Battle lines drawn–protect the environment? or protect national security?by Hugh Holub on Jul. 08, 2011, under border issues, politics
On July 8, 2011 the House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held a hearing Concerning: H.R. 1505, a bill to prohibit the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture from taking action on public lands which impede border security on such lands, and for other purposes.
The battle lines were clearly drawn between those who put protecting the border from the continued invasion of drug smugglers and illegal aliens ahead of stuff like the Endangered Species Act and wilderness area designations at the border…and those who believe environmental protection has at least an equal priority to securing the border.
The US Forest Service and the US Department of the Interior which control consider portions of the borderlands between Arizona and Mexico believe things are just fine as they now are and opposed HR 1505.
Border ranchers and an organization of retired Border Patrol agents thinks the environmental laws are reducing our national security.
An environmental lawyer warns that putting national security ahead of protecting the environment might have constitutional problems.
Here are some highlights of the prepared testimony at the July 8th hearing:
Gary Thrasher…Cochise County rancher:
…The ever-increasing deployment of border law enforcement personnel and assets to the more easily accessed areas within the 100 mile deep “border enforcement zone” progressively drives border incursions toward the less accessible and tortuous trails in rural areas where the terrain is rough and the environment inhospitable. These trails cross through our ranches, National Forests, Monuments, wilderness set-asides, reservations, and wildlife refuges. The cartels and petty gangs doing their dirty work now virtually “own” the “Sky Islands” and refuges of southern Arizona and New Mexico.
Smugglers today are more determined and potentially more violent and destructive than ever. They’ll do almost anything to protect their contraband, avoid being apprehended, and maintain “control” of their trails out of, and back into, Mexico. They’re outwardly hostile toward all U.S. law enforcement and authority, as well as rival “gangs” vying for the routes and contracts with cartels, and anyone else that might “get in their way.” Those of us that live and work in remote smuggling corridors are the most vulnerable. We are confronted with threats, damage & destruction of our property, theft, break-ins, and serious disruption of our necessary ranch work almost daily.
…As the distance along the border from the nearest town or population center increases, the distance between the border and the Border Patrol likewise increases. In many cases, this controversial “in-depth” Border Patrol strategy of deploying agents up to 75 miles north of the border leaves ranching families living in-between the border and the Forward Operating Bases of the Border Patrol. When we are near the border and are confronted by illegal border crossers, we are almost always out-numbered and “out gunned.” Law enforcement assistance is many miles and often hours away, that is, if we’re lucky enough to be in an area within range of communication. Our homes, ranches, and families are “sitting ducks,” our ranches are almost impossible to manage, and U.S. sovereignty of the isolated regions where we ranch is now all but lost.
…Apparently the loss of U.S. sovereignty in the region does not trouble David Aguilar, the Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He’s widely quoted as saying “the border is not a fence or line in the dirt, but a broad and complex corridor” and that “it is a third country that joins Mexico and the United States.” And if we don’t believe him we just “don’t understand the dynamics.” We live the dynamics, and live in that “THIRD COUNTRY.” Where should we be sending our taxes?
…Along the border, the regulations have crippled the proper management of natural resources and hindered the Border Patrol from doing their job as well. None of the agencies, including the USFS, BLM, USFWS, DHS, or BORDER PATROL, has the resources or time to execute NEPA and all the other regulations. While we “fiddle” with red tape, the “Sky Islands” everyone seems to want to protect, along with our ranches and livelihoods, are burning.
…Your esteemed colleague, and my district representative, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was courageous enough to visit with us personally at our ranches on the border and, guided by a rancher and mountain lion hunter, rode a pack mule into some of those inaccessible remote border areas . She was the first member of Congress to fully understand the gravity of the situation, and she’s made floor speeches in the House of Representatives trying to explain it all to you. She and her staff have arranged for a number of other Congressmen to take our “Rancher’s Border Tour” rather than just the Border Patrol’s usual VIP “dog & pony shows” and “fly-overs.” I think those that have taken “our tour” have seen the light. If you think I’ve exaggerated, come see for yourself. It’s a little slow, hot, dirty, and rough-going, but we’ll do our best to keep you safe, out of harm’s way, and fed. But once we get to the remote “open doors” in our border you’re not likely to see a Border Patrol agent anywhere nearby. Ask some of those that have made the trip.
