July 10, 2008

Federal Land Grab Update

Dangerous Time In Congress Next 30 Days
Until August 8th Recess

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
Federal Parks & Recreation

  • Congress Often Rushes Bad Legislation While You Are Busy With Summer and Vacation Activities.
  • Your Congressman and both Senators may be home at times during the next month and later and will likely be home after August 8th for the month long Congressional August Recess.
  • You must make sure you call, fax and e-mail your Congressman and both Senators to get their July to September schedules for when they will be in your area. It is critical that you follow the directions below. Your private property rights are severely threatened.

During the month of July up to approximately August 8th both the House and Senate are expected squeeze in a lot of votes including votes on a number of land grab bills that threaten you. They rush to get bills out before the recess that would come approximately August 8th.

HR 2421 - "Clean Water Restoration Act"

During this time the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee could vote on HR 2421, the Clean Water Restoration Act (Wetlands Corps of Engineers and EPA Land Grab) and it could move swiftly to the full House for a vote.

HR 2421 is the Democrat effort to overturn the Rapanos (2006) and Swancc (2001) Supreme Court Wetlands Decisions favorable to private property owners and seize control of all US watersheds.

HR 2421 would give control over Wetlands and other lands back to the Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and make their jurisdiction the same as it was before the Supreme Court limited their jurisdiction.

That means national land use controls. It will give the Corps of Engineers and EPA control over your property.

S3213 - Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2008

The Senate will likely vote before August on S3213 (new Omnibus Lands Bill just introduced), the giant new Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2008.

S3213 includes the dreaded BLM National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS), numerous new Wilderness areas, Heritage Areas and many other Federal lands and parks bills put together as one giant omnibus bill.

Think of it as the Omnibus Federal lands, BLM NLCS and Wilderness Bill, S3213 or just Senate Omnibus Lands Bill. This Omnibus bill includes over 90 bills you have not likely seen.

The NLCS was created Administratively in 2000 by former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. The NLCS has lain low for eight years until they could get Congress to pass it and make it permanent.

The NLCS will lay a preservationist National Park type regulatory overlay over 26,000,000 acres of BLM land including many National Monuments, Wild and Scenic Rivers, Wilderness Study Areas and much more. It threatens access and use by ranchers, miners, forestry advocates, recreationists and many other Federal land users.

These votes will come while you are busy on vacation or distracted by summer activities. There will be so many bills rushed to a vote that many Members of the House and Senate will not have time to even read them.

That means your friends in the House and Senate that you count on to keep an eye open to protect you could easily allow bills to pass that would threaten you and not be aware of it or have a bill of their own in the Omnibus Bill and not want to touch it. So they look the other way as bad bills pass.

You need to insist that your Senators and Representatives read each bill they vote on and protect you.

I cannot stress too strongly how critical your calls, faxes and e-mails are to your Congressman and both Senators during the coming four weeks opposing the Senate Omnibus Lands Bill (S3213) and HR 2421, the Wetlands Corps of Engineers EPA land grab in the House....

The following bulletin from Federal Parks & Recreation newsletter reports on the giant new Federal Lands Omnibus Bill in the Senate.

From Parks and Recreation Newsletter:

New Omnibus Bill Bigger Than Last One, It Includes NLCS
90-Bill Omnibus Measure Contains NLCS, 10 Heritage Areas and More

Omnibus Bill (S3213) Specifics:

The Senate Energy Committee, having succeeded in pushing a big omnibus bill through Congress in April, is trying again.

The old bill (PL 110-229 of May 8) included only individual measures approved by both the committee and the House, about 50 in total.

This time committee chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) has assembled a bill (S3213) that includes more than 90 individual bills the committee has approved, whether the House has acted or not.

There are controversies. Included in the package is legislation (S1139) to certify the 26 million-acre National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM.) The Senate Energy Committee approved S1139 May 23, 2007, but the bill has not moved since. The House approved a counterpart NLCS bill (HR 2016) April 9 by a 278-to-140 vote.

Western Republicans opposed the House NLCS bill. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said the bill not only failed to address existing problems in multiple use management of BLM lands in the system, but also could hamper management. He cited such ongoing problems as lack of access for energy development, grazing and other activities. Bishop said the bill could impose Park Service-like restrictions on BLM.

Besides, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has said she will attempt to expand the system to 32 million acres from 26,000,000 by adding the entire California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) to the NLCS.

Some four million acres of the CDCA are already in the system but Feinstein would add another six million acres.

Beyond the NLCS, S3213 includes individual bills that would:

  • Designate two new National Park System units: Paterson National Historical Park in New Jersey and Thomas Edison National Historical Park in New Jersey,
  • Authorize additions to nine existing National Park System units,
  • Designate ten new national heritage areas (NHAs) and authorize studies of two NHAs. The new NHAs would be: Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, Colorado; Cache La Poudre River National Heritage Area, Colorado; South Park National Heritage Area, Colorado; Northern Plains National Heritage Area, North Dakota; Baltimore National Heritage Area, Maryland; Freedom's Way National Heritage Area, Massachusetts and N.H.; Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area; Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area; Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, Alabama; and Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area, Arizona,
  • Designate four national trails: Arizona National Scenic Trail; New England National Scenic Trail; Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail; and Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail,
  • Authorize studies of additions to four National Historic Trails: Oregon National Historic Trail; Pony Express National Historic Trail; California National Historic Trail; And The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail,
  • Add three wild and scenic rivers: Fossil Creek, Arizona; Snake River Headwaters, Wyoming; and Taunton River, Massachusetts, and
  • Designate a Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area of about 3.5 miles of cave passages in Lincoln County, New Mexico.

The Senate Energy Committee said June 27 that the bill runs 759 pages long and includes measures sponsored by Democrats, Republicans and both parties.

The committee puts together the omnibus bills because Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) routinely places holds on individual bills, preventing them from being considered on the Senate floor. When assembled in one omnibus bill, the individual measures create a critical mass and sponsors can obtain the 60 votes needed to break Coburn's holds. Coburn has objected to any legislation that would come with a price tag and require additional federal spending.

But these giant Omnibus Bills are killing you.