too busy, or nauseated, to look into this further, the SHARE (Sportsmen's Heritage And Recreational Enhancement Act) of 2013 is a bill that has now passed the US House of Representatives, which was introduced last year by Representative Robert Latta (R) Ohio, intended primarily to protect the interests of sportsman, primarily hunters, fishermen, and shooters.
Among other things, the bill amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to exclude from the definition of "chemical substance", (1) any component of any pistol, revolver, firearm, shell, or cartridge the sale of which is subject to federal excise tax, including shot, bullets and other projectiles, propellants, and primers; and (2) any sport fishing equipment the sale of which is subject to federal excise tax and sport fishing equipment components.
The bill is also intended to protect access of sportsmen to federal public lands. It allows importation into the US of polar bear parts shot by hunters in Canada if documentation is provided that they were taken prior to 2008.
For more see:
What Jason Smith was able to do was introduce an amendment (Amendment 6) to the bill at the last moment (on February 3) which was one of 11 amendments successfully introduced. Smith's amendment requires the Secretary of the Interior to manage the Ozark National Scenic Riverways to allow the use of motorized vessels in a manner that is not more restrictive than the restrictions in effect as of November 21, 2013, but allows the Secretary of the Interior to manage the ONSR to allow the use of motorized vessels in a manner that is less restrictive than the restrictions in effect as of November 21, 2013.
This amendment obviously has very little to do with the original intent of the SHARE Act, is simply a last minute attempt at an end-run around the National Park Service's authority to regulate motorized vessel use in the ONSR, and if the bill is passed into law would "lock in" current motor vessel use in the park without regard to whatever the desires of a majority of visitors to the ONSR happens to be.
The bill was passed by the US House on February 5 with some bipartisan support in that 41 Democrats voted in favor of it along with 227 Republicans. No Republican members of the House voted against the bill. One hundred fifty four Democrats voted against. Four Republicans and five Democrats did not vote:
In order for the bill to become law it has to be brought to the floor of the US Senate for a vote, be passed by a majority of the Senate, and signed into law by the President. Considering the current composition of the US Senate and the results of the roll call vote in the House, this may well not happen.
Those who object to Jason Smith's political maneuvering regarding the ONSR do have the option of contacting their US Senators and asking them to vote against H.R. 3590 assuming it comes to a vote in the Senate.
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Safe Vote |
Posted by: gremmie on Feb-06-14 1:03 PM (EST)
for most senators is to pass it. Even many blue state senate democrats won't make a vote on assinine legislation like this their last stand. Too many gun loving constituents in their rural areas. They just passed the freaking farm bill fer chrisakes. They didn't pass any gun legislation. The recent budget bill they passed had all kinds of bad, non progressive, stuff in it. Why would they even bother to read this bill? I could contact them and get back some regurgitated file reply from an office staffer that has nothing related to my comments. Fork over some big bucks and they'll listen for sure.
But, Pete, thanks for the detailed info. Good work. What's up, you local streams froze up even down there in S. Hoosierland?
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maybe im wrong |
Posted by: yakjak on Feb-06-14 6:21 PM (EST)
But I feel hes just trying to do whats best for his voters...thinking of the guy who has a 25000 dollar investment in his fishing craft so he can guide tourist trout fishing to help himself eek out a living.. those proposed changes could have a profound effect on a means of income for the trout guide and may require a alteration to his equiptment costing several thousand dollars.. I dont Paddle there alot but have always been treated with respect from the motorized boaters. I think the riding stables are a boon to the local economy.. I feel like the area needs to be shared by all of us and we need to respect one another and our pursuits.
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Posted by: gremmie on Feb-07-14 8:44 AM (EST)
You ever heard of a fishing dory? Or wade fishing? Guides have all kinds of options including canoes for getting their clients to fishing water. They survived with wooden john boats without motors for many years.
Power boaters have access to plenty of other streams and rivers in MO. ONSR should be largely free of them in the upper stretches.