Or, you could just believe David Aguilar. He challenges anybody “to ‘fly over’ the border and find a place where there are no agents.” I’m sure his “crew” will be your guide; they’ll show you what they want you to see. It’s no wonder the National Border Patrol Council has given him a “no confidence” resolution, the hard-working and dedicated agents on the ground know better….
Highlights from the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers’ testimony:
…Difficulties between land managers of areas designated as wilderness and Border Patrol officers charged with defending our borders are not exclusive to conflicts encountered when attempting to enforce the law. It is also evident when new memorandums of understanding, MOU are undertaken.
For example, a memorandum of understanding BLM MOU NM030-0703 provides for the installation, use, maintenance and termination of a key communication site on Big Hatchet Peak, located in the so-called “bootheel” of southwestern New Mexico. Readers of this MOU would be astonished to learn that routine maintenance of this critical communications site must be accomplished by foot access only during the desert bighorn sheep lambing season (January through April) and also in consideration for the lesser and Mexican long nose bats (June through October 15). If this wilderness study area is approved for wilderness designation, all equipment on that site must immediately removed, but only if such removal does not coincide and interfere with the time limitations listed.
There is no satisfactory substitute or alternate location for a communication site to replace the Hatchet Peak facility which serves communication needs for Border Patrol Agents and all other l law enforcement agencies within an area of approximately 1,000 square miles. This is only one example of the unacceptable disadvantage to law enforcement efforts and the on-going dangers of wilderness designations which are now in conflict with the security of our borders.
Current land managers in wilderness designations proudly proclaim their remedies for enforcement include:
(1) Establishment of collaboration between Border Patrol and Interior through regular meetings.
(2) Designation of a Public Lands Liaison Agent. (PLLA).
(3) Establishment of a Border and Management Task Force. (BMTF)
(4) An Environmental and cultural stewardship training task force to build on already similar training for Border Patrol Agents whose patrol activities include federal lands. (5) Creation of an alliance to combat transnational threats. (ACTT)
NAFBPO is well aware that none of these initiatives by land managers has in any way changed the disturbing “no human presence” mandated by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Federal Agencies who become owners/caretakers of public lands with these designations do not have legal authority to change the current restrictions in place that impede proper Border Patrol activities, nor have they indicated any desire or willingness to do so. As a consequence, these dangers persist and legislation continues to be introduced to add additional portions of this most restrictive of all federal land designations to our borders.
The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO) concluded a long time ago that without decisive leadership in Congress, little could be done to change the dangerous conflict between environmental concerns and national security. The introduction of H.R. 1505 “National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act” by Congressman Rob Bishop has finally provided that leadership…..
The Department of Interior opposes HR 1505:
….H.R. 1505 would authorize immediate access to the Secretary of Homeland Security to any public land managed by Interior for purposes of conducting activities that assist in securing the border, including access to maintain and construct roads, construction of roads and fences, use of vehicles to patrol, or the setting up of monitoring equipment. H.R. 1505 would also waive all environmental and land management laws within 100 miles of the international land and maritime borders of the United States for DHS activities that assist in securing the border. The bill lists these waived environmental and land management laws.
The Administration opposes H.R. 1505.
….In March 2006, Interior, DHS, and USDA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entitled Cooperative National Security and Counterterrorism Efforts on Federal Lands along the United States’ Borders. This MOU provides the Departments with goals, principles, and guidance related to securing the borders, addressing emergencies involving human safety, and minimizing the environmental damage arising from illegal cross-border activities on federal lands. The MOU contains provisions related to the development of an efficient means of communication, cooperative identification of patrol routes and operations, conduct of joint enforcement operations, cooperation in the development of environmental and cultural resources awareness training, access by CBP agents to federal lands along the border (including access in exigent circumstances), and guidance on construction and maintenance of tactical infrastructure. And it addresses expedited completion of environmental compliance documents, including documents required by the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Our goal is to provide flexibility and realistic options for patrol and infrastructure access to Interior lands by CBP while continuing to maintain an emphasis on protection of federal trust resources such as endangered species, cultural resources, tribal interests, national wildlife refuges, national parks, public lands, and designated wilderness. We believe the guidelines contained in the MOU have been effective in providing both Interior and CBP with the necessary framework to strike this important balance. This MOU has not in any way impeded or impacted DHS’s ability to protect the border, including in exigent circumstances. Since entering into this MOU, the three Departments have continually and successfully worked together to carry out the tenets outlined in the MOU at both the Headquarters and the field levels, and have worked to address concerns regarding coordination to continually improve our efforts to secure our borders while conserving the environment.
