April 4, 2008

Private property rights eliminated from NLCSA

By Mike Casabonne
New Mexico Federal Lands News

The National Landscape Conservation Act, HR 2016, has been introduced in the House by Representative Grijalva from Arizona. This piece of legislation would add special protection status to many places across the West.

Areas to be included in the system include National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, National Scenic Trails, National Wild and Scenic Rivers, and any part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. New Mexico has several places that fit in these categories totaling almost 1.5 million acres.

This concept was proposed by the administration. Senator Bingaman is the original sponsor for the Senate version. Tom Udall and Heather Wilson are both cosponsors of the House bill.

In Committee mark-up Steve Pearce offered amendments to protect grazing rights and other private property rights held by individuals in these areas. His amendments were voted down.

This legislation will give the BLM the regulatory tools it needs to take a Wilderness Study Area for example and make its use as restrictive as a National Park. No more multiple use for these areas. If you don’t believe the BLM needs this kind of authority, let your legislators know.