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No Arctic oil drilling? How about selling parks?
San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 9/23/5 | Zachary Coile

Posted on 09/23/2005 11:46:50 PM PDT by SmithL

Pombo hopes threat will boost bid to tap refuge's resources.

Washington -- House Resources chairman Richard Pombo is circulating a draft of a bill that would sell 15 national parks and require the National Park Service to raise millions of dollars by selling the naming rights to visitors' centers and trails.

Pombo's spokesman said the proposal, written by Pombo's House Resources Committee staff, is intended only to influence lawmakers to support an item in the budget bill that would permit oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

If drilling continues to be banned in the refuge, Pombo's staff argued, the government would have to sell parks as well as advertising space on park buses, trams and ferries to reach the level of revenues expected from oil leases sales in the Alaskan refuge.

While Brian Kennedy, Pombo's spokesman, said the Tracy Republican lawmaker has no plans to introduce the bill, environmental groups expressed outrage that he would even suggest selling national parks -- including the Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site in Danville -- to raise money for the federal Treasury.

"These proposals for the national park system are unconscionable," said Craig Obey, vice president of the National Parks Conservation Association. "It's hard to believe anyone could even contemplate drafting something this extreme."

The proposal by Pombo's staff is a strange byproduct of the contentious debate over whether to drill in the Arctic Refuge, which is expected to be voted on by Congress in October.

A budget bill passed by the House this spring directed Pombo and his committee to come up with $2.4 billion in savings for the federal budget -- which not by coincidence is what the Congressional Budget Office predicts the government could reap in revenues from oil lease sales

(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: artic; parks; pombo
I like this Pombo guy.
1 posted on 09/23/2005 11:46:51 PM PDT by SmithL
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To: SmithL

---"These proposals for the national park system are unconscionable," said Craig Obey, vice president of the National Parks Conservation Association. "It's hard to believe anyone could even contemplate drafting something this extreme."---

National parks are 'extreme' from a constitutional standpoint.

But hey, only 'right wing' extremism matters.


2 posted on 09/23/2005 11:50:29 PM PDT by flashbunny (Do you believe in the Constitution only until it keeps the government from doing what you want?)
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To: SmithL
"These public lands are icons of our natural and cultural history," Pope said. "They belong to us all, and it is not up to congressmen Pombo or Tancredo to offer them to the highest bidder."

Excuse me, Mr. Pope, but Legislators can determine what we sell and what we keep. It's called the Legislative Branch of the U.S. Government, which was intended to be the most powerful for a reason.

3 posted on 09/23/2005 11:53:32 PM PDT by writer33 (Rush Limbaugh walks in the footsteps of giants: George Washington, Thomas Paine and Ronald Reagan.)
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To: flashbunny

We're all extreme! Where's McCain when you need him? :)


4 posted on 09/23/2005 11:54:29 PM PDT by writer33 (Rush Limbaugh walks in the footsteps of giants: George Washington, Thomas Paine and Ronald Reagan.)
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To: writer33

He's back in arizona, at the border, handing out 'mccain 2008' bumper stickers to illegal aliens coming across.


5 posted on 09/23/2005 11:57:53 PM PDT by flashbunny (Do you believe in the Constitution only until it keeps the government from doing what you want?)
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To: SmithL

The feds own more land then anyone. An unconstitutional set of circumstances if there ever was one. Sell them off. Now.


6 posted on 09/24/2005 12:00:29 AM PDT by Reagan Man (Secure the borders;punish employers who hire illegals;halt all welfare handouts to illegals.)
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To: flashbunny
He's back in arizona, at the border, handing out 'mccain 2008' bumper stickers to illegal aliens coming across.

McCain's slogan: McCain Means Moolah for Mexico. Vote John Mccain 2008. Se Habla Espanol.