The deployment of CBP personnel, equipment and infrastructure along the southwest border has led to significant improvements in border security. We are very pleased with these improvements because of the enhanced security to our Nation, and also because these efforts lead to overall healthier conditions on Interior lands along the border. Many of the natural and cultural resources under Interior’s responsibility have been adversely affected by illegal activities due to accumulations of trash, establishment of illegal roads and trails, and overall degradation of the environment. By deploying personnel, equipment, and infrastructure, CBP operations have reduced cross-border illegal activity and the environmental impacts of this illegal activity in a number of areas.
During this deployment of additional border security resources, we have worked closely with CBP to avoid or mitigate impacts to the environment from CBP actions. DHS has worked closely and well with Interior and USDA to attempt to offset these impacts through mitigation and coordination with federal land managers to conduct field operations in a manner that avoids or minimizes the impact of those operations on federal lands. These mitigation activities have had no impact on the ability of DHS to protect the border.
The US Forest Service also opposed HR 1505:
H.R. 1505 would waive the requirement for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and some two dozen other environmental laws. In a practical sense it would allow DHS to build roads, fences, and towers and allow regular patrols on all lands managed by the Departments of Agriculture and Interior without consultation or approval of other federal agencies within one hundred miles of the International border.
As background, DHS carries out a number of its border enforcement activities on federal land. A 2006 Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) between DHS and the Departments of Agriculture and Interior outlines roles and responsibilities between the land management agencies and DHS regarding border security activities, including the construction of border infrastructure and law enforcement operations, including patrols. In 2008, DHS, DOI and USDA signed an MOU to bridge communication gaps and provide radio interoperability between Border Patrol agents and their law enforcement partners in DOI and USDA. Since the signing of the 2008 MOU, a primary repeater channel has been designated, and a common encryption key has been created and distributed to all Border Patrol agents and DOI and USDA law enforcement personnel. This interoperability is imperative to the success of our cooperative efforts along the border.
The DHS Secretary has utilized the waiver authority on five separate occasions to expedite the construction of needed border infrastructure, including border infrastructure on federal land. H.R. 1505, without the need for any further action by the Secretary of Homeland Security, would extend the waiver itself to all areas within 100 miles of the nation’s land or maritime boundaries. In addition, H.R. 1505 specifies that the waiver would apply to all DHS activities that assist in securing the border, including the construction of border infrastructure as well as patrol and surveillance of the border.
We recognize that there are still significant security and law enforcement issues along the border. To date in Fiscal Year 2011 approximately 7,000 undocumented aliens have been apprehended and 76,000 pounds of marijuana have been seized on or around the Coronado National Forest. Wildfires occur near the U.S./Mexico border where there is heavy cross border traffic. During Forest Service investigations of these fires a great deal of information is collected, much of which is inconclusive or circumstantial in nature. A specific cause for the fire can be determined in some cases and in other cases, a specific cause cannot be determined. Forest Service investigations may or may not conclusively identify a person or persons responsible for the fire. We have been asked specifically if fires are related to cross border activities. What we can tell you is that from 2002-2011 457 fires have been determined to be human-caused in the SW border area of the Coronado National Forest. Forest Service investigators have been able to identify the individuals responsible in 31 of those fires. Of those 31 fires, it was determined that undocumented aliens were responsible for starting 5.