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Posted by: Guideboatguy on Feb-07-14 9:06 AM (EST)
... who's ever seen one of those boats being used by a fishing guide to "eek out a living"? That reasoning makes as much sense as that voiced by some of the boat users, that the jet boats need to be on the water to rescue capsized paddlers. The fact is, the boats are used for tearing up and down the river and virtually nothing else. If the river were shallower overall, people with that mentality would be doing the same thing in their 4x4 trucks (there are other places in this country where that's a well-established redneck sport).
Anyway, the whole argument for "local control" is a smoke screen to distract people from the long-established premise that national parkland is established and then managed with the goal of preserving unusual and special natural places, as best as that can be done while neither seriously restricting access nor loving the place to death, and also to distract people from the fact this is driven by nothing more complex than a right-wing anti-Fed idea which has nothing whatsoever to do with care for the environment.
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Posted by: thebob.com on Feb-07-14 9:38 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Feb-07-14 10:54 AM EST --
Anyone who has never paddled the section of the Jacks Fork(part of the ONSR), from Emminence to Two Rivers on the Current needs to do so.
If & when you do; you will see that the giant horse stable at Emminence has turned that section of the ONSR into a "sewer". The water from that "sewer" empties into the Current river at Two Rivers access.
So, in truth, the giant horse stable at Emminence is polluting 2 of the ONSR rivers.
There has to be some point where the pollution, and wanton destruction of the ONSR, for the sake of the local economy stops.
There ARE other things that people who live in that area could do; besides part time jobs associated with making money from the ONSR. That would require some motivation, and education on the part of those who whine the loudest. The FACT of the matter is; a lot more people in that area are more dependent on government handouts than there are on jobs associated with the ONSR. Don't believe me; do some research.
The smart kids "get the hell out of Dodge" as soon as they get out of high school.
Additionally, I think if you do some research; you will find for every fishing guide available for hire on the Current river, there are 100s of "jet boat jockeys" tearing up & down the river on weekends, with seemingly no purpose other than to go as fast as possible from point A to point B, and back to point A.
Those ultimately responsible for much of the destruction to the ONSR are those making the big bucks, and bottom line; that's what it's all about...........
Rep Smith is grandstanding for the locals & their votes. Their votes will assist him in getting reelected, and maintaining his position; which by the way, has a very lucrative retirement program.
Research how long a representative has to serve before he has a vested interest in their retirement system.
He's a latter day snake oil salesman; hustling the rubes.
"Show me the money"!
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boats on the Current and Jacks Fork|
Posted by: pblanc on Feb-07-14 10:56 AM (EST)
I have heard some local people make a valid point that not everyone who wants to cruise and/or fish the upper Jacks Fork and Current River is in good enough physical condition to paddle a canoe, raft, or kayak and should not be denied access to the waters for that reason.
I personally would not be opposed to allowing access to motorboats with a 10 hp gravel eating prop to the entire Jack's Fork and Current Rivers year round.
I would prefer not to see jet boats allowed on the relatively shallow stretches of the upper Current and Jack's Fork at least during peak season. These boats need to maintain planing speeds in shallow waters and are potentially competing with paddle craft for the channel, which I believe is inherently dangerous. I also object to the noise, but that is perhaps a more selfish sentiment.
I have avoided the Current and Jack's Fork on peak season weekends. When I hear a power boat coming I get out of the way, or make sure I quickly can get out of the way. Perhaps as a result, I have never had a "close encounter" with a jet boat. But I have certainly heard stories from people I trust who say they have had close or unpleasant encounters, or who have observed jet boat operators who appeared visibly intoxicated.
Of course, most of us have observed canoe paddlers who have been visibly intoxicated, and I myself might have qualified once or twice. But a drunken canoe paddler is not terribly likely to pose a great hazard to other individuals. A drunk jet boat operator is another thing. And we all know the the NPS enforcement of regulations has been sadly lax, so we can't count on them to keep or get those individuals off the waters.
