Special interest groups are destroying Hatteras Island
By MALCOLM PEELE
There is something terribly wrong in our country today, and there is no place where it is more evident than Cape Hatteras.
inhabitants of this tiny island that consists of seven villages are
under siege by repressive government no less than the framers of the
Constitution were -- those who, out of desperation, fled from their
homeland where generations of "their" families had lived.
the people of the United States, are supposed to be living under the
rule of law created by our founding documents, guaranteeing our right
to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those fundamental
rights are systematically being stripped away from us, and one would
wonder if there is any solution.
simplicity of the early days of the Audubon Society, the Environmental
Protection Agency, and other similar groups and agencies that saw the
necessity of protecting and preserving our precious natural resources,
and rightfully so, has evolved into a very radical and deliberate
paradigm shift towards a sense of absolute control over the public by
these agencies and special interest groups.
the most unbelievable aspect about what is happening is how all of
these groups somehow trump the United States Constitution and the
Declaration of Independence. They have become the puppeteers of our
society and their influence affects every aspect of our daily lives,
from commerce, to tourism, to recreation.
of families have made their living on our beaches and the waters of the
Pamlico Sound, but today many have had to leave the prosperity of the
fishing and crabbing industry because of restrictions and regulations
that have been imposed upon them by the Marine Fisheries since 1976.
For those who struggle to carry on the generational tradition, it
becomes more and more difficult and less and less lucrative every year.
are hundreds of square miles of water that make up the Pamlico Sound,
but it is almost impossible to keep a sufficient ferry channel open
between Hatteras Island and Ocracoke because of all the environmental
hype and seasonal regulations restricting pipeline dredging, out of
fear of disturbing some eel grass, a fish, or a bird.
channel that connects the two islands serves not only as the lifeline,
but is also the evacuation route for the residents of Ocracoke Island
during hurricane season. Within the past couple of year,
$1.5 million has been spent trying to quick fix the problem
utilizing the Army Corps of Engineers side-caster dredge. The results
of that in Hatteras Inlet can best be summed up in a quote by Albert
Einstein: "To keep doing the same failed thing over and over again,
expecting a different result, is insanity."
say that we are being systematically stripped of our right to life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is not exaggeration or
melodrama. The Department of the Interior took 85 percent of our island
from our grandparents and great-grandparents when they turned it into a
and promises that were made to local islanders back then that life
would continue on just as it always had were accepted by the people and
were honored by the DOI for decades. And we shared our beautiful island
and beaches with people from all over the country and around the world.
today those promises and agreements are as uncertain as the wind, and
the National Park Service is once more taking our land from us by
denying access to many areas of our beaches and charging outrageous
amounts of money for permits to access other areas.
have destroyed the beauty of our beaches and the shoreline on the
Pamlico side of the island with their thousands of signs and sticks and
strings. And local merchants and businesses have suffered tremendous
financial loss as a result of the things that are being imposed upon
and preservation have become perverted and lost in the money game
created by special interest groups keeping our courts tied up with
lawsuits involving any and every absurd thing imaginable, and are
probably one of the main contributors to slow job growth and loss of
NPS has tried to establish as factual that the piping plover is
indigenous to Hatteras Island and because of their small numbers are
somehow subject to extinction, neither of which is true.
plovers thrive where they are indigenous. The NPS has used this
rhetoric to strengthen their agenda of closing down access to our
public beaches by creating a make-believe crisis to the ecosystem. The
only crisis to the ecosystem on Hatteras Island is being perpetrated by
the NPS, not the residents or visiting public.
just a two-year period in 2010 and 2011, the NPS set 19,025 traps,
resulting in 857 species trapped, 102 of which were cats. Among other
species that were trapped and killed were raccoons, opossums, minks,
nutria, coyotes, red fox, and gray fox -- all for a bird that is not
indigenous to the island. It is tragic that this is permitted in modern
the Park Service wants to increase the population of the piping plover,
wisdom would dictate, and the humane solution to the problem would be,
to trap the piping plover and raise them and release them back into the
wild, "not" kill hundreds and hundreds of our precious wildlife
island still belongs to we the people. Portsmouth Island used to be the
hub among this little chain of islands known as the Outer Banks. Today
it is a bird sanctuary for the NPS. That will never to happen to us!
residents of Hatteras Island want to see action taken to address the
Department of the Interior and to establish some degree of control over
the NPS, the marine fisheries regulators, and the myriad of special
interest groups that are destroying our way of life here in North
Peele has deep roots on Hatteras Island. He says he was the only
one in his family not born here. He was born in Norfolk after his
father left the island to take a job with the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers. He came back to the island, which his family called “down
home,” but left again for 20 years for the same reason his father had –
to find work. He moved back in 2003.
love this place that many of us refer to as "Paradise," and I will
fight right along with the next person who feels the same way I do
about Hatteras Island and the Outer Banks,” Peele says.)