Under the DHS/DOI/USDA 2006 MOU, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers and Border Patrol Agents have authority to pursue illegal activity anywhere on National Forests without receiving prior approval. Although, regular motorized patrolling is not authorized in Congressionally designated Wilderness areas, the MOU allows for motorized pursuits in exigent and/or emergency circumstances. Under this legislation, regular motorized patrolling would be permitted where physically possible. Currently, coordination and approval by the U.S. Forest Service (“USFS”) is required for road, fence and tower construction and maintenance on National Forest System lands. USDA and DOI are working with DHS to continually improve our coordination in environmental reviews of these types of activities.
Regarding interagency coordination, the U.S. Forest Service has taken important and effective steps. The Memoranda of Understanding previously mentioned were signed in 2006 and 2008. These MOUs are helping to enable interagency cooperation, improve radio interoperability, and increase efficiency while protecting the environment. USFS has made border security a priority and assigned thirteen sworn officers to the “Border Zone” of the Coronado National Forest. Relative to our law enforcement workforce, this is a significant commitment. Ten of those officers who work particularly close to the border are accompanied by canine units. In addition, the U.S. Forest Service makes all Forest Service Law Enforcement officers in New Mexico, Arizona and across the nation available to assist the officers who work on the border for special operations such as saturation patrols and drug interdiction operations. We regularly conduct joint patrol operations with CBP on the Coronado National Forest. And recently, we have been an active participant with CBP and Department of the Interior agencies in Operation Trident Surge joint patrol operations.
We have established liaison positions with CBP for both the Tucson Sector, based in Tucson, and for the Spokane Sector, based in Kalispell, Montana. The liaison positions are important for coordinating joint patrol efforts, facility development, environmental analyses, and long-term staffing needs. We are currently coordinating and supervising road maintenance work with CBP in National Forests in Southern Arizona to improve access and patrol capabilities for CBP. We are also a member of and actively participate in an interagency Border Management Task Force that, among other things, focuses on site specific problem solving as well as planning for the future.
USFS has routinely and expeditiously approved requests by DHS for forward operating bases, fixed and mobile surveillance structures, and road maintenance in the Coronado National Forest. USFS has granted these requests notwithstanding that the Coronado National Forest is home to the highest number of threatened, endangered and sensitive species of any National Forest in the continental United States. There are 25 listed threatened or endangered species and 162 sensitive species on the Coronado National Forest.
Border issues continue to be a focus and priority for the U.S. Forest Service. Recently, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell visited with CBP Tucson Sector Chief Randy Hill to examine the challenges first-hand. The most important objective is to have a safe, secure and accessible border region. Chief Tidwell recommitted the U.S. Forest Service to work expeditiously in assisting the CBP to ensure they have the support and access they need consistent with applicable laws.
In closing, securing our borders and addressing impacts to our public lands are both critically important goals that need not conflict. A well protected border means a better protected forest with diminished environmental impacts. Securing our border and protecting the environment go hand in hand. The U.S. Forest Service is continually improving our coordination with DHS and DOI to accomplish these objectives.
And John Leshy, an environmental lawyer, lambasts the House Republicans for even considering exempting the Department of Homeland Sevcurity from environmental laws:
…I do not underestimate the importance, or the challenges, of securing the nation’s borders from illegal entry. But this is the most breathtakingly extreme legislative proposal of its kind I have ever seen. I have grave concerns not only about its wisdom as a matter of policy, but also its constitutionality as a matter of law. I do not reach this conclusion lightly, but I firmly believe this legislation goes way, way beyond what is necessary and proper, in our constitutional system, to enforce the immigration laws.
The thirty-six separate federal statutes from which DHS, with its 200,000 employees and 55 billion dollar budget, would be exempt are our Nation’s bedrock environmental laws – the safety net that protects the environment and natural resources with which our country has been blessed. They include the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Administrative Procedure Act (providing for judicial review of actions by administrative agencies to ensure they are not arbitrary or capricious) and many other laws.
These statutes date back to 1899, and include statutes enacted in almost every decade since. They became law under more than a dozen different Presidents, of both parties. Collectively, they are the product of many thousands of hours of deliberation and discussion and compromise by many thousands of elected members of Congress. In nearly all cases, they became law with strong bi-partisan, near-unanimous support.
