Cronyism once again rears its ugly head, as Big Conservation seeks to infringe upon the rights of American property owners to use their land lawfully for profit and for the benefit of customers who make their businesses grow. This time. it is a small Virginia winery, but next time it may be you wanting to add a barbecue pit or even a hot tub. Hopefully, the courts will side with the property owners this time -- but we must be eternally vigilant against these interlopers who seek godlike status in our society.
The behemoth that is the federal bureaucracy is wholly unaccountable to the people whom they are now pushing around via massive new regulations -- Obama style -- that take away private property rights without due process or even a hearing. Washington is out of control and must be reined in,
The new Private Property Rights Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives will target legislation and regulations that interfere with the free and lawful use of private property. Created by Rep. Tom Reed (R, NY), the caucus hopes to build a broad-based coalition that will restore Constitutional rights and enable property owners to provide for themselves and their families.
While the Land Trust of Central North Carolina did purchase some property along the Uwharrie River, their attempts to stifle suction dredging by local prospectors looking for gold may have run afoul of North Carolina law -- the prospectors surely think that the state, not the Land Trust, owns the riverbed and thus the Land Trust has no right to impede the dredging.
Heather Richards may have resigned from her job with the Piedmont Environmental Council, but she is in a position of even greater authority now as chair of the Land Trust Accredication Commission -- and one wonders whether other land trusts are also abusing power as the PEC clearly did. As for Richards, she cannot even seem to tell the truth about her upbringing.
Executive Order 13690 is a massive overreach of illegal federal authority over what ought to be locally determined floodplain management standards.
The proposed "Forest Legacy Management Flexibility Act” would, according to its supporters, promote conservation of private forestlands by reducing administrative burdens for states. Conservation easements under the federal Forest Legacy Program could be held by accredited land trusts rather than state agencies. CFACT advisor Bonner Cohen says the cost to the public of this bill would be incalculable. Far better than the landowners ignore these land trusts and manage their own property and pass it along to their heirs.
Once again, a President has designated land for national monuments without the advice and consent of Congress -- an action unchecked during the Bush years after President Clinton's highly controversial designation of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah. These land grabs may sound noble, but whenever federal officials replace state and local land managers, they tend to create problems for continuing use of the land and even surrounding areas. This is particularly true of Brown's Canyon in Colorado, says the Colorado Cattlemen's Association.
Raisin growers Marvin and Laura Horne have challenged a 66-year-old USDA regulation that allows the government to seize up to half a grower's raisin crop for forced resale overseas at discounted prices. The stated purpose is to keep the domestic price for raisins artificially high, but the Hornes claim that the seizure of their crop amounts to an unconstitutional taking without adequate compensation - and now the case is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
CFACT policy analyst Marita Noon reports that President Obama's made dash to prevent U.S. oil and gas activities in the very profitable Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) may stem more from Russian money funneled to U.S.-based environmental nonprofits -- and the desire of the President to please such groups -- than from any intelligent rationale for declaring these rich lands off limits to the minimal development needed for resource extraction. Russia, meanwhile, is conducting military-scale operations in a possible effort to take physical control of the entire Arctic region.
While the so-called "Cromnibus" spending bill has its detractors on both sides of the political aisle, the devil is always in the details. And this bill, for the first time in years, did contain some items that will lead to cheering in rural and western America (and by right-minded people all over). Among them: the EPA is barred from cutting dairy CO2 emissions and from regulating farm ponds under navigable water legislation, and neither the greater sage grouse or its smaller cousin, the Gunnison sage grouse, can be officially listed as endangered until more studies are undertaken.
The giant Ivanpah solar array in California was financed with a $1.6 billion construction loan from the U.S. Treasury, but the plant has been so unproductive that its owners have successfully begged for loan repayment delays and now want a $539 million federal grant so they can make their first -- already late -- three payments on the initial loan. But prospects for long-term viability of Ivanpah remain poor, given that the plant's poor performance and the fact that it is killing birds at an alarming rate. As Reason's Julian Morris, says, “They’re already paying less than the market rate. Now demanding or asking for a subsidy in the form of a grant directly paying off the loan is an egregious abuse.”
First, it was the spotted owl -- a horrific decision that destroyed jobs forever despite faulty science. Then, the land grabbers at the USGS and the FWS determined that the "Gunnison sage-grouse" is a different species (not just a variety, as is the scientific reality) from the "greater sage-grouse," and so took more land out of production. Now these servants of the state (not the people) want to list the "greater sage-grouse" -- yet another taking that is facing real opposition. The Endangered Species Act as written and executed is bad law that uses bad science -- and does not adequately protect the species it claims to favor.
CFACT advisor Marita Noon suggests six major areas of confrontation and change now the the Republican Party controls both the House and Senate: the long-awaited (and perhaps too late) approval for the Keystone XL pipeline; a major expansion of oil and gas and minerals development on federal lands; lifting the current ban on U.S. oil and gas exports; reining in the EPA's power, especially as it applies to the proposed Clean Power Plan and the expanded Waters of the United States regulations; major reforms to the Endangered Species Act that would turn landowners from enemies to protectors of threatened and endangered species; and an end to climate alarmism as official U.S. Congress policy. Nearly all of these changes are expected to be vigorously fought by President Obama and the White House.
Wyoming ranchers are suing the Western Watersheds Project for trespassing for gathering water samples on private and state land without permission. WWP's stated mission is to rid public lands of all grazing leases. Writer Ron Arnold says their activities constitute "rural cleansing."