the environmentalist and consumerist awakening of the 1970’s,rnwhen Congress passed a series of statutes designed to protectrnand clean the natural environment, including FLPMA, thernFederal Lands Polic)- and Management Act.rnThis innocuous sounding law greatly expanded federal landrnmanagement missions and budgets and staffs. It, combinedrnwith the Supreme Court’s decision in Kleppe v. New Mexico,rnchanged the central government from a mere proprietor ofrnhuge tracts of the West, subject to state regulation, into therngoverning power of those lands. And with this change in legalrnstatus came hordes of federal bureaucrats with degrees in biologyrnand earth sciences and with eco-agendas. Most had nornconnection to the West, to rural cultures, or to production ofrnfood, fiber, or minerals. To the contrary, many brought to theirrnpower and position real enmity toward rural Western producers.rnThus the stage was set for the drama of recent years. Thernprotagonists are a local culture that for historical reasons distrustsrngovernment and despises absentee landlords, but valuesrnproduction from the land; a central bureaucraev hell-bent tornmake war on production and freedom in the name of environmentalrnand consumer protection; and a tin)-, radical pack of anarcho-rnhippies who advocate the murder of loggers bv spikingrntrees, determined to set up the other two actors for mortal combat.rnThere are subplots as well. The Forest Sers’icc hadrnwatched helplessly as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Servicerngrabbed the power to manage Northwestern National Forests inrnthe guise of protecting the Northern Spotted Owl, a gambitrnaided and abetted by FWS allies in the Audubon Society-rnSierra Club-Wilderness Society axis.rnWorried that the latter move was afoot in New Mexico andrnArizona, the U.S. Forest Service in 1990 promulgated InterimrnGuidelines protecting the Mexican Spotted Owl (and therebyrnprotecting its own power to manage the Southwestern forests).rnUnfortunately, the Forest Service failed to perform the full socioeconomicrnimpact studies required by the National EnvironmentalrnPolicy Act (NEPA), and thus could not predict the economicrndevastation its plan immediately wreaked upon CatronrnCounty’s logging industry and its society.rnIn reaction, the Catron Countv Commission began passing arnseries of county ordinances based on federal laws, designed tornremind Forest Service employees of their legal duties and responsibilitiesrnto protect local cultures and economies. Thernagents responded badly, and a federal attorney sent a letterrnthreatening to jail the countv commission. When remindedrnthat his letter violated the commissioners’ civil rights, he politelyrnrequested the return of his letter. The green advocacy groupsrnand the national media likewise went into hstcrics, and CatronrnCounty was painted as ignorant, iolent, and redneck b CNN,rnTBS, the Wall Street journal, Good Morning America, thernSierra Club, the state attorney general, etc.rnIn the midst of this mud throwing and screaming, the countyrncommission quietly passed a series of environmental protectionrnordinances, miniature NEPAs. It did so because federalrnregulations and NEPA recognize and protect both the biophysicalrnand socioeconomic environments. The also recognize thernfact the local governments ha’e the povcr to pass laws for environmentalrnprotection, and that those local laws may duplicaternfederal efforts. Because local government has such powers, federalrnagents are mandated to cooperate, coordinate, and jointlyrnplan with counties.rnThis second generation of ordinances was deliberately designedrnto provide the maximum duplication of federal planning,rnthus acquiring, by federal law and regulations, a localrnvoice in federal planning, a place at the table. Other countyrngovernments in the West have tried to cut right to the root byrnengineering lawsuits that challenge the federal government’srnright to own the Western lands. So far, these efforts have beenrnkamikaze-like, bold and showy, but ineffective and selfdestructive.rnThe 2,500 people of CatronrnCountv, New Mexico, havernproven that rogue federal agentsrnare vulnerable and that thernjudiciary still can fulfill its role.rnOur approach has been attacked in federal court by the localrnenvironmental-extremist group, which claimed that the ordinancesrncreated an atmosphere of violence and intimidationrnthat chilled their free exercise of civil rights. The federal judgerndismissed the suit, saying that his court could not enjoin thernresidents of Catron County from disliking environmental activists.rnI le ruled that the group had no standing until its membersrnhad been arrested for violation of county ordinances. Thernleader of the pack immediately presented herself to the sheriffrndemanding to be arrested; her argument sounded as though itrnhad been carefully reasoned out by Tommy Smothers.rnOn another front, the county commission filed suit in 1993rnagainst the FWS for blatant defiance of the NEPA. In 1985,rnthe FWS proposed to list as threatened tv’o minnow speciesrnfound in the Gila River of New Mexico and Arizona. In thernsame published rules, it proposed the designation of criticalrnhabitat for the minnows. FWS agents had decided that theyrnought to be exempt from NEPA, and so prepared no EnvironmentalrnAssessments, no Environmental Impact Statements,rnnothing. After a delay of seven years, FWS agents determinedrnto adopt recovery plans for the fish without ever designating thernhabitat as required bv the Endangered Species Act. The planrnbasically was to remove all cattle from the Gila drainage, whichrnwould drive the final nai! in the coffin of Catron County’srneconomy and tax base.rnThe commissioners filed a federal lawsuit asking the judge tornenjoin those federal agents’ implementation and enforcementrnof the final critical habitat designation, unless and until thosernagents comply with NEPA, the Administrative Procedures Act,rnand the Endangered Species Act. The federal district judgernruled against the FWS and all the environmentalists who hadrnfiled briefs. Catron Countv had won a stunning victory in itsrnbattle for a place at the table, a voice in its own future.rnBut the agents did not give up, did not accept the rule of lav’,rnand did not invite us to the table. They appealed to the Tenthrn)UNE 1996/27rnrnrn