The statutes DHS would be exempt from collectively aim to protect clean air and water (including safe drinking water), safe disposal of toxic and solid waste, farmlands, forests, fish and wildlife (including migratory birds and endangered species), lands in the coastal zones, wild and scenic rivers, national parks, national forests, wilderness areas, and other natural resources.
H.R. 1505 would also exempt DHS from laws that protect the Nation’s symbol, the American eagle; religious freedom and exercise; graves and sacred sites of Native Americans; and archeological and historic sites and resources. (These laws — the Eagle Protection Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, the Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act, the Historic Sites, Buildings and Antiquities Act — are identified by legal citation, although their titles are, inexplicably, not included in the bill’s text.)
Collectively, these laws have been genuine success stories. They have worked effectively to improve the quality of life for all Americans, and to protect values Americans have traditionally held dear. Opinion polls have consistently demonstrated sustained, strong public support for them.
Section 2(c) of H.R. 1505 immunizes DHS activities from legal constraints over a large part of the territory of the United States – namely, all land within 100 miles of any border of the United States, whether it is the border between the U.S. and Mexico or Canada, or the maritime border along the coasts. Lands in the National Park System, the National Forest System, the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Landscape Conservation System, and other areas of protected public lands — open to enjoyment by all Americans — comprise a substantial portion of the lands in this 100-mile belt.
It bears emphasis, however, that the DHS exemption extends not just to federally-owned land, but to all land in this vast area — including state and privately-owned land. The area encompasses ten whole states, including Florida and Hawaii, and a sizeable proportion of many others. Nearly two-thirds of the American people live and work in this 100-mile belt.
Sections 2(a) and (b) of H.R. 1505 apply nationwide, and not just in the 100-mile belt along the borders. Thus the Interior and Agriculture Secretaries would have no right, on any federal land they manage anywhere in the country, to “impede, prohibit, or restrict” DHS activities to prevent illegal entry in the United States.
And the DHS Secretary shall have “immediate access to any public land” anywhere in the country managed by any agency of the federal government — including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Army Corps of Engineers and other units of the Defense Department, and all the myriad of other agencies that manage federal land.
The federal lands found across the nation comprise our crown jewels –our most iconic, culturally and biologically rich landscapes, including forested watersheds that supply most of our drinking water – and are the scene of many activities essential to our national and economic security. All are put at risk by this legislation.
The DHS Secretary, generally speaking, has no expertise in environmental or natural resource matters, nor with land management in general. This is worth emphasizing because some U.S. environmental laws give officials charged with implementing them some limited power to make exceptions, or to adjust their requirements in particular circumstances. The ESA, for example, contains processes for exemption or adjustment in areas like emergencies, disasters, and national security. 16 U.S.C. 1536 (g), (j), (p). This kind of flexibility has been justified on the ground that these officials have knowledge and expertise to make judgments about when flexibility in these laws is appropriate. H.R. 1505 does not rest on such reasoning. It simply, and crudely, elevates the goal of preventing all illegal entry into the United States above every other competing consideration, including otherwise applicable legal requirements and responsibilities.
H.R. 1505 is fundamentally at odds with the Founding Fathers’ vision of American government
The authority found in existing law for DHS to exempt itself from various federal laws is, as I have noted, much more narrowly circumscribed than that contained in H.R. 1505. Yet these provisions in existing law have attracted many critics, and almost no defenders, in the legal community, both as to their wisdom and their constitutionality. See, e.g., Kate R. Bowers, Saying What the Law Isn’t: Legislative Delegations of Waiver Authority in Environmental
Laws, 34 Harvard Envt’l. L. Rev. 257 (2010). Federal district judges have rejected constitutional challenges to the DHS waivers, but only after emphasizing their limited application to specific DHS activities regarding fence construction in specifically identified geographic areas. For this reason, these court decisions can hardly be construed as an endorsement of the vastly expanded exemptions H.R. 1 505 would provide. The Supreme Court declined to review the decisions, without stating any reason for its action. See, e.g., County of El Paso v. Chertoff, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83045 (W.D. Tex. 2008), cert. den. 129 S. Ct. 2789 (2009). Defenders of Wildlife v. Chertoff, 527 F. Supp. 2d 119 (D.D.C. 2007), cert. den. 128 S. Ct. 2962 (2008).
