Permits to Rape

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, our conservative champion of the rule of law, has helpfully explained that “the issuance of a permit is not a matter of grace.” That is, the issuers of permits have no choice but to issue what’s requested, if the desired information (usually it is just information that a bureaucracy finds it useful to collect) has been provided, then the permit must be issued. That’s because the action or behavior being considered is presumed to be good, as is all behavior by individual citizens. Indeed, that’s the presumption of the whole United States Constitution — individual behavior is good, unless it is proved to have been (note the past tense) injurious to someone else or bad. Obviously, there would be no reason to deny good behavior. (Which is why efforts to deny single qualified adults permits to marry are being declared un-Constitutional all over the country).

However, what is true of individual persons does not/should not necessarily apply to groups of persons assembled as corporations. Because their potential for doing damage is exponentially greater and our waiting until after the injury has occurred can spell disaster. Which is why the corporation organized under the provisions of the U.S. Constitution is saddled with duties and obligations from the get-go. That voluntary non-governmental, commercial and industrial corporations are not similarly restrained at the outset is a flaw that either the Congress or the several states should correct. At a minimum such entities should not be regulated via a permitting procedure, because, as we now know after decades of the Environmental Protection Agency issuing permits to pollute, the environment has not been protected. Had we known the preconceived notions on which permits are based, we could have anticipated that permitting is not the way to go.

On the other hand, while we have made some progress in the United States as to our understanding of what a permit to marry, for example, entails, in societies where adult males are empowered to “hand off” their (often times minor) daughters for the gratification of other males, such an arrangement effectively constitutes a permission to rape. Indeed, in our own country, the concept of marital rape is still controversial. But, I think that’s not endemic to the permitting process. Rather, permits have been, in a sense, perverted. The assumption that the behavior being permitted is inherently good has been replaced by the rationalization that whatever is permitted is good. Permitting has been allowed to replace moral judgement.

It is actually this perverted perception of the role of permits or licenses that accounts for the assumption that if adult humans are granted permits to marry, regardless of gender, then associations between different species will also be authorized. That permits are not a stamp of approval under whose auspices anything goes just doesn’t register with some people.

It’s a misconception and it’s a pervasive misconception. The title of this little essay actually refers to the rape of our shores and marshes and fresh water bodies that’s being promoted by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources with “Letters of Permission,” as opposed to regular permits. While the LOPs are supposed to keep track of (collect information about) low-impact projects that leave the environment “better” than when the projects started, protecting and/or preserving the environment is not their object. Indeed, what the LOPs are being used for is to give a blank check to commercial enterprise seeking to profit from the use of public lands, to their detriment. In a sense, what’s happening here is similar to what happens when the standards that are appropriate to individual behavior are extended to significantly more powerful and destructive corporate endeavors.

If, to cite one example, the sand in the dunes is “hard-packed,” then that’s because the dunes have already been violated by previous coercive force, much as a child-bride that’s sold off. But, that’s what the Department of Natural Resources perceives its mission to be. The explanation that

In plain language, House Bill 402 does the following regarding a Letter of Permission:

• Makes it clear through statutory language that the procedure of issuing a Letter of Permission falls under the powers and duties of the Department of Natural Resources.
• Allows the Department to collect a reasonable fee for processing a Letter of Permission (at this time there are no plans to collect such a fee).

is not reassuring. Doubtless, if they can generate a sufficient volume of Letters of Permission, then it will eventually be worth while to charge a fee. After all, the precedent already exists in the fishing and hunting license program, which is embarking on a revenue increasing agenda as I write.


There is a demand and a desire from citizens that DNR do more. DNR continues to see an increase in requests for more hunting and fishing opportunities while continuing to provide quality recreational experiences. However, stagnant license revenues have limited the short and long-term ability to respond to customer demands.

So, what are some options? Further expansion of efforts to recruit, retain and reactivate of hunters, anglers and shooters; simplification of the license structure system to maximize funding from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs; and adjustment of current license costs. Resident license fees have not changed in 23 years and are well below the national average.

Indeed, I am such a citizen who wants the DNR to do more to protect and preserve our natural environment in a healthy condition. But that’s not what they are about. The DNR wants to “provide quality recreational experiences” as if they were in competition with Disney World. And that, no doubt, accounts for their sympathetic attitude towards private commercial interests seeking to exploit the natural environment for profit, rather than to promote the general interest. Never mind that citizens are not “customers” but owners of the resources these state functionaries are supposed to preserve, not “manage.” You can bet I’m going to that public hearing in Richmond Hill on June 17th and give them an inkling about my response to not only having our natural resources rationed, but the fact that fish in our rivers and creeks and tidal marshes are not fit to eat.

    toxic fish Catching fish and throwing them back may be considered “recreational,” but what I’m looking for is an environment that’s good to eat.

    Sea Island Acquisitions, Temporary Activities – Placement of Tents, Play Structures, Temporary Stage, Tables, Chairs, Fireworks Launch Trailer, and Antique Fire Truck Atlantic Ocean, Glynn County, Georgia

    Does nothing to accomplish that. Neither, for that matter, does what is euphemistically called “Fish Habitat Enhancements” accomplish that. Fish do not normally have habitations, a human requirement, since they are equipped for constant swimming. Dumping surplus military equipment and used chicken cages in the ocean to encourage the congregation of fish for the convenience of anglers is not likely to be any more successful than the millions of dumped tires that are now having to be removed from waters off the coast of Florida.


    Fish habitat enhancement continues to be a priority for the Coastal Resources Division (CRD). With 30 artificial reef sites from 3 to 55 miles offshore, 15 inshore artificial reef sites and over a dozen ongoing oyster reef restoration projects, CRD is working hard to ensure that anglers of all skill levels will have abundant and diverse fishing opportunities for years to come.

    Several fish habitat enhancement projects have been scheduled for the remainder of 2015 including placement of 1,500 bags of recycled oyster shells at Jointer Creek near Brunswick, aerial and side scan sonar surveys of all inshore artificial reef sites, deployment of donated materials, including recycled poultry transport cages, at offshore artificial reefs SAV and F, and underwater surveys of offshore artificial reef sites using SCUBA.

    The problem here is that we have a homo-centric agenda, which the bureaucracy enjoys implementing, but which benefits neither the natural environment, nor the public interest. Even if SCUBA diving operations are commercially profitable, permits don’t make dumping our waste in the oceans moral. The Creator may have given man dominion over the earth. He did not, however, say “go forth and spread devastation and waste.” Nor was it the intent in setting up a Department of Natural Resources that they would be issuing permits to pillage and rape.


    Making individual home owners jump through hoops to import fill and non-native vegetation and install irrigation systems next to the ocean’s shore does not provide compensation. Mr. James Hickey is just another in a long line of victims of the bureaucratic impulse to rule, not serve, either the citizens or the natural environment. In the end we are all screwed.