:)

7 posted on 09/24/2005 12:03:27 AM PDT by writer33 (Rush Limbaugh walks in the footsteps of giants: George Washington, Thomas Paine and Ronald Reagan.)
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To: SmithL
Most of the land in Idaho is "owned" by the federal government. It is not available for private ownership by ordinary citizens. That land is also excluded from generating property tax revenue for the state of Idaho. The federal government takes federal tax revenue and pays Idaho PILT (payment in lieu of taxes). The same happens in other states, but not to the same degree.
8 posted on 09/24/2005 12:11:25 AM PDT by Myrddin
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To: SmithL
This is incredibly stupid of Pombo and counterproductive. It will just further confuse the general public who don't know the difference between national parks and other public lands like ANWR.
9 posted on 09/24/2005 1:53:53 AM PDT by BigBobber
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To: SmithL
ANWR is a wasteland except for the fact that it has oil under it. Otherwise it's ruthless and unforgiving terrain that only a caribou could love. Actually I'm sure the caribou hate the clouds of black flies.

Yes, you could say I'm human-centric. Let's drill the crap out of ANWR and inch closer to independence from Mohammed's death cult.

10 posted on 09/24/2005 2:18:26 AM PDT by XpandTheEkonomy
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To: SmithL
On a more serious (and perhaps obvious) political note I want to add that the only reason a liberal believes ANWR is a beautiful place...is because there are no humans there.

Lack of human presence = highest form of natural beauty.

11 posted on 09/24/2005 2:25:40 AM PDT by XpandTheEkonomy
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To: XpandTheEkonomy

Stretch: The Old Geezer here: Hey guys (and gals) can't forget those lovely ladies...
lET'S NOT FORGET: Clinton, with the stroke of a pen, put the Grand Escalante Staircase off limits to all coal mining--- environmental free coal... as a payback to the Riady family, his largest contributor, and also to pay back China and Indonesia, for their millions of dollars to his campaigns (and hillary's) We now are forced to buy our coal for energy plants from China and Indonesia.. Lets recind that executive order, and re-open the coal fields that were booming in the Grand Escalante Staircase Monument. GOVERNMENT BY THE STROKE OF A PEN!


12 posted on 09/24/2005 4:19:45 AM PDT by Stretch (Rats, skunks, bugs and other vermin protect their babies; Liberals kill theirs)
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To: SmithL

Very smart move when running in a 50/50 district in enviro-whacked California! /s


13 posted on 09/24/2005 4:48:08 AM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: SmithL

Billions with a B just for the lease sales. Throw in land sales, crude sales, refined sales, and a host of other sales as well as wages, tax revenue, etc etc, it is unconscionable not to offer the leases for sale. Only stupid anti-business, anti-american, vice-presidents of extreme environmental groups, would even suggest such lack of action in the face of reality.


14 posted on 09/24/2005 5:05:17 AM PDT by wita (truthspeaks@freerepublic.com)
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To: SmithL

How about returning the land confiscated by the Federal Government to its rightful owners???


15 posted on 09/24/2005 6:08:13 AM PDT by Savage Beast (The Internet is the Newspaper of Record.)
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To: SmithL

The federal gov't owns 30% of the land area of the US, including over 50% of the land west of the Mississippi. It is time to appoint an independent commission, like the recent Base Realignment Commission (BRAC) to find which properties are essential to the government's function and which are luxuries we are better off selling to the highest bidder.

We cannot have our cake and eat it too- we are fools to keep printing and borrowing money while sitting on millions of acres, some of which could fetch very high prices.

If the enviros object, they are free to bid on a parcel. Let them put their money where their mouth is, like Ted Turner, who has bought a lot of land.


16 posted on 09/24/2005 6:23:26 AM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: SmithL
Theme parks make money, auto parks (British term) make money, even Bert Parks made a bunch of money in his time.

Yet National Parks are a persistent drain on the nation's treasury.

Why is that?

Perhaps because we have politicians forever proclaiming them "national treasures" and such, appropriating millions on questionable improvements for visitors whose entrance fees barely cover rangers' salaries.

A private business operating like this would go belly-up after the first season.

Yet, with all the natural beauty National Parks have on display, people love to go there to camp, observe nature or just have a good time. There's no reason a smart operator (say Disney, or even the Sierra Club) couldn't turn a profit while keeping things in a mostly natural state so people can enjoy a wilderness experience. They're not about to destroy it as long as the public has such reverence for natural beauty. A private operator looking to make money would be more likely to improve access for the disabled and elderly folks who may have difficulty enjoying much of our National Parks. We're not all able to hike steep trails, you know.

