America’s sluggish rural economy, already bracing for the regulatory assault of the Obama Administration’s “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, will soon confronted with a new intruder from Washington.
In February, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the creation of Regional Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change. Vilsack noted that the “Climate Hubs” will address “increasing risks such as fires, invasive pests, devastating floods, and crippling droughts on a regional basis.” Lest anyone miss the point that the hubs are really there to serve as yet another instrument to impose the Administration’s climate change agenda, Vilsack pointed out that President Obama, in his 2014 State of the Union address, pledged that “his administration will continue to do everything in its power to act on climate change.”
The climate hubs are now sprouting up at seven locations across the country, where they will not only disseminate the climate change message Washington wants rural Americans to hear. They will also be reaching out to “stakeholders,” enlisting them in the climate campaign. As explained by the Agriculture Department, the climate hubs “will also link a broad network of partners participating in climate risk adaptation and mitigation, including universities; non-governmental organizations; federal agencies such as the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Native Nations and organizations; state departments of agriculture and environment; research centers, farm groups, and more.”
By including non-governmental organizations (mostly highly politicized environmental groups), the Interior Department and NOAA, and government-funded research center in the climate hubs’ network, the administration is ensuring that the deck will be heavily stacked in favor of climate change alarmism. “If we are to be effective in managing the risks from a shifting climate, we’ll need to ensure that our managers in the field and our stakeholders have the information they need to succeed,” Vilsack said. Note that Vilsack refers to a “shifting climate” but doesn’t say how the climate is shifting and that he avoids the word “warming” altogether.
Rigging the game
The USDA administers a slew of programs that provide grants and other forms of assistance to rural areas. With its climate hubs now up and running, the Department is set to integrate the Administration’s climate-change agenda across the board. For example, officials with USDA’s Rural Development Program are, according to the USDA website, “rewriting its environmental regulations at 7 CFR 1970, which will include the consideration of climate change in the environmental impact analyses it performs on each request for financial assistance.” Similarly, USDA programs that focus on “Climate Adaptation” planning will emphasize “[r]enewable energy at the utility size & scope.”
By rewriting environmental regulations, promoting renewable energy, and altering the criteria of its assistance programs, the USDA aims to transform farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners into foot soldiers in the Administration’s all-encompassing campaign to combat climate change.
The climate hubs are located at USDA facilities in the following locations:
Midwest: Ames, Iowa (with a sub-hub in Houghton, Michigan)
Northeast: Durham, New Hampshire
Southeast: Raleigh, North Carolina (with a sub-hub in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico)
Northern Plains: Fort Collins, Colorado
Southern Plains: El Reno, Oklahoma
Pacific Northwest: Corvallis, Oregon
Southwest: Las Cruces, New Mexico (with a sub-hub in Davis, California)