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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Property Rights Loss Invites Anarchy

January 27, 2003 By Tom DeWeese While Americans focus on the prospect of war with Iraq, one to liberate the citizens of that nation from a terrible dictator, other Americans are organizing to protect essential Constitutional rights that are being eroded and destroyed. There is outrage over the manipulation of election laws to thwart the will of the voters. There is the effort to defeat a bill in Congress that would impose a National Identity Card on everyone. Others are raising their voices in protest against a Sustainable Development agenda being driven by the United Nations and the worldwide environmental movement. It is an agenda designed to attack property rights. For nearly 227 years America has prospered because this nation has operated under a rule of law that was designed to protect the individual’s right to pursue his own life in the way he chooses. To work, to play, to ...
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The Conservative Crisis

January 27, 2003 By Tom DeWeese There is a crisis in the Conservative movement. It is a blind spot that threatens everything the movement stands for. It is Sustainable Development, the theme of the United Nations conference in Johannesburg. However, the conservatives who have always been there to fight off such utopian, socialist nightmares now seem to slumber blissfully in their ignorance at the very moment when vigilance is most urgently needed. Sustainable Development is the greatest threat ever perpetrated against the American ideal of liberty. Under Sustainable Development there can be no free enterprise, no individual liberty or private property. As I attend traditional conservative meetings around the country where the defense of property rights should be paramount Sustainable Development is rarely mentioned. Speaker after speaker addresses the audience about issues like abortion, taxes, and national defense. They declare their dedication to the fight for limited government. I've even ...
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Sustaining Socialism

January 14, 2003 By Tom DeWeese Readers of The DeWeese Report, my monthly newsletter, know the United States is changing from a nation that values individual liberty, free enterprise, and private property rights to one of top-down government command and control. It is Socialism hiding behind the name of Sustainable Development. Here are just a few developments from across the nation that demonstrate how the plan is being implemented. "Sustainable Development" is the official policy of the Federal government and is being fully implemented by the Bush Administration and the Republican majority in Congress. Sustainable Development has now been embraced by a majority of local Republican office holders and candidates who call it a "Conservative Principle." Central California to ban fireplaces For years environmentalists have been successful in blocking the construction of new power plants in California, contributing to last year’s power shortages and this year’s skyrocketing energy prices. So ...
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Pombo for House Resources Chairman!

December 24, 2002 SITUATION: Committee chairmanships in the House of Representatives will be decided on by a group called the Republican Steering Committee, which consists of twenty-eight GOP House members (see list below). TIME LINE: The Steering Committee will formally meet to vote on committee chairmen on January 9 or 10, 2003. HOWEVER, votes are informally being tallied now, and the lobbying is intense. Most observers predict that Steering Committee members will make up their minds between now and Christmas, with a few stragglers making their decisions between Christmas and New Years. So crunch time is RIGHT NOW. STATUS: Advocates of private property rights must push for our people to be in leadership positions in this Congress, or else the GOP will support land grabs just as the Democrats frequently do. The Resources Committee oversees many of the issues most important to private property rights and federal lands, including the ...
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Dark-of-Night Land Grab (S. 990) Defeated!

November 21, 2002 -From the American Land Rights Association Senate Bill #990, which was a massive expansion of the Endangered Species Act combined with hundreds of millions in new land acquisition, was exposed to the light of day for the first time this week. And thousands of grassroots activists across the country said NO WAY! And the United States Senate heard you LOUD AND CLEAR!!!!!!!! S. 990 could not stand up to public scrutiny this week and was NOT brought up for a vote in the Senate. The Senate just concluded its session for the year, and S.990 is right where it belongs…in the dustbin!!! YOU MADE THE DIFFERENCE!!!! The Endangered Species Act certainly needs changes. But there should be input from the public, debate and discussion should occur in the light of day, and there should be a record of who is for and against various proposals. NONE of ...
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Property Rights Take a Hit

October 8, 2002 By Tom DeWeese The massive rally in Collier County, Florida, known as the "Sawgrass Rebellion" to support property rights, imploded and was cancelled in the face of a determined effort to deny it the right to meet anywhere. Desperate and determined, property rights activists could only manage to obtain a yard sale permit from the county government in order to hold a small rally for local activists and supporters who arrived from around the nation via caravan. You could almost hear the cheering in the offices of the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, the Army Corp of Engineers, the Fish and Wild Life Service and the National Park Service. Will the juggernaut of environmental organizations and federal government agencies that have mounted an attack on the most fundamental right of an American citizen, the right to own property, succeed? If it does, then the Fifth Amendment which ...
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Property Rights Take a Hit