Is there need to even mention that most popular parks have far from adequate accommodations? They were planned for a population of 50 million, not 300 million and growing, and with much more leisure time and better transportation than 100 years ago.

Yes, it is indeed time to sell off these National Parks. Pombo's idea won't fly in this Congress, since he's not serious anyway -- he's using it as a wedge to get action on ANWR. I would hope he will sponsor a bill in a future Congress to do what has to be done and divest the federal government from the parks business.

17 posted on 09/24/2005 7:14:34 AM PDT by logician2u
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To: SmithL

They should sell the national parks regardless. Let Disney operate them as campground, or, better yet, let the enivironmentalists pitch in their own money to buy the parks. Then they can operate them as they wish without complaining all the time about the park and forestry services.


18 posted on 09/24/2005 8:16:43 AM PDT by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: theBuckwheat

It might be prudent to consider that the land the Federal government controls is actually capital in the form of real property. This Federally owned real property helps stabalize and guarantee the value of our currency and debt instruments to investors. Our currency is backed by the full faith and credit of our government. Some of that faith and credit is founded in the principle that our government has real assets which are worth $$$$$ insuring that we could not go broke. Our currency is no longer backed by gold, faith in the value of it now is based solely on the governments ability to back it up. Without large amounts of real assets, the only way to guarantee debt payments is through taxation and if public faith in currency fails, then taxation won't be worth a damn anyway.

Selling all or large portions of Federally owned land is a bad idea if having a stable currency and an ability to sell bonds etc. means anything to us. Land isn't the only factor that affects Federal solvency but it is a factor and shouldn't be
dealt with lightly.


19 posted on 09/24/2005 8:16:56 AM PDT by XRdsRev (New Jersey has more horses per square mile than any other U.S. state.)
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To: Myrddin

"The federal government takes federal tax revenue and pays Idaho PILT (payment in lieu of taxes)."

So the Federal Government takes our tax money to pay tax money to the States for land that isn't generating tax money because the Federal Government took it? In other words, if you take out the Fed middle man, those states that don't have a lot of land owned by the Feds are sending the tax money generated by private ownership of land to the states whose land is owed by the Feds? Is this right?


20 posted on 09/24/2005 8:22:59 AM PDT by pepperdog
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To: pepperdog
In other words, if you take out the Fed middle man, those states that don't have a lot of land owned by the Feds are sending the tax money generated by private ownership of land to the states whose land is owed by the Feds? Is this right?

That about covers it. Wealth redistribution by the iron fist of government. People in Idaho would like to regain control of our land from the federal government. Many ranches (private land) are grabbed by the federal government using the Endangered Species Act as an excuse. Other private land is purchased by "green" groups that have been given a more favorable purchasing position by legislation than a private buyer. Such land gets converted into "greenways" and other socialist land grab drivel. Some has even been ceded to control of the U.N.

The most irritating move is shutting off land with a designation of "roadless" or "wilderness" to exclude any use by humans.

21 posted on 09/24/2005 11:17:03 AM PDT by Myrddin
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To: XRdsRev
>>
It might be prudent to consider that the land the Federal government controls is actually capital in the form of real property. This Federally owned real property helps stabilize and guarantee the value of our currency and debt instruments to investors.
<<

I am no unsympathetic to this view. However, please consider the economic issue here. What is more valuable, a tract of forest, managed to minimize the impact on Brown Bats, species of owls, and salamanders (some under orders by various federal courts), or land that is managed towards its economic potential of managed timber, mineral resources, eco-tourism, etc?

To put it in realworld terms, is the land that Disneyworld presently occupies in Florida more or less valuable and a contributor to the public and private economy than when it was undeveloped semi-swamp land?

Recall also that the government did not "develop" some of the most precious areas that are now parks. For example, the present Grand Teton National Park was created in part by a donation of 35,000 acres by John D. Rockefeller, Jr (whose wealth came from oil).

Having been there recently, I can attest to the price that postage-stamp sized building lots are fetching on the open market. It would not take selling very much of the fringe margins of that park that lay on public roads near existing developed areas to pay for quite a bit of rebuilding New Orleans.

