Commission enlists Veritas Research Consulting for federal lands fight

Doyel Shamley of Nevada-based Veritas Research Consulting will accompany and advise Idaho County Commissioner Jim Chmelik in visits with Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests officials later this month. For the service, Idaho County will pay Doyel Shamley about $800, Chmelik said Monday, Oct. 13. Chmelik said the county has authorized up to $2,000 to cover the costs of Shamley’s visit and told the Lewiston Tribune he will pick up Shamley at the airport and “lodge him at his house in Cottonwood to save on expenses.”

The Tribune editorial page last Friday, Oct. 10 criticized Chmelik for bringing Shamley in, arguing Chmelik “was elected to communicate with other officials such as Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell.”

Chmelik told the Free Press “a wise person surrounds himself with people who have more experience and more knowledge in that field than you do, and to gain on that wisdom of what those people have to offer and to use that to your benefit….I’m not a genius on the inner workings of the federal government, [but] this guy is.”

In his work elsewhere in the country, Shamley has advised counties to pass resolutions declaring local control over federal forest land. While the legality of counties enforcing such resolutions has not been tested in court, in Arizona, the resolutions spurred cooperation between the local and federal government.

“There are certain powers we have as county commissioners under health, safety and welfare that we can enact,” Chmelik explained. “We have jurisdictional powers. The expertise this guy can provide – how to exercise that power – is what I’m seeking to know. And it’s not to exercise the power to force anything, it’s to get the Forest Service – who have had their hands tied by radical environmentalist groups – to act. I think the Forest Service is not a bad organization, I think the BLIM is not a bad organization, but they’re not allowed to function the way they were meant to function.”

On Monday, Oct. 13, the Free Press contacted Shamley for an interview regarding his consulting work and upcoming visit. Shamley answered the request with only a text message: “I’m in Brooklyn working for a few days.”

A few years ago, Shamley was appointed “natural resource coordinator” in Apache County, Ariz. County governments in other states have considered acting on the model Shamley advanced during his work there.

According to documents filed before a 2013 Nevada County, Calif., board of supervisors meeting, Shamley advised Apache County to pass a pair of resolutions declaring “jurisdictional authority” over federal lands in the name of public safety and reducing wildfire risk.

As of August 2013 – perhaps in light of a 1995 court battle between the United States Justice Department and Nye County, Nev. – Apache County had not attempted to enforce these resolutions, according to a newspaper which covers local government in Montezuma County, Colo., the Cortez Journal.

Rather than enforcing its resolutions, in 2012, Apache County entered into a contract with the Forest Service to perform about $80,000 of work thinning the national forest in Arizona. That July, Shamley told the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee “sweeping changes are necessary to the stewardship of our land and the model of county stewardship by Apache County, Ariz., needs to be replicated throughout the United States.”

To the House committee, Shamley also described his full agreement with the idea that “one of the only long-term fixes is disposal of the forests back to the states” – the idea at the heart of Idaho County’s $5,000-a-year American Lands Council membership.

As of February 2013, when Shamley presented the county model to the Nevada County board of supervisors, Apache County had treated 82 acres, of which private contractors had treated less than half, according to Nevada City-based news website yubanet.com.

More recently, Shamley gave two talks at the Fourth Annual Idaho Liberty Summit last month in Coeur d’Alene. His talks were titled “Helping counties control the lands within their borders” and “How Jurisdiction, Coordination and the 10th Amendment helps counties to control the lands within their borders.”

On Sept. 30, Shamley was interviewed by another of the Idaho Liberty Summit presenters, KrisAnne Hall, for her podcast. He told Hall he cofounded Veritas Research Consulting along with someone who was “murdered by the government.” He added that the company’s researchers “proved the government culpability, in fact, and our data was used in the closed-door hearings in the Congress for the Oklahoma City bombings.”

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