A long-planned October rally in Collier Country, Florida calling itself the "Sawgrass Rebellion" to support property rights, imploded and was canceled in the face of a determined effort to deny it the right to meet anywhere. You could almost hear the cheering in the offices of the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, the Army Corp of Engineers, the Fish and Wild Life Service and the National Park Service. Will the juggernaut of environmental organizations and federal government agencies that have mounted an attack on the most fundamental right of an American citizen, the right to own property, succeed? If it does, then the Fifth Amendment which asserts and protects property rights for all Americans, will have been undermined and, with it, many other rights will have been effectively negated. The Greens inside and outside government believe that a citizen's property rights movement will soon grow tired of complaining about their ...
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Attacking America’s Heritage

September 3, 2002 By Peyton Knight The newest threat to property rights, the foundation of American liberty, is posed by H.R. 2388, "The National Heritage Areas Policy Act." Sponsored by Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO), H.R. 2388 is due for a vote any day now in the House of Representatives. H.R. 2388 creates a process whereby National Heritage Areas are created. It dangles federal tax dollars under the noses of the states, essentially begging them to designate land as a Heritage Area. Once land is designated, it is subject to the whims and dictates of the National Park Service, setting the stage for a myriad of property rights abuses and land grabs. It is the key to the radical environmental plan to return as much of the United States landmass to wilderness as possible and to deny the use of as much land as possible to the development of new homes, ...
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Statement by Tom DeWeese American Policy Center July 20, 2002 Freedom 21 Conference Nashville, Tennessee

If only the world had read and acted upon the rantings of Adolph Hitler’s "Mein Kampf," we could have prevented World War Two. If only the world had acted to toss Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto on the trash heap, we could have saved Russia 70 years of horror - and millions would not now be suffering the tyranny of Red China. Today you and I have another chance. Sustainable Development is the new threat. Sustainable Development is the new enemy dredged up by those who seek to control the world. Worse, Sustainable Development is a horror that hardly anyone in this nation understands or even cares to oppose. Ignore Sustainable Development at the peril of everything you hold dear. Individual liberty, private property, free enterprise, free travel, free association, life itself. My task today is to discuss Sustainable Development and Agenda 21. Part of my assignment is to discuss and ...
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The Back Room Deal to Destroy America

June 3, 2002 By Tom DeWeese A group of U.S. Senators have conspired to destroy local zoning throughout the United States of America. They are trying to do it in secret. They don’t want to hear from someone saying they are betraying the Constitution they swore to uphold. Americans should take note of the names of these Senators: Former Republican turncoat Jim Jeffords; Republican Arlen Specter; Democrat Max Baucus; Democrat Harry Ried; Democrat Bob Graham; Democrat Joseph Lieberman; Democrat Barbara Boxer; Democrat Ron Wyden; Democrat Thomas Casper; Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Democrat Jon Corzine. These U.S. Senators, members of the Senate Environment Committee, hold American liberty in such disdain that they conspired behind closed doors to railroad through a bill that would put faceless bureaucrats in Washington, DC, in charge of decisions that have always been made at the community level. The bill, S.975, also known as the "Community ...
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Killing Industry, One Company at a Time

May 14, 2002 By Peyton Knight Another year, another day, another hour, another environmental attack on industry. It’s a perpetual cycle that grows more vicious with each company’s capitulation. The latest victim of the eco-extremists’ onslaught is the popular office-supply chain, Staples. The attackers are the usual array of anti-capitalist, ‘60s rejects: Free the Planet, Rainforest Action Network, Earth First!, and the National Forest Protection Alliance. Their demands are familiar. Staples must start doing things THEIR way, or the long-hairs in the parking lot with their little signs will never leave. They will frighten customers and drive away business until their demands are met. Specifically, the eco-extremists want Staples to stop selling wood and paper products that are made from old-growth trees. The irony is that this is contradictory to forest health. Trees are a renewable resource. Everyone uses wood products every day. Old-growth trees are thinned from the forest, ...
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Hinton, West Virginia: Same Old Government Land Grab