As federal land, the local government cannot levy property taxes on it. As private land, it could be, that is unless it was purchased by a tax-advantaged entity such as the Sierra Club. Nevertheless, the federal gov't does not account for the value of any of these assets, nor is this value visible to foreign purchasers of US dollar assets. Indeed since government uses Cash Accounting, the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service are funded by borrowing or printing money- money that comes from the China central bank.

It is time to unlock the economic potential of a tiny portion of these assets. Leaving the locked up to be managed by people of the same mindset as the IRS, FEMA or the Post Office does not help our economy.
22 posted on 09/24/2005 1:30:09 PM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: theBuckwheat

I agree with you to a certain extent but it would have to be on a case by case basis.

While I can sympathize with the desire of some communities to develop a "tax base", they should do so with caution. It has been shown again and again that the wrong kind of development costs taxpayers far more than property taxes generate in income. Housing is a particularly egregious example. Depending on the funding mechanism (particularly education funding), houses rarely pay enough property taxes to cover their infrastructure costs.

One of the reasons that there is such a big land conservation movement in the northeast is that people have figured out that in many cases it is far cheaper for taxpayers to have vacant government owned land in their municipalities than developed private land.

Unfortunately even good development comes with a cost. You can't just allow profitable "business" zoning because the people who work in businesses need places to live. So you have to take the homes along with the businesses. Too often the amount of services used by residential ratables far outwieghs the tax benefits of both it and the business ratables. Thousands of communities have learned that an expanding tax base often results in higher, not lower per capita taxes. This is because of additional infrastructure costs associated with development. These costs also often affect nearby communities even if they didn't grow, simply because they had to help foot the bill for regional improvements (roads, sewers, etc.).

Development can be a good thing but it isn't always. Before people go nuts wanting to develop Federally owned land, they really need to think about what the ramifications could be, both on the local and national level. You seem to have given the issue some serious thought, unfortunately there are too many folks who just react and scream "sell it and develop it all !" without ever considering the after-effects. That view is simplistic, short sighted and irresponsible.


23 posted on 09/24/2005 2:55:40 PM PDT by XRdsRev (New Jersey has more horses per square mile than any other U.S. state.)
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To: XRdsRev
>>Development can be a good thing but it isn't always. Before people go nuts wanting to develop Federally owned land, they really need to think about what the ramifications could be, both on the local and national level.
<<

Government, being a political entity and not an economic one, is very good at purchasing parcels away from citizens with their own tax monies in order to give the appearance of being a "steward" of national assets. Yet we hardly ever hear of government disposing of these assets.

And that is exactly why I proposed an independent commission, much like the BRAC, to first of all inventory all federal land assets, secondly to categorize them, and thirdly to examine them in light of national priorities such as the ongoing budgetary impact of each parcel's operation and maintenance costs, the intangible (non-economic) values of each parcel, and asking for proposals for development of some parcels, even development of portions of the margin.

Of course, this will excite socialists and enviro-libs (a redundancy I know), but they love to trot out the theme of demanding the taxpayers "sacrifice" to fund the high spending. Yes, exactly, let us "sacrifice" by allowing US citizens and US companies to purchase US land back from the government, thus unfreezing these illiquid assets and bringing government revenues in balance with spending.

I recently was in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Parcels of raw land up in the mountains were going for quite a pretty penny.

For example, this recent ad:

>>
Private location, close to Steamboat, Heavily wooded with Aspens, several springs. Spectacular views. Abundant game! Property consists of 3 tracts. $1,600,000 ~ MLS #111980
<<
from: http://www.livingchoices.com/home/homedetail.aspx?mid=N145&hid=534610838&refer=bvc

Or just google "steamboat springs real estate parcels acres" for some eye-popping values.

It is just being stuck on stupid not to sharpen the pencil, put on the eyeshades, put the brain in hard-nose mode and get serious about being fiscally responsible with the nation's balance sheet and I & E statement.

Any decent corporate Board would require their CEO to rationalize every single corporate asset on an ongoing basis. Why do we allow our country to be run with any lesser a standard?

