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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Protesting Peter Singer

Animal Rights Agenda Threatens Human Rights By Tom DeWeese The protests against the presence of Peter Singer, known as the father of the Animal Rights Movement, teaching at Princeton University, raises questions once again about the true agenda of the animal rights movement. Animal-rights advocates represent one of the most absurd, violent, destructive elements in our society. They use our emotions and compassion to sucker good-hearted Americans into their radical political agenda. Animal rights advocates oppose animal welfare. Americans who love animals must understand that animal rights, as articulated by organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, will do away with wildlife management, veterinary medicine, and captive breeding. It will end medical testing, a research process responsible for today's modern medical miracles.  Here, in their own words, is what they stand for: They Oppose Pet Ownership "Pet Ownership is an absolutely abysmal situation brought about by human ...
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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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Americans Hoping To Rake In

by Joanna Waugh In February 1997, President Clinton announced his American Heritage Rivers initiative -- a program to pump federal money into urban riverfront projects. AHR is supposed to provide recreational opportunities while protecting natural resources, preserving local history and culture, and revitalizing local economies through sustainable development. In reality, this proposal is just another Great Society-type welfare program -- for recreation. Clinton has promised American Heritage Rivers will not increase federal spending. He has instructed his Cabinet to squeeze federal agencies of every available dollar and to "re-direct resources" into AHR communities. Tight budgets, however, leave little money to play with. The President needs an alternative funding source, and a "grassroots" campaign to lobby Congress for it. The first inkling of his plan came in April public input sessions conducted by the EPA, Forest Service, National Park Service, and Department of Agriculture. Tucked into the American Heritage Rivers information ...
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A Free Iraq Can’t Succeed Without Private Property Protections

March 12, 2004 By Cheryl K. Chumley, associate editor, APC Wire John Adams said, "The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God – and there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it – anarchy and tyranny commence." So how does Iraq, based in part on months of influence from America’s best and brightest, choose to advance this fundamental human right of property ownership in its interim Constitution, the Law of the Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period? By this less-than-stellar introduction to its much touted private property protection clause, Article 16, Sections A, B and C: "Public property is sacrosanct and its protection is the duty of every citizen." This is what we’re patting ourselves on the back for helping develop – that first and foremost, citizens’ duty is to ...
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Highlands Conservation Act: Stealing Private Property with Public Dollars

March 9, 2004 By Cheryl K. Chumley Just when you thought you had a handle on the maneuvers of environmentalists and the politicians who pander to these anti-private property activists, now comes a new stealth measure aimed at taking even more of your land. Presented as a friendly partnership plan for necessary preservation of clean drinking water reservoirs, wildlife habitat, and endangered species, the Highlands Conservation Act (H.R. 1964) is actually a carefully crafted, multi-layered, insidious hoax that spits on the Constitution and in the faces of freedom-seeking Americans nationwide. If left unchecked, this $100 million-plus bill or its companion Senate version, S. 999 that’s even worse, it will become the steppingstone for greater power to the Greens. The way it works is this: Governors in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey identify which lands in the two million acre Highlands region should be taken from private control and ...
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Still Fighting

December 24, 2003 By Peyton Knight In 1987, residents who reside along West Virginia State Route 26, more commonly known as the "New River Road" because of its proximity to the rolling body of water, were told by the local authorities that their road would soon receive a much needed upgrade. Being a single lane road, speckled with massive potholes, blind curves, and seasonal standing water areas, the residents were receptive to the idea. They were assured that the renovation was to have "little impact on private property." Fast-forward 12 years later, and the road had still not been repaired. Finally, in September of 1999, property owners along the New River Road were invited to a public meeting hosted by the West Virginia Division of Highways. At long last their new road was to be built. However, they never dreamed that they would be forced to pay for their road ...
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Lies and the Lying Land Grabbers Who Tell Them

October 3, 2003 By Peyton Knight Ralph and Julie Shelton own 91 acres of land in Malheur County, Oregon. In Malheur, 74% of the land is owned by the federal government. The Sheltons’ property is situated on the Owyhee River near the Idaho border. It was bequeathed to them by Ralph’s grandfather. At the time Grandpa Shelton purchased the property, it was a useless mess of overgrown sagebrush and scrub. He, along with the help of his wife and daughter, cleared the land with nothing but horses and crude implements. He constructed a small farmhouse and barn, and even a waterwheel with which to irrigate the land. Through his family’s sweat and toil, he created a beautiful piece of property, one that he would eventually pass down to his grandson’s family. This quaint family farm is now in the crosshairs of land grabbers. In the spring of 2002, Ralph and ...
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The Great National Land Grab