Although I have not had grossly unpleasant encounters with power boaters on the ONSR I most certainly have multiple times elsewhere, especially in Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Not just instances in which the operators had absolutely no regard for my safety in a canoe, but instances in which I was buzzed multiple times at high speed in obvious attempts to swamp my canoe. Does the Current River and Jack's Fork somehow naturally select against individuals with this mentality? I suspect it does not.
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Posted by: thebob.com on Feb-07-14 12:00 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Feb-07-14 12:06 PM EST --
Nobody should be denied access to the river due to physical issues, or disability, which are beyond their control.
A 10 hp motor on a jon boat would fulfill that accessibility issue.
A rented raft, paddled by friends &/or family members would also fulfill that accessibility issue.
The wife of a paddling buddy of mine paddles her own kayak, and canoe. They also do overnights on the rivers where they paddle. She is wheelchair bound; no control over her body from the waist down. Didn't stop her from paddling the Current, Jacks Fork, Eleven Point,and Meramac river. Also didn't stop her from driving herself to her full time job, until she retired.
There is something to be said for motivation, and people's willingness to expend the effort necessary to fulfill their desires.
I doubt that less than 1 or 2 percent of the jon boat drivers on the ONSR have physical disabilities that would necessitate their being transported by jon boat.
If they are that disabled; it is probably NOT a good idea for that jon boat to be traveling at high rate of speed, for their personal safety.
Again, nobody should be denied access due to physical disability. I've never heard anyone advocating such a thing. I would oppose anyone who did.
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Posted by: al_a on Feb-07-14 11:10 PM (EST)
Look, there are simply things you can't do if you're disabled, unless you take extraordinary efforts to do so. I'm 61 years old, and I know that at some point in the not too distant future, I won't be able to do all the things I do now. That's life.
Waving the flag of giving the old, infirm, and out of shape equal access to resources like the Current and Jacks Fork should stop when it runs up against the fact that these uses really do harm the resource.
There is a video available http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uYcJcJwaZ0 which shows what the Current was like back before the Riverways was established. You'll note that they made a lot out of the difficult to navigate "chutes". Those narrow, fast, obstructed riffles had been there long enough to acquire names, yet now they are almost all gone, the spots where they once were are now wide and shallow riffles. Many pools have shallowed in as well. Locals make a big thing about there being too much gravel in the river and the feds won't let anybody dredge it out, but that gravel has been there a long time. The real difference is that there has been much greater bank erosion in the last 30 years...since the advent of jetboats. This bank erosion has happened to some extent on all the Ozark rivers that are big enough for jetboats. The likely cause is the wakes from these large, high speed craft pounding the alluvial banks. The wakes weaken and damage the narrow zone at water's edge, and even if they don't do huge amounts of erosion in themselves, they loosen that zone so that floods can attack it and tear it away much easier.
The bank erosion not only widens the river, but it puts more gravel in play. Take a look at most alluvial banks along the Current, and you'll see a layer of topsoil lying atop a thick bed of gravel. Erode the bank, and you lose that topsoil and more gravel is exposed, loosened, and pushed downstream.
So it really is a matter of protecting the resource, NOT just one of conflicting river uses.
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Posted by: gremmie on Feb-08-14 8:14 AM (EST)
"Current River was a much deeper river 100 years ago before gravel from denuded hillsides eroded into the streambed. Lumber companies also employed men to dredge the river and remove snags in the channel. “They could remove snags themselves, too, because you could buy sticks of dynamite back then,” Hastings adds."
