Skip to comments.Transforming America: Henry Lamb on environmental extremists trashing property rights
Posted on 07/05/2002 12:17:46 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
Whether it's wildfires in the West, or floods in Florida, the consequences of ill-conceived land-use policy is wreaking havoc in the lives of too many citizens. Until the late 1900s, land-use policies were based on principles that included free enterprise, multiple use of public lands, and private-property rights. These principles have given way, first to what has been loosely called "conservation" principles and, more recently, to what's called "sustainable development."
This "wrenching transformation," as Al Gore described it in "Earth in the Balance," has taken land-use policy decisions away from local elected officials, and empowered a hierarchy of bureaucrats, and professional stakeholders, who mold policy to achieve an ideological agenda, which is then promoted by willing media and by campaign-fund-seeking politicians who are endorsed by environmental organizations.
Florida has been a high-priority target for transformation by The Wildlands Project. Dr. Reed Noss, author of the plan, says that "... at least half of the land area of the 48 conterminous states should be encompassed in core [wilderness] reserves and inner corridor zones assuming that most of the other 50 percent is managed intelligently as buffer zones."
A center spread in the Patagonia catalogue in 1993, displayed three maps of Florida. The current map showed only 10 percent of the state in public ownership; the third map, illustrating the state when The Wildlands Project is fully implement, displayed 90 percent in public ownership, with the remaining 10 percent of private land in the major urban centers.
One of the primary tools to achieve this remarkable transformation is the CERP the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. None of the agencies involved in the implementation of CERP will admit any relationship to The Wildlands Project. Nevertheless, the result of the CERP will achieve many of The Wildlands Project objectives.
One of the first objectives, is to move people out of the area in order to "restore" the Everglades to its "natural" condition. There is, perhaps, no better example of how land-use management principles have been transformed from free enterprise to conservation.
Devastating floods in the early 20th century resulted in a massive federal program that constructed 1,700 miles of canals and levees to control the floods and supply water to more than a half-million acres of newly-created agricultural land. This project was clearly to benefit people engaged in free enterprise.
The rising tide of environmental awareness in the late 20th century, blamed the project for "destroying" the Everglades.
Now, 6 million residents, and nearly 40 million tourists, rely on the flood-control system. No restoration plan can be devised that will not adversely affect these people.
Madeleine Fortin lives in an "eight-and-a-half square-mile area" of Dade County, along with about 2,000 other residents. As recently as 1989, Congress authorized and appropriated the funds to construct the Modified Water Delivery System, and the C-111 Canal. The legislation specifically required the project to protect the private land owners from flooding.
Neither project has been constructed. Rather than protect the private land owners, the Corps of Engineers now wants to flood two-thirds of the area. The value of the land has plummeted. Owners, who want to sell, cannot sell at a price that will cover their mortgage. Most of the owners don't want to sell. They want the Corps to do what Congress instructed them to do in 1989. But the CERP calls for removal of the people - consistent with the objective of The Wildlands Project.
The CERP consists of 52 projects throughout South Florida. These projects have already flooded 11,000 acres of prime farmland, according to David Kaplan, president of the Dade County Farm Bureau.
In adjacent Collier County, the largest county east of the Mississippi, nearly 87 percent is already in some form of "conservation" protection, according to local resident, Cindy Kemp. What started in 1994 with a plan to acquire 17,800 acres from willing sellers in Southern Belle Meade and Southern Golden Gate, turned into a 55,000 acre acquisition, and resulted in the destruction of roads and filling of canals. But that was just the beginning. Some 200,000 acres are now targeted for removing the people to restore the Everglades.
Throughout the Keys, people are being moved out, and prevented from moving in. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was proposed, and local residents said in a referendum that they did not want the Sanctuary. It was imposed anyway. Now, "No Entrance" signs block public use of the public lands. Building permits require that mitigation land be purchased and set aside for conservation by the permitee as a condition for securing a permit. New FEMA requirements are forcing some homeowners to destroy homes that were properly permitted by the county years ago.
CERP is trashing property rights in South Florida, forcing people off their land, transforming the state into a vision The Wildlands Project published nearly 10 years ago.
They built a huge sewall to protect the island from future storms. They raised the island as much as 20 feet, including buildings and homes.
Had that storm waited until the environmental nazis had firmly entrenched themselves, Galveston would be nothing but a salt grass swamp.
For all of America:
"... at least half of the land area of the 48 conterminous states should be encompassed in core [wilderness] reserves and inner corridor zones assuming that most of the other 50 percent is managed intelligently as buffer zones."
The current map showed only 10 percent of the state in public ownership; the third map, illustrating the state when The Wildlands Project is fully implement, displayed 90 percent in public ownership, with the remaining 10 percent of private land in the major urban centers.
The only question remaining is this: Are we or are we not going to stop them??
Certainly not me.
I'm depending on you and your fellow Floridians to end her 'career' on November 5th.
Once the holiday weekend is over, I'm hopeful that they'll read the world net daily article and possibly our comments here.
Did you hear the Prez say that "nobody will be told that they cannot say the full Pledge of Allegiance"? That's kind of like an executive order, isn't it?
