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The design of the American governmental system is unique when measured against all other systems, and specifically that power is vested in the people through a doctrine codified in Article X and called “Consent of the Governed.” If we don’t like what the Federal government is doing, the Constitution gives us the power to change it.
The Executive Branch of government is configured such that County officials have the prerogative to shape, guide and participate in its decision making – a daunting task, but one worthy of the undertaking. Proliferation of Federal Executive agencies has created walls, access impediments and provided Federal personnel with the notion their decisions are final and cannot be challenged – unless expensive [and uncertain] litigation is pursued.
KNRC’s Show Us The Law and Courts Don’t Make Law initiatives are designed to identify government officials, law firms, and contract staff responsible for Public Policy so that those individuals may be held publicly accountable. If administrative officials wish to act in a legislative capacity by creating rules that regulate industry, agriculture, or natural resources, or they impose back-door taxes through mitigation, cap-and-trade, permitting or similar programs, then they, by virtue of their office, submit to round-the-clock public scrutiny.
Typically focused on policies from the Department of Interior (Fish & Wildlife Service, Forest Service, National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management), our scope can include activities of the Department of Agriculture (Forest Service, NRCS, HUD and RUS) as their policies can affect natural resources and land use.
KNRC Staff routinely reviews the Federal and Kansas Registers, trade press and technical journals for information on proposed Rules, Projects or Federal Plans. The objective of this review is to understand patterns, discern appropriateness, identify individual decision-makers, and project how natural-resource decisions could affect counties, agriculture or local industry.
Information from the technical and personnel review process is blended with on-the-ground observations, political reconnaissance, legal reviews and opinions from local officials and property owners into a strategy that either supports or rejects the Federal proposal.
For regional Rulemakings, such as the proposed Listing of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken by Fish and Wildlife Service, consolidation of a Resource Management Plan by Bureau of Land Management, or expansion of power over local surface streams by the Environmental Protection Agency, KNRC may engage directly through Coordination, activity reporting, correspondence, agency audits, or other meaningful and attention-gaining means.
Policies or Rules that could impact a particular sector or for which the Steering Committee believes need to be amplified are published in Bulletins, our Blog or in Position Papers.
From time-to-time KNRC Leadership reports on natural-resource issues through our Commissioners Corner, the KNRC Newsletter or in meetings with state and federal government policymakers.