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Congressional Updates

See Also: National Updates and New York Updates

New information added on April 3, 2014

  • "Land Issues Facing Congress" by Jim Streeter, Staff Director, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. Address to the Sixteenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Latham, N.Y. October 20, 2012 (Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.)
    This thought-provoking talk ranged through a number of topics affecting both federal and private land: federal land management and the effect on school systems in the West, invasive species studies without action, National Park concessions, setting bounds on federal authority, laws to define harassment by feds per Supreme Court dissent, collusion and lobbying with federal grants, feds and environmental groups targeting private properties, land adjoining federal land and heritage areas, mis-directing border control funding toward endangered species "damage," common sense in protecting species, defunding sustainable development grants, attacks on Tea party groups who oppose sustainable planning, history of federal lands, choosing language, the property rights movement, court decisions and legislative opportunities, experiences sought for hearings.
    See also: National Park Service
    See also: Endangered Species and Wildlife — National
  • "Rep. Maurice Hinchey Proposes Hudson Valley National Park Study" By Carol W. LaGrasse, Property Rights Foundation of America, January 2010
    The significance of the mighty Hudson River as the nation's first superhighway after the completion of the Erie Canal that enabled goods to be transported from the Midwest and down the Hudson to the port of New York o cause New York City to become the nation's richest city is entirely missed in Hinchey's vague study proposal, which portrays the important facets of the Hudson to the nation as its Native American heritage, the site of Revolutionary War events, the inspiration for the Hudson River school of landscape painting, and the like.
    See also: Heritage Rivers and Areas — New York
  • "Congressional Designs on Your Property Rights" - By Robert J. Smith, Senior Fellow for Environmental Policy, National Center for Public Policy Research; Adjunct Senior Environmental Scholar, Competitive Enterprise Institute; & President, Center for Private Conservation, Washington, D.C.; Presented at Twelfth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 18, 2008)
    The Bush Administration appointed major corporate and land trust figures such as John Turner, Henry Paulson, Gail Norton and Lynn Scarlet, who were enemies of private property ownership and private property rights, instead emphasizing "partnerships" and conservation easements. The Congress is designating nonstop Wilderness Areas, National Parks, National Battlefields, National Monuments, National Heritage Areas, National Scenic Trails, and Wild and Scenic Rivers. However, Rep. Rob Bishop and Rep. Paul Broun are bright lights for private property rights.
    See also: Conservation Easements
  • "Property Rights Update from Washington, D.C." - By Jason Knox, Esq., Legislative Staffer, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.; Twelfth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 18, 2008)
    The environmentalists are using legislation against energy transmission corridors. They're promoting Heritage Areas and wilderness designations as "economic redevelopment" while eliminating good-paying jobs. The urban Taunton Wild and Scenic River is meant to stop a gas pipeline. The 1,082-page resources omnibus bill would tie up 2 million acres as wilderness, including 1.2 million acres in Wyoming to stop use of gas and oil resources. The National Land Conservation System would codify Clinton/Gore National Monument designations. Right now, focus on energy. Make your voice heard on land use issues, project by project. Freedom of Information requests are a powerful tool.
    See also: Government Obstruction of Energy Production & Distribution—National
  • "Congressional Legislation Would Thwart Effects of Kelo Decision" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, July 25, 2007
    Reps. F. James Sensenbrenner and Maxine Waters introduced federal legislation in July to rein in the effects of the Supreme Court's Kelo v. New London decision allowing the use of eminent domain to take property from one private party to transfer it to another private party for economic development. The Property Rights Protection Act of 2007 (H.R. 3053) would hold back federal funds for economic development where eminent domain was used. However, the bill contains two exceptions allowing eminent domain for economic development for an immediate threat to public health and safety and to acquire abandoned property that create a dangerous, open-ended exception for "blight," which should be deleted before the bill garners support.
    See also: Eminent Domain—National
  • "Update on Property Rights in the U.S. Congress"-By Jason Knox, Staffer, Resources Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, Tenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 14, 2006)
    Rep. Sensenbrenner's eminent domain reform bill (H.R. 4128) died in the Senate. Rep. Chabot's bill to enable property owners to bring Fifth Amendment takings cases into federal court (H.R.4772) would overcome the requirement that state remedies be exhausted and the ironic application of res judicata. Eminent domain due process reform would eliminate the bulk of federal condemnation abuse.
    See also: Eminent Domain—National
  • "Akaka Bill Proposes 'Native Hawaiian' Tribe to Split Up Hawaii" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, January 18, 2006)
    The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (S. 147, H.R. 309) proposed by Senator Daniel K. Akaka would create race-based discord, dividing Hawaii into a multitude of intermingled jurisdictions, with some people living under tribal law and others under the laws of the State of Hawaii. Those choosing to be certified as Native Hawaiians would be eligible to vote on tribal matters and become eligible for benefits. In addition, large tracts of land would come under tribal jurisdiction, and it is feared that casino gambling could be also introduced.
  • "National Property Rights Ombudsman Bill Announced" — U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, Press Release, Sandy, Utah, July 5, 2005
    The "Empower Act" would apply the Utah model of a State Property Rights Ombudsman to the federal government, to inform people of their rights and actively work to help property owners to take full advantage of their rights.
    See also: Eminent Domain—National
  • "Whither the Endangered Species Act?" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, June 2005)
    Industry lobbyists advocated a strategy of "strengthening" and "modernizing" the Endangered Species Act, while avoiding mention of the importance of private property rights. Industry tactics divided the property rights movement, while the grassroots leadership of the movement was kept out of the loop during the drafting of the Pombo bill. The "2005 Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act" does not protect property rights and does not substitute voluntary protection of species for the failed regulatory approach.
    See also: Endangered Species & Wildlife—National
  • Secret Endangered Species Reauthorization Bill in U.S. Congress - Letter to Rep. Richard Pombo, from Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA,
    June 15, 2005
    Sometime during the spring, House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo drafted a bill to reauthorize the Endangered Species Act, incorporating reforms advocated by industrial interest groups, without allowing the property rights movement to have copies of the bill.
    See also: Endangered Species & Wildlife—National
  • "Repealing the Death Tax—Preserving Small Businesses" - By Dick Patten, Executive Director, American Family Business Institute, Washington, D.C.; Speech to the Eighth Annual Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 23, 2004)
    Private property rights were held to be absolutely inalienable in the American constitutional system. But the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels began to have influence, calling for the abolition of private property and inheritance. The 10% inheritance tax of World War I rose to 77% by 1941, and is currently at 48%. A close battle rages in the U.S. Senate for permanent repeal.
    See also: Private Property Rights—National
  • September 2003
    Land Trust Bonanza in "Faith Based Initiative" Blocked Again in Congress