Freedom Is Worth Fighting For !!
Molon Labe !!
Still Live from Durango, CO....Home of the #1 Fire in the country...(I think, could be worse somewhere that I haven't heard of yet...)
There you go again, not thinking like an environmentalist. You see, to be a good environmentalist, you need to equate everything that man does to the environment as bad. We are responsible for all the species extinction happening around us. We are responsible for the Dodo bird, the passenger pigeon, the trilobytes, and the dinosaurs.
As humans, we should live in peaceful co-existence with nature and its inhabitants. So, throw out those flashlights, and lighters and matches. Go back to living in caves. No fair using animal skins for warmth and comfort either. Visualize human extinction.
Thats is what is required to be a good environmentalist.
Unfortunately, the beach front land I own in Galveston County (on the Port Boliver side) is now better than 99% underwater, and the e-nazis refuse to "allow" me to rebuild on the portion that is well above the high water mark.
However, they still want their taxes on the whole thing.
Great Ping bump to you. This is scary, but true. We all need to be eternally vigilant of these people.
Stealing Land In The Atchafalaya And Immokalee
Conservation Easements Used In Colossal Government Land Grab
by J. Zane Walley
Conservation Easement definitions:
A non-possessory interest of a holder in real property that imposes limitations or affirmative obligations. ~ American Farm Bureau Federation
Right of use over the property of another. ~ Black's Law Dictionary
Fragmentation of land title to deny future generations a full range of productive land use options. ~ David Guernsey, Alliance for America
Mobile, AL (PFNS) An American citizen who has land condemned by a federal agency or by any governmental entity, especially those receiving federal monies, has significant rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and Public Law 91-646, (The Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies of 1970.) Further, important statutes contained in the Code of Federal Regulations and the United States Code protect citizens' property rights. These laws contain literally hundreds of safeguards that keep condemning agencies on a stringent, expensive, and protracted path.
In an highly questionable action, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has moved to usurp traditional private property protections in Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin. Citing Congressional authority, (but unable to produce substantiating documents) and the threat of lawsuits from the environmental community, the USACE has forced conservation easements on the properties of an untold number of homeowners, farmers, timber producers, and sportsmen in a 338,000 acre area.
Tom Dowell, Esq., a USACE contract land appraisal agent stood at the International Right of Way Association (IRWA) podium on June 19 in Mobile, Alabama explaining the method his team used to arrive at a fair market value for the involuntary conservation easements. Dowell did not refer to them as conservation easements but rather "Flowage Development Control and Environmental Protection Easements" (FLOWAGE).
Dowell's math was interesting and certainly a delight to the USACE. Instead of the USACE having to pay the full price for land taken by outright condemnation, they were able to control the encumbered land by paying a fraction of the land value. As an illustration, Dowell used land and resources worth $1,000 an acre. By applying a complex formula based on before and after values, he pointed out the Corps would only have to pay landowners $125 an acre for the easement.
Dowell's definition of "fair market value" rapidly crumbled when a member of the audience showed that his formula did not take into account the diminished loan value of the property. It is noteworthy that Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations prohibit lending institutions from lending money on property encumbered by an easement unless the lender will take a second position to the agency or organization that owns the easement. Dowell was also unfamiliar with other IRS regulations affecting easement-encumbered property. He did admit that these moves were "robbing" future generations of the ability to use the land as loan collateral.
According to the USACE handouts provided at the IRWA meeting, FLOWAGE easements prohibit the construction of new structures and prohibit conversion or development of land from existing uses. The easements restrict timber harvest by imposing unworkable regulations subject to activities that "promotes fish and wildlife preservation." Further, the restricted timber removal by the property owner is subject to prior approval by the USACE. The property owners retain oil, gas, and mineral rights. However, the extraction of those natural resources, along with the necessary accompanying construction, is subject to obtaining permits from the USACE.
The apparent advantage to the USACE is absolute control of the encumbered private property for pennies on the dollar. However, the major financial and administrative benefits to the Corps or any governmental agency taking property by easement are not obvious. The Fifth Amendment is absolutely circumvented and the landowners stripped of civil rights and protections provided under public law.
By utilizing easements as a tool for taking private property, agencies can and do contend that they have not employed their powers of condemnation. Thus, they avoid complying with the far-reaching laws that protect property owners and relocated persons. They are not required to provide a costly array of services required under these laws such as relocation assistance payments; mandatory negotiation; advisory services; litigation, moving and related expenses; or replacement housing. In short, condemnation by easement is cheap and fast. Alarmingly, other agencies empowered with condemnation powers have been watching and learning.
Recently, Commissioners in Collier County, Florida (again under the pressure of the environmentalist lobby and threat of lawsuits) vastly diminished the ability of property owners in the 22,600-acre Immokalee area to develop their property and expand agriculture by placing mandatory conservation easements on their land. The owners did not receive any compensation for the drastically reduced value of their land.
Unless the practice of condemnation by conservation easement is checked, it has the potential to destroy property rights nationwide. It will render mute the solemn words of the Fifth Amendment: "
nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation."