Property rights advance in Richmond

CFACT worked with over 100 concerned citizens and organizers, Thursday, to rally and testify in favor of property rights in Richmond, Virginia.

Richmond Property Rights Craig Rucker 2

CFACT’s Craig Rucker at the Richmond Bell Tower

Of particular concern is overreach by land trusts and the heavy-handed tactics they employ against local property owners.

CFACT senior policy advisor Bonner Cohen offered testimony at the hearing.

One case that has captured the attention of concerned citizens and the media is the plight of Martha Boneta.

Martha owns Liberty Farm in Paris, Virginia.  She bought the farm with a conservation easement attached.  She never, expected, however, the belligerent approach that the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) and others would take because of the easement.

Surprise inspections, intrusions and proposed surveillance cameras are part of what Martha has been dealing with.  When Green campaigners and bureaucrats saw pictures of Martha hosting a birthday party at the farm on her Facebook page, they tried slapping her with fines of $5,000 per day.  Martha quickly found herself facing fines over $2 million. Local bureaucrats were shocked to discover that Liberty farm was selling fresh honey and goats milk

Following Thursday’s rally and hearing the Virginia Outdoors Foundation voted 6 to 0 in favor of taking over full management of Liberty Farms easement from PEC.

While the details are still to be worked out, Thursdays activities appear to have resulted in a victory for Liberty — both the farm and the ideal.  This also appears to have been a positive step towards reform of the way land trust easements and other property rights issues are treated in Virginia.  As always, there is more work to do.

Thanks to everyone for your overwhelming expressions of support and especially to those who got up early and joined us in Richmond!

CFACT's Bonner Cohen testifies in Richmond

CFACT’s Bonner Cohen testifies in Richmond

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Public Comments by

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D.

Before the Board of Trustees

Virginia Outdoors Foundation

Richmond, Virginia

November 6, 2014

Good morning. Thank you for the opportunity to address this important issue. I will make two brief points.

Earlier, the attorney for the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) stated that a PEC inspector was just trying to avoid a conflict when he asked Martha Boneta for guidance on the terms of the easement so he would not overstep his authority. This characterization of the inspector’s ignorance as “conflict avoidance’ is completely inaccurate.

On June 12, 2014, I was one of about 20 people who gathered on Liberty Farm to observe a conservation-easement-related Richmond citizensinspection by the PEC. In light of the repeated misconduct by the PEC, we felt it necessary to “monitor the monitors.” It’s good that we did. Before the inspection got underway, Robert Marmet, the PEC’s lead inspector and an attorney, acknowledged that he was not familiar with the parameters of the conservation easement. That the PEC, after nearly eight years as co-holder of the conservation easement, would send someone to the Boneta property who did not know what it was he was there to enforce is proof of the breathtaking incompetence of the organization.

In closing, I would point out that no organization in the United States has done more harm to the cause of conservation easements than the Piedmont Environmental Council. How many landowners, having seen what the PEC has done to Martha Boneta, would want to risk the same thing happening to them? What is to keep another power-hungry, copy-cat land trust aggregating to itself the same police-state powers the PEC has used against Martha Boneta? Think of the terrible example the PEC, with its relentless transgressions against Mrs. Boneta, is setting. The PEC’s abhorrent behavior, which has nothing to do with its narrowly circumscribed role as co-grantee of the easement, must end. The only resolution to this situation is the resolution before you this morning. It will start a process at the end of which the PEC will no longer have any role whatsoever in the conservation easement on Martha Boneta’s farm. Thank you very much.

 

 

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About the Author: Craig Rucker

Craig Rucker is the executive director and co-founder of CFACT.

  • noodles5

    These EPA organizations are the enemy of the American people. Congratulations to the people in Richmond. We must never let up against the corrupt EPA with their leftist, socialist agenda and their corrupt leaders.

    • PATRIOT.WW48

      EPA, just 3 of the many letters that need to be ELMINATED.

  • BMW Metro

    This type of “Total Control” attitude is prevalent on many fronts all the way down to college dormitory noise enforcement (I’m not kidding).

    As was argued in the article, “That the PEC would send someone who did not know what is was he was there to enforce is proof of the incompetence of the organization,” the same cane be said for many agencies.

    What to do? Challenge every citation by learning what the rules and regulations are and by finding out what exactly you are being cited with. Hang the enforcers on every word and action they commit to. Then get your local political organizations and politicians to get in their face.

    In the case of college dorm noise, find out what the rules are (decibel levels of just opinion?). Find out the nature of the complaint (Neighbor or just a “routine” patrol?) And find out the evidence to be used (decibel meter or just an RA trying to look good?)

    Remember: A troublemaker wants to make trouble. If you ignore the troublemaker, he might go away. If the troublemaker persists, give the troublemaker more trouble than he bargained for.

    That
    That
    the PEC, after nearly eight years as co-holder of the conservation
    easement, would send someone to the Boneta property who did not know
    what it was he was there to enforce is proof of the breathtaking
    incompetence of the organization. – See more at:
    http://www.cfact.org/2014/11/08/property-rights-advance-in-richmond/#sthash.7r548te5.dpuf
    That
    the PEC, after nearly eight years as co-holder of the conservation
    easement, would send someone to the Boneta property who did not know
    what it was he was there to enforce is proof of the breathtaking
    incompetence of the organization. – See more at:
    http://www.cfact.org/2014/11/08/property-rights-advance-in-richmond/#sthash.7r548te5.dpuf

    • PATRIOT.WW48

      These people are the same as rag-heads, illegal Messicans, etc. etc. They are EVIL and EVIL must be Defeated

  • Emily Brobst

    Citizens can call on Tom DeWeese, director of American Policy Center, for informative literature regarding the aims of local, state, government, and United Nations entities who are trying to take over property and squeeze people into their vision of habitable living and employment. These actors like to use terms such as fairness, equality, living space, sustainability.

    The UN has developed “Agenda 21” which uses non-governmental groups to bring about changes in environmental practices everywhere. Sounds good, but has bad implications. Get on board with your like-minded liberty-friendly neighbors to protect your property rights, because when the enviros take over, you no longer HAVE rights such as are enshrined in our Consititution.

    Look up ICLEI. Sustainable. Maurice Strong. Karl Marx said that when environmentally based programs are in place, socialism will be truly entrenched (my paraphrase). Obama studied under Saul Alinsky, who was an acolyte of Marx and other tyrants. You should call WND at 1-800-496-3266 for your subscription to Whistleblower, a monthly magazine which gives you the “true facts”. NOW. No time to lose to save our freedom and out beloved country.

    • PATRIOT.WW48

      Long-Haired, Maggot-Infested, Dope-Smoken’, F.M.-Type, Environmentalists-Wackos. Lead by barack-The-Magic-Negro…. Mulatto-Marxist-Muslim. EPA scum need Jimmy-Hoffa’d

    • rhetorical1

      Bravo Emily, It is so good to read your post. I live near Philadelphia, Pa. and have been posting about the un agenda 21 for years. Many just believe I’m nuts but I’ve done my homework just as you have. Whenever I read or hear the word sustainability the hair on my neck stands on end. There is so much going on and people don’t know or are just not interested in knowing. If you haven’t read the book ‘BEHIND THE GREEN MASK: U.N. Agenda 21’ by Rosa Koire. The ‘green religion’ members have no clue about what their ignorance is doing to America. Once again, Thank You for your post.

      • Jbaker

        Rosa Koire is the front runner in exposing “Agenda 21” and she is a Democrat. She has done and is doing a great service for this country. This is an issue that every American must fight regardless of their political stripes. Agenda 21 is best thwarted at the local level where it gets a foothold and spreads from there into every agency. Property developers are totally on board with Agenda 21 and are in cahoots with those implementing it one town at a time. They want to push us all into the cities through control of property and property rights. Agenda 21should be read by every American and rejected at every public city meeting. Our city council never heard of it so we supplied the UN document and they were appalled and had no idea that what they were proposing was in fact in compliance with Agenda 21. When you learn the language it is easier to spot. Sustainability should always raise a red flag of alertness.

        • rhetorical1

          Sadly, my local council has adopted agenda 21. I have been in touch with our current manager but to date he has done nothing to get rid of the agenda. I contact him every few months, still no success. Any suggestions?

          • Jbaker

            Educating them is primary and that means all council members. You contact your neighbors to join you in the effort. Attend all council meeting and make public comment regarding Agenda 21. Have you read the UN Document yet? If not you should and print out a list of links and have it handy to show them the facts. Do the same with your neighbors so they can see what is happening. Once people become aware of Agenda 21 most will unite with you in your effort. Rosa Koire has several youtube videos and are very instructional. She also has a book out. Councils will generally be persuaded when several people get involved. You have to dog them often, every few months is not often enough and they just write you off. If you have a Tea Party group in your area join it and you will certainly get assistance there. There may also be others working on it now and the only way you’ll know is if you go to council meeting. Also write letters to the editor of your local news papers often. Getting started is the hard part but as you get more and more involved it does get easier. Stay strong, focused, and determined! I hope this helps.

            • rhetorical1

              Thanks. I appreciate your advice.

  • jenshadus

    People who do this are the ones who have nothing to lose and want what you worked so hard to get. It’s called communism. First they find was to emasculate you, then they take what you have. Do not give them an inch. Do not give them any concessions. Do not compromise.