June 9, 2003 By Peyton Knight Land grabbers in Congress, led by Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO), want to pass federal legislation (H.R. 1427) to create a National Heritage Areas program. Property rights advocates must be on the alert and prepared to fight to ensure that such a program never comes into existence. National Heritage Areas present many dangers to traditional property rights and local zoning. Here are a few of the more serious implications and problems associated with an NHA program: National Heritage Areas are de facto federal zoning. Despite proponents’ claims to the contrary, as federal dollars flow from Washington to individual NHAs, inevitably, federal strings are attached. One of these strings is federal zoning mandates. For example, when the Augusta Canal NHA was undergoing initial approval, the National Park Service urged the House Resources Committee to withhold federal funds from Augusta Canal until a commitment was shown by ...
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We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident?

by Tom DeWeese Not long ago, I joked that someday an American family might find, to their horror, that the family next door was forced to sell their house to a herd of buffalo under the fair housing statutes of the Civil Rights law. And the home-owners association would be helpless to stop the new residents from practicing their native religion of stampeding through the neighborhood – for fear of a discrimination suit. I WAS JOKING! But in today’s age of "anti-reason" be careful what you joke about. It may just be someone else’s political agenda. Since the beginning, we called them nuts. Some said that was too harsh. Well, you be the judge. Animal Rights? ANIMAL LAW This Fall, Harvard University will offer a course in "animal law." The course will be taught by Steven Wise of the Massachusetts Center for the Expansion of Fundamental Rights. Wise has argued ...
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Any Nation That Can Put A Man On the Moon Can Get Rid of the EPA

There is certainly no shortage of big thinkers down at the ol’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While the agency attempts to regulate everything on Earth from water consumption to auto emissions, the truly far-sighted control freaks have turned their heads to the stars - Mars to be exact. Recently, a memo to EPA employees announced that their reach has gone universal. "As human exploration of Mars and other planets moves from the realm of fantasy to real possibility, a host of environmental questions arise. Could exploration or colonization inadvertently endanger life forms that might exist on other planets, could they pose any risks to Planet Earth if brought back by astronauts? Looking at lessons from our own planet, what steps should we take to protect other planetary bodies in the Solar System?" Men from H.G. Wells to George Lucas have searched the stars and dreamed of one day going there ...
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Senate Poised to Vote on Huge Land Grab

By Tom DeWeese March 20, 2003 Choosing a time when the attention of all Americans is on our conflict with Iraq, the Senate is poised to vote on a bill that would unleash a major attack on private property rights. It would empower environmental groups and government agencies to use taxpayer funds to purchase land. The bill, S. 476, called the "Faith-based Initiative," has two insidious sections, 106 and 107, that call for a 25% tax cut on capital gains of land sales, but only if the land is sold to an "environmental group" or a government agency. This legislation is a classic Trojan horse. No other "faith-based" groups would benefit, but all Americans would suffer the economic losses as more and more land is taken off the tax rolls and all access and use of that land would be restricted. The proposed legislation would create a huge potential for ...
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Statement of Peyton Knight Legislative Director American Policy Center

Read before the Subcommittee on National Parks of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, concerning oversight, designation and management of National Heritage Areas and the impact of National Heritage Areas on private lands and communities. March 13, 2003 Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today on the behalf of property rights advocates across the country who are concerned with the impact of National Heritage Areas on land use, private property rights and local communities. One of the biggest fears that both residential and commercial property owners have about Heritage Areas is that they will effectively lead to restrictive federal zoning and land-use planning. Why do they fear this? Because funding and technical assistance for Heritage Areas are currently administered through the National Park Service—an agency that, unfortunately, has become synonymous with lost property rights. Indeed, section 6.1.6 of ...
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National Heritage Areas Opposed at Senate Hearing: Loss of Property Rights, Local Economies Would Suffer

March 13, 2003 Washington, DC ~ "If the Heritage Areas program is allowed to proliferate, experience shows that it will become not only a funding albatross, as more and more interest groups gather around the federal trough, but also a program that quashes property rights and local economies through restrictive federal zoning practices." Testifying today before the Subcommittee on National Parks of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Peyton Knight, Legislative Director of the American Policy Center, warned against any expansion of Heritage Areas programs administered by the National Parks Service. "The real beneficiaries of a National Heritage Areas program are conservation groups, preservation societies, land trusts and the National park Service," said Mr. Knight, "essentially organizations that are in a constant pursuit of federal dollars, land acquisition, and restrictions to development." Mr. Knight cited the National Coal Heritage Area as an example of comparable programs that would ...
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