Instead, too many of us cheer when the country's CEO uses his authority to lock up a Saudi-sized tract of low-sulfur coal as a "precious wilderness area", and to buy votes in the process.
24 posted on 09/24/2005 6:06:05 PM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: theBuckwheat

I don't know if you have considered the probability that large scale sales of Federally owned land would dramatically drive down real estate values in adjacent areas.

Your proposal would totally screw private landowners in many if not all of these areas. Anybody who relied on the equity of their land would be a big loser if the market became glutted with newly deassessed Federal land.

Your idea sounds great from a purely ideological standpoint, but it sounds like a disaster from a real estate business perspective.

Supply and demand my friend. If you increase supply (land available for sale) you have to also increase demand at the same or a greater rate, otherwise prices go down. If we start putting hundreds of thousands of acres up for sale, we stand to destroy real estate values in many areas, thus destroying the tax base. Even if you only sell to big institutional buyers (like a Disney Corp.), you are going to run out of prospective buyers very quickly and even those will only want to purchase the choisest parcels available. Desert land in Nevada simply isn't going to bring much buyer interest.

Have you ever been to the northern Poconos in Pennsylvania ? It's a beautiful area with lakes, woods, streams, ski areas, all within 4 hours drive of millions of wealthy people in the greater New York City area. Vacant land in the northern Poconos is very cheap...why ?, because there is far more land for sale there than buyers willing to purchase it.


25 posted on 09/25/2005 6:14:57 AM PDT by XRdsRev (New Jersey has more horses per square mile than any other U.S. state.)
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To: theBuckwheat

P.S. - the Federal government sells surplus real property every day usually through auction or sealed bid.


26 posted on 09/25/2005 6:18:21 AM PDT by XRdsRev (New Jersey has more horses per square mile than any other U.S. state.)
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To: XRdsRev

>>
the Federal government sells surplus real property every day usually through auction or sealed bid.
<<

Yes, but minor tracts such as office buildings that are no longer used. The federal gov't owns approx 30% of the total land area of the US, including > 50% of the land west of the Mississippi and approx 77% of Nevada. It holds a vast amount of land holdings in Alaska.

Selling a surplus parking lot is not in the same class as selling even 10% of the land it holds in Nevada, for example.

Worse, the total land holdings by government only grows, even as it disposes of "surplus" property. The goal here is to cut the amount of property owned by government to the absolute minimum required to carry out its enumerated functions.


The federal gov't has no business in a free country holding so much land, especially when, starting in the last century, the land came not from sovereign acts such as conquest in war or purchase from a foreign power (like Alaska and the Louisiana Purchase), but by eminent domain aggression against its own citizens (funded with their own tax money, or debt borrowed in their name).

We are on the road to surfdom when we allow gov't to tax us so it can force the sale of private property it claims has intangible public use, like it has a good view or it has a cute stream (always "unique" or "threatened" in enviro-speak). The founding fathers would have gone to war to stop this form of tyranny.


27 posted on 09/25/2005 10:23:02 AM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: theBuckwheat

Yes the Federal government does many things today that it didn't do in 1787. Unfortunately that has been the "way of the world" since the early 1800's.

You can't undo 200+ years of practice overnight, that is my point. You can't just start selling off massive amounts of Federal land without crippling or destroying the real estate market and in turn, the general economy. The idea of selling off all surplus Federal land is a fantasy...it ain't gonna happen simply because it would send tremors through the public and private sector that would cripple our economy for decades.

Too many ideas broached by liberals and some conservatives are feel good idealogical measures that don't pass muster once the real world ramifications are considered. Liberals have caused tremendous damage to our economy, lets not undertake some half brained schemes that will do the same or far worse, just because they seem "conservative".

P.S. - lets see if you are consistent.....a standing army in time of peace is expressly discouraged by the Constitution, since you oppose government ownership of land as unconstitutional, do also oppose the existence, size and makeup of our current day armed forces ? The founding fathers most certainly would have gone to war against a large standing army.....oh wait, they actually did.


28 posted on 09/25/2005 2:08:09 PM PDT by XRdsRev (New Jersey has more horses per square mile than any other U.S. state.)
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