APCTestifies before Congress—Slams Park Service

Statement of J. Peyton Knight Executive Director of the American Policy Center Concerning Oversight of our National Park System Read before the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform April 22, 2005 Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Peyton Knight. I am executive director of the American Policy Center in Warrenton, Virginia. The Center is a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the principles of private property rights, free markets, and limited government. In addition, I am the Washington, D.C. representative for the American Land Rights Association (ALRA). ALRA promotes the protection of property rights, public access to federal lands, and the wise use of our nation’s resources. America’s park system is in trouble. Our nation’s 388 national parks, historic sites, battlefields, landmarks, ...
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People, Progress and Planet – Earth Day 2005

This year, let’s remember that billions still face real, life-threatening dangers April 22, 2005 Paul Driessen Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore says the environmental movement "has lost its objectivity, morality and humanity." This Earth Day, let us dedicate ourselves to restoring those essential virtues. When I helped organize the first Earth Day on my college campus in 1970, I never dreamed we’d be celebrating #35 this year, or that we’d come so far in cleaning up our environment. But the improvements are remarkable. Since 1976, airborne sulfur dioxide has been reduced 72% … carbon monoxide 76% … lead 98% – according to the Pacific Research Institute’s annual Index of Leading Environmental Indicators. Automobile tailpipe emissions are down 95% from 1975 levels. About 80% of US community water systems had no violations of health-based EPA standards in 1993. Last year, 95% had no violations. For the past five years, our wetlands ...
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Peyton Knight’s Testimony on National Heritage Areas Submitted to the US Senate Subcommittee on National Parks

Statement of J. Peyton Knight Executive Director of the American Policy Center Concerning S. 175: The Bleeding Kansas National Heritage Area Act S. 322: The Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership Act S. 429: The Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area Act S. 323: French Colonial Heritage National Historic Site Study Act Read before the Subcommittee on National Parks of the United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources March 15, 2005 Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Peyton Knight. I am executive director of the American Policy Center in Warrenton, Virginia. The Center is a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the principles of private property rights, free markets, and limited government. In addition, I am the Washington, D.C. representative for the American Land Rights Association (ALRA). ALRA promotes the protection of property rights and ...
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Measure 37 To The Rescue

By Peyton Knight (January 2005) Victims of Oregon’s tyrannical web of land use restrictions, ordinances, and regulatory takings can finally seek justice. Measure 37 passed on November 2 and it allows Oregon property owners who have been wronged by any myriad of radical land use restrictions imposed by the state and local governments to seek just compensation for their monetary losses. And if the governmental body responsible for the offending regulation can’t pony up the dough, the Measure calls for the property owner to be immune from the regulation. Measure 37 is right. It is fair. It is brilliant in its simplicity. Measure 37 is the brainchild of Oregonians in Action, which describes itself as a "non-profit organization devoted solely to fighting for property rights and against excessive land use regulations." The radicals at the Sierra Club have gleefully counted Oregon as second only to California in terms of suffocating ...
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Stealing Property Rights in the Name of Historic Preservation

December 6, 2004 By Peyton Knight Pop quiz! Who should make the decision whether or not to raze your decrepit, century-old home and build a new one in its place? A)  Your local government. B)  Your neighbors. C)  Both A and B. D)  You. If you answered D, you obviously don’t live in West Bridgewater, Connecticut, where your neighbors and the local government want to call the shots on your property. The West Bridgewater Historical Commission announced in early October that it wants to create a “demolition delay bylaw” whereby any property owner who wishes to demolish his old, decrepit home and replace it with a new one, must file a “notice of intent to demolish a significant building” and wait for up to half a year to receive (or not receive) a “demolition permit.” Once a property owner files his request to do want he wants to with his ...
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Invasive Species: The Newest Threat to Property Rights

September 27, 2004 If you have foreign weeds, grass, trees, or shrubs on your property (and you most certainly do), you’re in trouble.  Under “Invasive Species” provisions currently sitting in the Senate’s version of the Federal Transportation Bill (S. 1072), your property could quickly become the target of radical environmentalists and bureaucrats. Imagine the Endangered Species Act on steroids. Now multiply its devastating effect on property rights by one million. That should give you a pretty good idea of what “Invasive Species” legislation will mean for property owners in every state, county, city and suburb in the nation. “Invasive Species” is the radical Greens’ and international socialists’ key to controlling every square inch of land in the United States. This nightmare all began when Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 13112 in 1999, creating an “Invasive Species Council” to monitor and control “alien species.”  What are alien species?  According to Clinton’s ...
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At Last, a Property-Rights Victory!

