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You can’t say President Clinton didn’t warn you.
He did. Last July 4th weekend, there were reports in both the Los
Angeles Times and The New York Times quoting top White House officials
that the administration would go over the heads of Congress to achieve
its goals by legislating through executive order.
The most stunning, chilling and arrogant of the declarations came
from shameless Clinton aide Paul Begala, who said in his own hip-hop
brand of proto-fascist newspeak: “Stroke of the pen, law of the land.
While the White House was forced to take one step back from this
unconstitutional policy of legislating by executive fiat with its
suspension of Executive Order 13083, it has taken more than two steps
forward since then.
The latest abuse of power is Executive Order 13112,
Clinton issued Feb. 3. It may be a little arcane at first glance, but be
warned: There is plenty of room for mischief here by an executive branch
consumed with consolidation of virtually unlimited power.
EO 13112 deals with “Invasive Species.” It will undoubtedly be
applauded by environmentalists who believe the only real protection of
natural resources that counts is the kind that emanates from Washington
with all the coercive authority of the federal bureaucracy.
This order directs federal agencies not only “to prevent the
introduction of invasive species” but “to provide for restoration of
native species and habit conditions in those ecosystems that have been
invaded.” Fully implemented, such a plan would require nothing less than
massive governmental land use planning and controls.
As usual, the devil is in the details — and the definitions.
According to EO 13112, an “invasive species” is any “alien species”
whose introduction could cause harm to the economy, human health or the
environment. An “alien species” is defined as “any species that is not
native to that ecosystem.” And “ecosystem” is defined as “the complex of
a community or organisms and its environment.”
Under such broad definitions, this executive order once again
literally empowers the federal government to seize property, eradicate
animal and plant life, introduce animal and plant life and manage public
and private land virtually anywhere, anytime it deems appropriate.
Think about it. What is a “native species,” and what is an “alien
species”? Are dogs and cats native or alien? Are wheat, rice and
domestic livestock native or alien? What is an ecosystem? Is it not
anything from the entire planet to a puddle of water in your back yard?
Interpreted broadly, such an order might call for the eradication of
most palm trees in California. It might call for the reintroduction of
grizzly bears and wolves in much of the country. It will almost
certainly require severe new restrictions on ranching and farming. It
could require the evacuation of private homes built on so-called
In other words, this executive order sets up yet another brand new
bureaucracy in Washington to play God.
That new deity role will be managed by the Invasive Species Council,
comprised of the secretaries of State, Treasury, Defense, Interior,
Agriculture, Commerce, Transportation and, of course, the administrator
of the Environmental Protection Agency.
This council is to set up a management plan in the next 18 months,
and, interestingly, the scope of the order is not limited to federal or
government lands. These folks have been authorized to cook up a scheme
to manage your property.
And if you want to take this order to its logical extreme — which
you can pretty much count on with federal bureaucrats — the ultimate
“invasive species” is man himself. Isn’t that the ultimate goal of the
radical environmentalists — to restrict and limit the activities of
human beings? Isn’t this where the agendas of the population-control
activists and the environmentalists coincide?
Once again, a sweeping executive order has been issued by the White
House with no notice by Congress, a sleeping press or constitutional
activists. Nearly two weeks have elapsed and there is little notice, let
Congress doesn’t even have a mechanism for the systematic review of
executive orders. Many members continue to pretend that executive orders
by the Clinton administration are being used for their designed purposes
— to manage executive branch activities, rather than as legislative
tools to bypass Congress.
Well, I think it’s time to take the Clinton administration at its
word. The executive branch has challenged the legislative branch, defied
it, usurped its constitutional authority.
By law Congress has 30 days to overturn or reject executive orders.
This one, like so many others issued by the Clinton administration,
cries out for repudiation.
Otherwise, Paul Begala will be right when he says, “Stroke of the
pen, law of the land.” And that is not cool. That is dictatorship.