April 30, 2002 By Tom DeWeese Hinton, West Virginia, is a small rural community of approximately 5,000 people. Most residents have lived their entire lives in the town or surrounding countryside. Many live in the same houses built by long-departed relatives. Hinton is paradise and they don’t care to live anywhere else. Ann Roach is a new comer. Just a few years ago she discovered Hinton while on a "Mystery Tour" aboard an Amtrak train journeying through the countryside to view the Fall foliage in the valley of the New River Gorge. Ann and her husband Bruce, native Ohioans, were so taken by the beauty of the area that only a few weeks after the Amtrak trip they decided to return and investigate the possibilities of buying some property. Arriving in Hinton after a three and a half hour car ride, they toured the area then turned down a small, ...
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One Last Land Grab Before I Leave Office

By Tom DeWeese It was totally cynical and totally Clintonian. Four days before he was forced to relinquish the powers of the Presidency, he created six new "national monuments" involving a million more federal acres to the sixty million already sequestered from the use of Americans. These new so-called "monuments" are on land in Montana, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Idaho. The War on the West continued to the last possible moment. In each case, bans on activities ranging from timber, mining and oil drilling, as well as vehicle use, were part of the monumentalizing of America Clinton-style. As the Associated Press reported, "Clinton has already created eleven new national monuments and expanded two others. Those actions set new protections on 4.6 million acres of federal land. The new monuments to be established today would raise that total to at least 5.6 million acres." Wrong. The total acreage that Clinton ...
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CARA Land Grab! Act Immediately!!!

SNEAK ATTACK TODAY!!!!!!!!! Sometime on Wednesday, April 4! The United States Senate TODAY will vote on an amendment to the Federal Budget Resolution to include the massive $45 billion land grab called "CARA." CARA's actual name is the Conservation and Reinvestment Act. But a more accurate name for CARA is the Condemnation and Relocation Act. CARA provides over ONE BILLION dollars per year in a guaranteed trust fund to condemn private property!!! CARA also provides another billion dollars per year to pork barrel spending projects, from new courthouses and highways in Louisiana to police officers for Eskimos in Alaska! United States Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, whose state is the prime beneficiary of the pork spending, filed this amendment at the last minute, and it will be voted on sometime on Wednesday, April 4. As you may recall, the CARA bill was defeated last year after a strong grassroots effort ...
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Devouring America’s Private Property

By Tom DeWeese Quietly, with little public notice, private property has been disappearing across America at an alarming rate for more than a decade. Property owners are falling under the assault from an almost unintelligible maze of federal, state, county and local environmental laws, regulations, programs and taxes. That government assault is combined with a concerted effort by highly funded and politically powerful environmental groups. Using regulations and programs that arise from Sustainable Development; the Endangered Species Act; wet lands regulations; government land acquisition programs; Clean Air Act; biological diversity; forest regulations; land trusts; water-shed protection; heritage corridors; green ways and eco-regions, the federal government is rapidly carving up the nation, and removing from use productive land and resources. In its wake, industries, farms and American dreams are being destroyed. The main enforcers of these policies are the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, ...
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The Knives Are Out For Norton

By Alan Caruba If you think the nomination hearings for John Ashcroft as the next Attorney General will be bruising, just wait for the hearing when Gale Norton, president-elect Bush's choice for Interior Secretary, faces her opposition. The January 2nd USA Today headline said, "Norton is longtime friend of property rights." If there is one thing that environmentalists hate, it is property rights and it is the reason that out-going President Clinton has, in his final days, worked to deny the use of more than sixty million acres of the nation's landmass. Behind this effort has been one of the most radical members of his Cabinet, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. Norton, a former attorney general for Colorado (1991-98) has served as an associate solicitor at the US Department of the Interior, directing the legal staff of the National Park Service, and was assistant to the deputy secretary of Agriculture, both ...
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Up in Smoke…The U.S. Forest Service’s Policies Harm the Environment and Ruin Lives

We’ve known for some time that the philosophies and subsequent policies of environmental extremist organizations promote the well-being of trees and animals over that of men, women and children. Or do they? These days it appears the missions of such organizations do nothing but harm everyone and everything. This year over six million acres and 500 homes in western states, mostly on federally controlled lands and National Forests, have been disintegrated due to the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) scorched earth policy. This tragedy was avoidable and at the very least could have been drastically minimized by a more sensible approach to forest management. The USFS, due to pressure from radical environmental groups and misguided Clinton/Gore policies, has been operating under the guideline: “don’t touch the forests under any circumstances.” This is not only devastating for millions of Americans who depend on access to the land for their livelihood, but also ...
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