August 19, 2004 By Henry Lamb Landowners across the nation can breathe a deep sigh of relief because of a decision rendered by the Michigan State Supreme Court July 30. The court reversed a 1981 decision that has allowed state and local governments to take the private property of thousands of landowners and then give or sell it to other private entities. In 1981, the same court allowed the city of Detroit to condemn an entire community known as "Poletown" so General Motors could build a new factory. More than 1,000 homes, and 600 businesses and churches were bulldozed, justified by the city's argument that the jobs and tax revenue the new factory would produce provided a sufficient "public benefit" to warrant the use of government's eminent-domain power. Since that decision, tens of thousands of individual property owners have been uprooted in every state in the name of "economic development." ...
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Bush Administration Sells Out Property Rights

July 29, 2004 By Peyton Knight During his 2000 presidential campaign, George W. Bush repeatedly promised the nation that "Help is on the way." Property rights victims, especially those in Midwestern and Western states, cheered the President’s message and came out in droves to support him on Election Day. Finally, there would be an end to the reckless Clinton regime that treated landowners like second-class citizens and barriers to radical green utopia. Or would there? The Endangered Species Act is still thriving as the number one tool of federal agencies and green extremists to pry landowners from their property. Government land grabs continue unabated. Private property rights protections are nowhere to be found. And the green dream of a National Heritage Area program has seen its most momentum in a decade. It’s been four years since Bush took office and property rights advocates are still waiting for that promised help ...
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Sustainable Development 101

July 16, 2004 As the American Policy Center steps up its war against Sustainable Development and the UN’s Agenda 21, many readers have asked me to supply an overview of the issue. To answer that request, I have gone to the foremost expert in the nation on the subjects of Sustainable Development and Agenda 21—Henry Lamb. Below is a series of articles written by Henry back in 1996. These are the articles that first taught me about Sustainable Development. The only update necessary is to point out that most of what Henry warned about has now taken place. Every single community in the nation is now developing "sustainablism." Read them, as I did years ago, learn, and begin the fight to take back your communities. -Tom DeWeese Sustainable Communities—Vanquished Freedom By Henry Lamb "Sustainability" is a term that is just beginning to reach Joe A. Citizen; in the months and ...
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APC’s Recent Senate Testimony on the National Heritage Partnership Act

Testimony of Peyton Knight Submitted to the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks Concerning the National Heritage Partnership Act (S. 2543) and its impact on property rights, private lands, and local communities. June 24, 2004 Chairman Thomas and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to submit the following testimony on the behalf of property rights advocates across the country who are concerned with the impact of National Heritage Areas (NHAs), and the "National Heritage Partnership Act" (S. 2543) in particular, on land use, private property rights and local communities. National Heritage Areas undoubtedly lead to restrictive federal zoning and land use planning. Funding and technical assistance for Heritage Areas is administered through the National Park Service (NPS), a federal agency with a long history of hostility toward private landowners. The recipient of these funds and NPS direction is a management entity, which typically consists of strictly ideological special ...
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The Speech They Wouldn’t Let Me Finish

June 2, 2004 By Tom DeWeese I was invited to San Francisco to address a gathering of about 20 financial officers (CFO’s) for some well-known Fortune 500 companies. I was asked to talk about the political climate that has an impact on their businesses in this election year. I knew right away what I had to tell them. I would talk to them about the one issue that affected every business decision they make every day – yet is an issue that isn’t even discussed in the political campaign – Sustainable Development. My hosts knew of my positions, having admitted to visiting the American Policy Center’s web site prior to extending their invitation. The site very openly displays my articles and several past speeches dealing with a variety of subjects, especially Sustainable Development. In fact, the only comment after their perusal was to ask that I also address the issue ...
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Return of the CARA Monster

May 3, 2004 By Tom DeWeese It seems that some elected officials will stoop to any low to force their schemes on the rest of us. A case in point is Congressman Don Young (R –AK). For the past five years Don Young has been trying to push through a bill that would establish a massive funding process to lock away millions of acres of private lands across the nation. Property rights advocates have fought a courageous and thus far semi-successful battle to stop those efforts. But Young keeps pushing. First, in 1999 Young introduced the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA). Opposition to the bill grew quickly as the details of the program became known. The original CARA bill would have established a permanent $1.4 billion annual trust fund that would guarantee huge amounts of money for land acquisition and condemnation of private property in the name of protecting the ...
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Mary Alice Davis Land Grab Story to be Featured on National Radio Program

Tune In to WTBQ1110AM Radio and on the web at www.scamsandscandals.com January 31st 2004 at 12:30 eastern time for: The Mary Alice Davis Story© An inside look at a government land grab "My nightmare started just a few days after my husband Howard died. He left me a beautiful big home and 180 scenic acres in Falmouth, Maine. This home and land are my only financial security. That’s it! I have nothing else! Now the town and some big shot attorney are doing anything and everything to steal away what’s belongs to me. Like public harassment at town meetings, threats on my life, land use restrictions and imposing outrageously high taxes on my property. They say I shouldn’t be allowed to use my own property because it’s too valuable and must be preserved. I don’t how much longer I fight against these bully tactics. I'm afraid I will lose everything ...
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CARA Land Grab Vote Delayed!