Four days ago, the Nation celebrated Independence Day, commemorating the 235th anniversary of the Declaration of American Independence to escape what the colonists regarded as the tyranny of George III. The Declaration recounted numerous instances of arbitrary and offensive action by that distant, unelected monarch. Among the examples it cited of his oppressive, unreviewable power over the colonists was this one: “He has refused [to consent to the laws the colonists had adopted, which laws were] the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”
Memories of George III’s capacity for unaccountable tyranny were still fresh when the Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia 224 years ago to draft the Constitution of the United States. In recent months we have heard much about the Constitution and the need for faithfulness to its principles. As a teacher of constitutional law, I heartily welcome giving attention to our fundamental charter.
In a famous passage, James Madison, a principal author of the Constitution, wrote that the “accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands … may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” Federalist No. 47. This concern inspired the constitutional framers to create a system that a leading constitutional scholar has described as “deliberately fragmented centers of countervailing power, in a vision almost Newtonian in its inspiration.” Tribe, American Constitutional Law (3d ed. 2000, p. 7). As Madison put the matter in Federalist # 51, the Framers’ method was to “so contriv[e] the interior structure of the government as that its several constituent parts may, by their mutual relations, be the means of keeping each other in their proper places.” On the importance of judicial involvement, Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist # 78, quoted the French philosopher Montesquieu: “[T]here is no liberty, if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers.” Hamilton went on to describe an independent judiciary “the citadel of the public justice and the public security,” and emphasized its importance in checking the “effects of those ill humors, which … sometimes… have a tendency … to occasion dangerous innovations in the government….”
The checks and balances the Founding Fathers put into our fundamental charter have provided stability and guarded against arbitrary exercise of power. As Chief Justice Burger wrote for the Court in INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 959 (1983):
The choices we discern as having been made in the Constitutional Convention impose burdens on governmental processes that often seem clumsy, inefficient, even unworkable, but those hard choices were consciously made by men who had lived under a form of government that permitted arbitrary governmental acts to go unchecked. … With all the obvious flaws of delay, untidiness, and potential for abuse, we have not yet found a better way to preserve freedom than by making the exercise of power subject to the carefully crafted restraints spelled out in the Constitution.”
The result of our grand constitutional experiment has been freedom and economic vitality that have made the United States the envy of the world.
Justice Scalia has observed that our governmental system must continually wrestle with how to allocate power in such fashion as to preserve the equilibrium the Constitution sought to establish—so that “a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department,” Federalist No. 51, p. 321 (J. Madison), can effectively be resisted. Frequently an issue of this sort will come before the Court clad, so to speak, in sheep’s clothing: the potential of the asserted principle to effect important change in the equilibrium of power is not immediately evident, and must be discerned by a careful and perceptive analysis.
Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654, 699 (1988) (dissenting opinion).
A careful analysis of H.R. 1505 shows that it is fundamentally inconsistent with the Framers’ vision. Linda Greenhouse, a distinguished legal commentator, recently called the limited waiver DHS has from existing laws “a deeply disquieting distortion of how the American system of government is supposed to work.” Legacy of a Fence, New York Times, Jan. 22, 2011.
H.R. 1505 would magnify that distortion many-fold. If by some miracle of time travel it could be put before those who framed and supported the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution for approval, I am confident it would be soundly defeated.
COMMENT: Enough Congress people have seen the open gaps in the border and know the border is not secure.
Maybe the solution is to shrink the zone to 20 miles and only on the land borders.
Also…no wilderness designations within 20 miles of the border, and no Section 9 ESA liability within 20 miles of the border.
I kind of suspect that the original framers of our Constitution, if confronted with an invasion from the western border of the United States (the Mississippi River) from the British or Russians, would not have required George Washington to do an environmental impact study of building forts, or worried too much if George’s army stepped on a few endangered fish in the Mississippi River…