In 1968, during the Viet Nam War, AP Correspondent Peter Arnett attributed a quote from an American Army Major after the destruction of the Vietnamese Village Ben Tre, “It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it.” This quote, which is still controversial, was repeated frequently by the anti-war protesters as an illustration of the lack of logic in the Viet Nam conflict.
Today, this is also official policy and business as usual at Whatcom County as they require property owners to destroy wildlife habitat and wetlands in order to save the wildlife and wetlands. Last Friday I visited with a property owner – Joe Remenar in North Whatcom County near Blaine. Not far from the Martin property which I discussed in this post a few weeks ago.
Joe retired from the Department of Justice as a former special agent working with drug interdiction who had done overseas tours in places like Afghanistan. He purchased a small property and home not far from the Canadian border in Whatcom County. Enjoying the views out his back deck, he decided to improve the wildlife habitat on his property. He didn’t apply for a grant or take taxpayer dollars, he just spent his own time and money to improve the habitat for the birds, amphibians, insects, and other critters by building a pond. He was careful in his pond construction. He did not interrupt the flow of a stream (also known as an “instream flow” violation). The State Fish and Wildlife biologists reported that his pond was a clear and obvious wildlife enhancement project.
He was justifiably proud of his accomplishment and it changed a field with little habitat into a pond with nesting geese, feeding grounds for great blue herons, and other wildlife in the area. However, he made one crucial mistake – he did not get permission from the Central Planners at Whatcom County. For this crime against bureaucracy, he was going to be punished. As further proof that the Nanny State isn’t just a thorn in everyone’s side, but it is also a thoughtless, rapacious beast – the geniuses at Whatcom County led by Whatcom County’s lead Central Planner – Lyn Morgan-Hill (no relation to the author), demand that Mr. Remenar must destroy the pond and wildlife habitat in order to save the wildlife habitat. This was the solution only a dedicated Central Planner could invent and justify. Just to be clear, of course – Mr. Remenar would also have to pay one of the “preferred” consultants approved by Whatcom County to create the plan on how to fill in the pond.
Like most people, Mr. Remenar doesn’t want to destroy the wildlife habitat on his property. He wants to save it, but the Central Planning mindset at Whatcom County has only one plan, and Whatcom County’s plan is not required to make sense. The faux environmentalists who attack property owners like Mr. Remenar never have to say they are sorry or even have a rational reason for their actions. They just inflict harm on property owners like Mr. Remenar and care little about the consequences. To Central Planners like Lyn Morgan-Hill, it makes sense to destroy the environment in order to save it.