A vote on the CARA Pork Barrel Land Grab was put off until Thursday or Friday, April 5 or 6! YOUR EFFORTS moved several Senators into action to defend private property rights and fiscal responsibility!!! (See below who some of our HEROES are). YOU HAVE succeeded so far - please keep going for two more days and we will win another round. CARA, which would provide over one billion dollars per year to government agents to condemn private land for almost any reason, from historical preservation to baseball stadium construction to more wilderness, was derailed - for at least one day. Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu's last-minute amendment to add CARA as part of the Federal Budget guidelines was put off and not introduced on Wednesday. However, the Senate debate on the Federal Budget guidelines will continue on Thursday and conclude on Friday. The Landrieu CARA amendment could be introduced at ...
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National Heritage Areas: The War Over Words Continues

April 4, 2004 By Cheryl K. Chumley, associate editor APC News Wire American Policy Center Based on the offerings of the deputy director for the National Park Service at a March 30 congressional hearing on National Heritage Areas, it would appear private property owners should now rest easy if their lands become targeted for heritage area declaration. To assume such, though, would be folly. But first, some background. The NPS and partnering state and local entities have created 24 NHAs encompassing 160,000 square miles of mostly privately owned lands since 1984. Advocates say NHAs are needed to preserve areas of cultural, historical, natural and scenic significance, and that the beauty of the system is that the federal government does not retain authority over the declared lands, but rather the individual property owners. This claim holds true only if you believe private property rights are government-granted, rather than God-given. The practice ...
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National Heritage Areas: Shortcomings of the CRS Report

March 30, 2004 By Cheryl K. Chumley On several fronts, a Congressional Research Service study on National Heritage Areas is misleading, misguided or outright mistaken – the latter by omission, as report authors fail to point out the absurdities of a key and common phrase used to identify private lands for public oversight. Absent from the report to Congress is mention of the term "nationally significant," a most familiar means by which environmentalists and their non-government and political cohorts justify the taking of private properties. This is the exact term, for instance, that was used as grounds for recent House passage of the Highlands Conservation Act, a $100 million-plus piece of legislation that hurts private landowners by seeking public control of more than two million acres of property, ostensibly to protect the region’s "water, forest, wildlife, recreational, agricultural and cultural resources." This is also a term the National Park Service ...
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Testimony of Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D. Before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests “The Highlands Conservation Act” 366 Senate Dirksen Office Building March 24, 2004

Good afternoon, my name is Bonner Cohen. I am a senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C. and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Policy Center in Warrenton, Virginia. I want to thank Chairman Craig and the other members of the subcommittee for the opportunity to comment on the "Highlands Conservation Act," H.R. 1964. I believe the legislation under consideration by this subcommittee is flawed in several key respects. At a fundamental level, it equates government ownership of land with conservation, an idea our Founding Fathers would have found amusing, to say the least. At least 40 percent of the land area of the United States is owned by government -- federal, state, and local. Much of this land is poorly managed -- from overgrown, disease-ridden national forests that routinely spawn catastrophic wildfires, to national parks that are in such ...
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All in the Name of Environmental Protection…

How the Feds and Eco-Elitists Take Private Land for Fun and Profit By Tom DeWeese Those who have read George Orwell’s classic book, "Animal Farm" will be familiar with the phrase "everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others." The line was used by the ruling pigs in the story to justify why they were giving themselves special privileges over the other animals. It was necessary, you see, that the leaders have the best – the better to deal with the pressing issues of State. Citizens of communist countries (the political and economic force Orwell sought to parody) fully understand the reality of the phrase. They well know how communist leaders grow rich, take the best homes and ride in chauffeured limousines. Meanwhile, their "equal" fellow citizens shiver on cold winter nights, lacking fuel for the stove, their cupboards bare as a result of the failed policies of ...
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Huge Congressional Land Grab Goes Unnoticed by Public

CARA Act Provides Billions for Land Acquisition by States "With attention focused on the primary elections, Americans remain unaware of legislation that is a direct attack on property rights, the keystone of the nation's economy," warns Tom DeWeese, president of the American Policy Center, an activist think tank. "Millions of acres now enjoyed by sportsmen, owned by farmers, ranchers, and property owners of every description will be forcibly acquired and put off limits to Americans." The Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA-HR 701/S 25) creates a three billion dollar annual trust fund taken from royalties generated by offshore oil productions called outer continental shelf revenue. The fund was established to pay for damage caused to marine life, oceans and estuaries by oil exploration and extraction activities. "Congress is lining up for an all-out raid on these funds." "Now," says DeWeese, "all fifty states are being offered an opportunity to access this ...
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Is American Law Enforcement Out-of-Control?

By Tom DeWeese Amidst the renewed public concern over astonishing confessions by the FBI of the failure to reveal its use of incendiary weapons at Waco, a painful reality is beginning to take form: law enforcement may be a growing threat to the Constitutional liberties of all Americans. The main official in charge of protecting our liberties is Attorney General Janet Reno. She has failed and perhaps it is time to call for her removal from office. Janet Reno's rule at the Justice Department has overseen the destruction of the FBI's once pristine reputation as the world's number-one law enforcement agency. Reno is one of the top officials who must also be held responsible for the "militarization" of law enforcement. Reports are now being investigated that the FBI used members of the Army's crack "Delta Force" in the siege at Waco. Such use is a clear violation of the Posse ...
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