I am a member of Concerned Taxpayers I.N.C. We oppose the closure of any portion of the beaches on Vandenberg Air Force Base to public access in order to protect the Snowy Plovers. The Air Force lands are public lands and therefore are owned by the public and subject to full public access, except where public safety is concerned. There is no such safety concern involved in this beach closure issue. These beaches have been used by the public for over 100 years and are a great source of tourist income for the local community. Hundreds of visitors from all over the world visit this area every day. In all this time the Snowy Plovers have been nesting or feeding on the beach and have been undisturbed by the humans using the beach.

Concerned Taxpayers I.N.C. has reviewed the information presented by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) of the Department of the Interior. We found that the information is unconvincing as an argument to close the beaches based on the USFWS assumption that the human intrusions of beach lovers are responsible for the alleged present decline of the Snowy Plovers.

In our opinion, the intrusions of nature, i.e. foxes, coyotes, owls, hawks, raccoons, the effects of El Ni–o, etc. are the real culprits – not man. Nature is eating itself as usual! This is what nature does, and the fittest survive! For the USFWS to overlook the importance of this issue as the prime reason for any decline in Snowy Plovers is short sighted and clearly subject to question. There are millions of Snowy Plovers everywhere and no evidence that they are threatened, let alone endangered.

The USFWS is proposing draconian programs without presenting convincing scientific evidence. They are promoting political science instead of hard science. The USFWS must not have carte blanche to take such actions. Their actions must be subject to public review as is everything else in this country.

We recommend the establishment of a Blue Ribbon Committee of local citizens, affected parties and independent contract specialists to review the USFWS data for viability before any consideration of public beach closures proceeds any further.

The USFWS is clearly out of order in promoting and forcing the closure of our beaches. They are going way overboard in applying the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to everything in sight, without any modicum of common sense and science. In general, we believe the ESA should be eliminated or drastically curtailed because of these abuses by the USFWS. We oppose using our tax funds to mitigate this egregious confiscation of public property due to the ESA and USFWS actions – it just adds insult to injury!

Let’s remember that these beaches are public beaches and need special consideration from the Dept. of the Interior. This is just one example of the many abuses by the USFWS. Rep. Lois Capps refuses to help with this problem; she is a hack of the environmental extremist. We need all of you out there who support property rights and public rights to write to the Dept. of the Interior and the Defense Dept. to get help to stop these closures and depredations on the part of extremists in the USFWS!

Justin M. Ruhge is a Goleta resident and member of Concerned Taxpayers I.N.C.