Not to discount your point about boating impacts but lumbering was the major factor. Now, flooding associated with major storm events, which may be increasing in frequency due to climate change, could be the major contributing factor. Which only compounds our impacts on ecosystems and why we should be more sensitive to those impacts instead of militantly disregarding them (in mannish, power displaying, technological mode more fitting to warfare -- we see this everywhere -- jacked up pickups, assault weapons, clothing, "sport" machines, etc. I mean, WTF?) . We do now inhabit the anthropocene. In which if we were intelligently tuned to survival we would be selecting for humble, sensitive attitudes and powering down the energy curve instead of dystopian, in your face ones, that are the fashion and the rage. Yes, rage is the word. (as I look out the window for black helicopters, heheheh). We have created the environment that shapes us and it is getting pretty damned alarming. Wow, that is a long discourse on gravel, eh? Stone age meets digital age, round and round it goes.
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Posted by: al_a on Feb-09-14 6:33 PM (EST)
that logging originally put a lot of gravel in the rivers. But that doesn't explain the changes for the worse in the last 30 years. Theoretically, under Park Service management, the riparian vegetation is maturing, and the watershed, which is under more public ownership that probably any other stream system in the Ozarks, should be seeing less of the kind of clearing and development that puts more gravel into the rivers.
One also wonders how old all that gravel is that you see beneath the layer of topsoil along most of the cut banks. It seems like the entire bottomland along these rivers have that thin layer of topsoil and the rest is all gravel. Seems to me that at some point in the geologic past, there was a whole lot of gravel dumped into these streams.
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That is a fact.|
Posted by: Steve_in_Idaho on Feb-08-14 2:24 PM (EST)
I remember back in the mid-seventies, the MCA was pushing a scheme to build an aerial tram up to Yosemite Falls (and maybe more?). Their lame (sorry) excuse? "For the aged and handicapped".
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Posted by: gremmie on Feb-08-14 11:21 AM (EST)
can still get you the rivers largely to yourselves. Plan for weekdays in the off season, spring, fall or winter and you can still have a near wilderness like experience on both the upper Current and Jacks Fork.
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You might have the wrong impression|
Posted by: pblanc on Feb-08-14 3:37 PM (EST)
The ONSR is neither as degraded and crowded as some have made out, nor is it as pristine as some others have made out. There has been a lot of hyperbole thrown around.
I suspect that on a March trip now you would not encounter too many individuals on the water, especially if your trip did not extend into the weekend, and maybe not even if it did.
I have never had any unpleasant encounters with individual equestrians or fisherman. I try to give fisherman as wide a berth as I can. As for the equestrians, I think what most paddlers object to are not the individuals themselves, but their shear numbers during group rides and the fact that there is a facility in extreme close proximity to the Jacks Fork just east of Eminence that accommodates up to 3000 horses at a time.
To be fair, Cross Country Trail Rides has made some changes to their facility which has allegedly lessened their environmental impact. This spring I may paddle from Eminence down to Two Rivers to judge the water quality for myself.
Also some local equestrians seem to want to maintain the right to cut new bridal trails and make new stream crossings wherever they can and want, regardless of NPS regulations, insisting that this is their right by "heritage".
I don't mind seeing a reasonable sized group of riders on a trail paralleling the river, or even going across the river if the number of crossings is maintained within some reasonable limit. But I heard one person remark (and I believe it to be likely true) that most horses will do three things instinctively when they reach water: 1. Drink 2. Urinate 3. Defecate. Obviously, too much of this kind of thing will have a degrading effect on water quality.
I suspect that the majority of local people who use the rivers are quite reasonable people, but unfortunately during the recent debate over the NPS draft General Management Plan some pretty caustic and vitriolic remarks have been directed by a number of local loud mouths towards non-local visitors to the park. Unfortunately, these sentiments have not been alleviated by comments made by some local politicians, chief among them Jason Smith and Peter Kinder.
And there seems to be an anti-federal government mentality in the area (recently focused on the NPS) that really borders on paranoid hysteria. I have read quite a bit of Civil War history. Some of the recent xenophobic and anti-government rhetoric that has come out of Missouri's 8th Congressional District in various forums is eerily reminiscent of that of some of the fire-eating secessionists of the 1850s. Unfortunately, this extends to Congressman Smith, to a degree.
