This story, by Brian Sussman, originally appeared in Forbes.
Imagine owning a portfolio valued at an unfathomable fortune, and yet you’re bankrupt. Government laws are preventing you from tapping your assets.
There’s no need to envision such a scenario, because as an American, it’s a reality—you’ve been hustled by a federal government beholden to the green agenda.
The feds now own nearly 700 million acres of property; land brimming with natural resources vital to our founding principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The tragedy is our government is purposefully keeping the bulk of those resources—oil, natural gas, minerals, timber and water—out of our reach.
And the government wants to control even more.
Federal land ownership was never the intention of this nation’s founders. Other than land necessary to maintain a limited, central government, the first Continental Congress recognized that such owning land, and the associated natural resources, would offer a government too much power; after all, a tyrannical future regime could decide to withhold those resources from the people. So concerned were they about this issue, that in October 1780, even prior to the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, the Congress adopted a general policy for administering any North American land transferred to the Federal Government:
The lands were to be “disposed of for the common benefit of the United States,” and were to be “settled and formed into distinct republican States, which shall become members of the Federal Union, and shall have the same rights of sovereignty, freedom and independence, as the other States….” Additionally, the lands were to “be granted and settled at such times and under such regulations as shall hereafter be agreed on by the United States in Congress assembled…”
Observe how far we’ve drifted from the original intent of our founders. We now have national parks, forests, wildlife areas, marine sanctuaries, wetlands, refuges, as well as national monuments and landscapes. While many argue the various states would be more appropriate owners of the current federal lands, it’s the latter two—monuments and landscapes—that have become the favorite tools of environmental activists for placing America’s resources off limits for harvest.
The executive branch has been granted the power to declare national monuments via the 1906 Antiquities Act, pushed by President Theodore Roosevelt to preserve Native American dwellings, archeological sites, and oddities of nature such as Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, and the Petrified Forest in Arizona. The Act proclaims,
That the President of the United States is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments…
President Bill Clinton abused the Antiquities Act just prior to re-election in 1996. In a major press event staged at the rim of the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona (an important swing state that year) Clinton and Vice President Al Gore announced their unilateral executive decision to designate a 1.9 million acre monument in Utah. The instant creation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was a major victory for eco-activists, and a great loss to America’s energy portfolio. Portions of area are estimated to contain 62 billion tons of clean-burning, low-sulfur coal, between 3 to 5 billion barrels of oil, and 2 to 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Members of Utah’s congressional delegation were livid, as they were informed of the decision just shortly before Clinton and Gore boarded Air Force One bound for the publicity stunt.
Over the next four years Clinton and Gore would create over 4 million acres of national monuments, all known for their rich resources.
In 2000, the Clinton administration brazenly stretched the limits of the Antiquity Act further by establishing the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) at the behest of Department of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbit (a man beloved by environmentalists for his dramatic DOI press events held in front of dams, in which he would brandish a sledgehammer as a part of his self-proclaimed “sledgehammer tour,” encouraging the destruction of America’s dams). The NLCS gave the president the power to deem a simple landscape as “treasured,” thus taking its resources off the books forever. In 2009, liberal majorities in Congress fashioned an official NLCS law, which President Obama eagerly signed. The legislation, part of an omnibus-spending bill, declared 27 million acres of “treasured landscapes.”
Now, as I disclose in Eco-Tyranny, President Obama has been caught in a plan to potentially declare 140-million acres of land treasured. I was one of the first to see a 21-page DOI draft document describing the scheme, which declares the acreage as,
“components of larger landscapes, ecosystems, airsheds, and watersheds. ” Note that all of the said components are purely subjective in nature.
Since these 140-million acres are a myriad of parcels scattered throughout the nation, the DOI plans to “pursue a program of land consolidation to address its checker-boarded land…seek to acquire properties adjacent to its current holdings, if needed to preserve ecosystem integrity, and attempt to divest itself of the scattered and low-value landholdings that it has identified for disposal….”
In other words, the Obama administration draft seeks to sell low-valued federal land, void of natural resources, and purchase more lucrative private property to cobble together a colossal new federal estate, which will not only be off-limits to development of natural resources, but off-limits to you. According to the draft, the proposed treasured landscapes will exist “without the trappings of visitor centers and other man-made improvements…” (a scanned copy of the draft, complete with the markings of an unidentified DOI mastermind, is included in the Appendix of Eco-Tyranny).
In twenty years the U.S. will have 50 million additional residents; in forty years another 50 million will be added to that. In order to maintain our pursuit of happiness we must have the ability to, responsibly, harvest our resources. We the People own over 2.6 trillion barrels of technically recoverable oil, and 2,543 trillion cubic feet of natural gas— enough to run our country independent of OPEC, Canada or Mexico—well into the next century.
And, continuing to look forward, 36 states are currently on the verge of critical water shortages. How will we adequately meet future demands? We need a program to utilize federal lands to create more dams, reservoirs, and coastal desalinization plants, lest we starve our agriculture sector of it’s lifeblood and live with perpetual personal water rationing.
Finally, we need to honestly address our lumber supply, as demand will not diminish in the decades to come. Currently, forest growth in the United States exceeds harvest by 37 percent. Trees grow like corn, only slower; we shouldn’t fear principled harvesting from our national forests.
Rather than cow to the green agenda, we need to demand what is rightfully
|© 2016 Climategate Book | Brian Sussman | Eco-Tyranny Book|