    In a victory for private property rights during September, the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee approved President's Bush's Faith Based Initiative (HR 7) but struck out the special provision to create a tax loophole that would have been capable of benefiting the wealthy land trusts to the tune of a billion dollars. Despite a million-dollar lobbying effort by the land trusts, the committee struck the loophole, which would have created a 50 percent reduction in the capital gains tax for selling land or conservation easements to the government or land trusts. Bill Thomas, Chairman of the Committee, has been named a "Champion of Property Rights" for ten straight years by the League of Property Rights Voters. A conference committee must still meet to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the Initiative. The Senate version contains the land trust tax loophole.
    See also: Conservation Easements
    See also: Land Trusts
  • August 27, 2003
    "Highlands Stewardship Area" Bill would Allocate $25 Million Annually to Acquire Land in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania
    - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, August 27, 2003)
    Wealthy New York interests, non-profits, recreationists, and preservationists have been working for over ten years on a grandiose greenway from the Delaware River across northern New Jersey, southern New York just north of the metropolitan region, and western Connecticut. A new bill in Congress will direct money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to buy up land.
    Read full article.
  • January 8, 2003
    Richard Pombo Named Chairman of the House Resources Committee — Nationwide Victory for the Private Property Rights and Wise use Movement
    On January 8, 2003, the star Congressman for private property rights, Richard Pombo, a rancher from California, was named Chairman of the all-important House Resources Committee, which has been key to issues such as heritage areas, UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, endangered species, and land grabs and lockups involving the National Park Service and its parent agency, the Department of Interior. The selection of Mr. Pombo is a great victory because he has stalwartly defended private property in arenas ranging from unjust wetlands regulation to proposed designations of Heritage areas. See full press release from the American Land Rights Foundation.
  • Action Alert:
    "Son of CARA" Has Already Passed the Senate
    Keep CARA off the floor!

    Liberal Senators slipped a short version of CARA (S. 990) through the Senate without a vote on December 23! This means that if the full CARA passes the House of Representatives, a conference version of the bills is virtually assured of passage in both houses.
    See also: Full Action Alert
    See also: Government Land Ownership & Control—National
  •  September 2001
    "CARA Alert-Letters, Telephone Calls, and Faxes urgently Needed"
    Two powerful committee chairmen, Reps. Don Young (R - Alaska) and Billy Tauzin (R - La.), may push the $45 billion Conservation and Reinvestment Act to a vote on the House floor as early as September 15, to avoid the growing dissent and efforts by House leadership to bottle it up. The pork-barrel bill would automatically funnel $3.1 billion annually into an untouchable trust fund to buy up private land and preserve natural resources.
  • See also: Government Land Ownership & Control—National
  • August 2001
    House of Representatives to consider CARA, the $44 billion anti-private property bill

    Defeated least year, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act came back to life again in the House Resources Committee under the leadership of Rep. Don Young (R - Al.) and Rep. Billy Tauzin (R - La.), two formerly staunch defenders of private land ownership. With $3.1 billion annually from federal off-shore oil drilling revenues for government acquisition of private land and various environmental purposes, H.R. 701 passed the committee 29-12 on July 25 after six hours of acrimonious debate. Property rights groups are unified nationally in opposition. In spite of the threat of government land ownership to the future of hunting, the bill enjoys the NRA's endorsement. The web site has up-to-the-minute information on CARA.
    See also: Government Land Ownership & Control—National
  • April 2001:
    Action Alert—Support Congressional Hearings on Wetlands Regulatory Reform

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