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thanks for clarifying all that,|
Posted by: tdaniel on Feb-09-14 6:21 PM (EST)
I hope the dialog in the Ozarks settles down to a productive level. I do understand how locals can feel left out by the nps and how their interest is being decided by "outsiders".
Its kind of amusing to me when the park service gives me "the once over" to see what I'm up to. They ask me about my experience, equipment when I'm putting on etc. The last three or four times I've gone paddling, none of the nps law enforcement/rangers have actually been down the river. I always ask them "what's your favorite part of the run?" Initially the nps made a real effort to hire locals but they've got away from that a bit more and their seems to be more turnover with people moving in and out of positions and more of an emphasis on law enforcement as time goes on. A few of the "river rangers" have been fixtures on the river for many years. All in all, I'm glad they're here on the New and Gauley Rivers. River access and water quality has improved because of their presence. The rivers have gotten more tourism exposure, which does help the local economy.
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Knew this was coming|
Posted by: pblanc on Feb-11-14 9:08 AM (EST)
Yesterday Jason Smith introduced a bill to the US House of Representatives intended to transfer the title and management rights for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways to the State of Missouri:
The bill states that since
"The National Park Service has begun to prevent members of the public from accesing the lands that compose the park"
"the Secretary (of the Interior) shall convey to the State of Missouri, for no consideration, all right, title, and interest of the United States in and to all Federal lands, facilities, and any other assets associated with the Ozark National Scenic Riverways"
and further that
"The Federal Government shall pay all the costs of the conveyance under this section."
Most of the property contained within the Ozark National Scenic Riverways was purchased with Federal funds. Now Smith wants that property to be given free of charge to the State of Missouri, which would be a complete betrayal of the US taxpayer, and more over that the cost of the transfer be picked up by the US taxpayer.
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once under state control|
Posted by: castoff on Feb-11-14 1:48 PM (EST)
Then the money interest will have much freer reign to do as they please. Imagine the local outcry if they had to raise property taxes to purchase the land. The same people who oppose federal welfare as a goverment give away seem not to. mind a goverment give away for their own interest. What about the deficit should the govement not get the fair market value to help lower the deficit. Can you say hypocites. And the beat goes on.
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Posted by: gremmie on Feb-12-14 6:56 AM (EST)
we have controversy now? Hand over ONSR to the MO Dept. of Conservation and they would be ruled by a state legislature composed of many GOP legislators who are as extreme or more so than this dude. They are intent on turning back or neutering federalism on many fronts.
What is riling many is the idea that just because they have spent a wad on a $25,000 machine or a $10,000 horse and a bundle on truck and trailer to haul the hay burner that somehow they have purchased free access to go any damned place their heart desires. And if anyone stands in their way and says, no, there are limits, there are boundaries where your machine and horse are not allowed, then they charge they have no access. Which is total bullshit. But somehow this has become so twisted in peoples' minds because their sense of identity is tied not only to those oil and hay burning conveyances but also to their sense of identity that comes with "mine", trumping any sense of responsibly sharing the commons by restraining one's own impact on that commons. This wild west, extreme individualistic attitude would not end with state control. Before long, they'd want to pass ownership to their counties, then their townships, then sell it all back to individuals and corporations and patrol it with their own posses. This is the way of "The Road".
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Typical lying politician, too.|
Posted by: al_a on Feb-11-14 9:53 PM (EST)
He wrote an editorial in the St. Louis Post Dispatch that, among other distortions, said that all three alternatives would close gravel bars to camping. Even though the Park Service has clarified over and over again that primitive camping on gravel bars would be unaffected.
I'm waxing nostalgic for Jo Ann Emerson after a few months of this a-hole.
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He's bad but mine is worse|
Posted by: vic on Feb-11-14 11:23 PM (EST)
Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri is an ass, but our Rep. Steve King of Iowa is an even bigger ass. We would all be better off if both of them returned to whatever the hell it was they did before they got elected.
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