57. Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.
(Latest update 2001)
P. O. Box 75
Stony Creek, NY 12878
Web site: www.prfamerica.org
Carol W. LaGrasse, President
Bruce Dederick, Vice President
(Only those groups concerned with Northern New York and New England listed)
Adirondack Conservation Council
Adirondack Solidarity Alliance
Adirondack Fairness Coalition
Adirondackers for Access
Alliance for America
American Land Rights Association
Citizens for Constitutional Government
Maine Freedom Fighters
Multiple Use Association (N. H.)
P. O. S. T. (Vt.)
Vermont Property Owners
New York Blue Line Council
Founded in 1994, the Property Rights Foundation of America is dedicated to the defending the right to own and use private property as guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, preserve private property ownership, preserve local government and home rule.
Board of Directors
Carol W. LaGrasse, President
Bruce Dederick, Vice President
Robert G. Prentiss
PRFA also has a National Advisory Board.
Publications and Annual Conference
Positions on Property, a journal about private property
Proceedings of the Annual New York Conference on Property Rights (Third annual proceedings published)
The newsletter, New York Property Rights Clearinghouse
Various other publications, including the report, The Property Owner's Experience (about the failure of the Pataki Administration to reform the regulatory treatment of landowners)
PRFA holds an annual conference in Albany on private property rights featuring the nation's experts in their fields.
(1) Land Designations
The Property Rights Foundation of America had a deciding role in bringing the UNESCO Biosphere Reserves to national attention and in the defeat of the Catskill Mountains Biosphere Reserve. The groups in Arkansas relied on the assistance of PRFA in the defeat of the Ozark Highlands Biosphere Reserve. No new Biosphere Reserves have been nominated. Congressman Jerry Solomon brought a Congressional hearing to Tannersville, New York shortly after the Catskill Biosphere Reserve nomination was withdrawn. As a result of Rep. Solomon's influence, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, which would cancel all such designations until Congressional ratification, passed the U.S. House of Representatives. This May, Carol LaGrasse testified by invitation to the U.S. Senate about the UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.
American Heritage Rivers
PRFA brought the quiet Congressional focus on American, or National, Heritage Areas to national attention. With the important involvement of Congressman Jerry Solomon, the program was defeated in three successive years in the Congress. Then the President unilaterally declared the program as an executive order.
Northern Forest Land Council and the Forest Legacy Program
As a stringer for the local weekly newspaper, the Adirondack Journal, Carol LaGrasse exposed these programs to northern New York for the first time, as they were becoming funded in the Congress in 1991. Unknown to each other, individuals in Maine were working parallelly to the effort in New York. Some of the early work of PRFA played an important part in tracking the Northern Forest Lands effect in Congress and in New England and New York. The outcry not only prevented the original intention of the Northern Forest Lands Council from morphing into an interstate federal zoning agency, but ultimately negated some of the radical tendencies of the Northern Forest Lands Council. Rep. Solomon prevented the Forest Legacy program from being effective in New York.
(2) Adirondack Park issues
All of the work on land designations resulted from the LaGrasses' early work in New York in the Adirondacks and the Hudson valley.
In the early 1990's, Peter and Carol LaGrasse created the lawsuit which was brought as a pro se team and argued successfully by Bob Schulz. According to opponent Peter Berle, the lawsuit played a one of the most important roles in the defeat of the 1990 Environmental Quality Bond Act with almost $2 Billion for land acquisition.
The LaGrasses also created two additional pro se lawsuits -one to limit the terms of office of APA commissioners to their four-year terms, and the other to stop the APA's enforcement of non-statutory permit conditions that mirrored programs outlined in the report of the Governor's Twenty-first Century Commission on the Adirondacks. Unfortunately, these lawsuits, after occupying two years of work, failed in the Appellate Division, the commissioners' terms lawsuit on the merits, and the permit conditions lawsuit on the issue of standing.
Carol LaGrasse later brought a lawsuit with John Salvador to stop overpriced sale of the Morgan property on Lake George to the State of New York, which failed on technical grounds. The lawsuit, however, received national publicity, and thus began scrutiny of land trust deals.
PRFA continues to comment and inform its members about Adirondack Park issues, examples being the regulatory revision process, the Adirondack blowdown, the State purchase of the Champion International lands, and, most recently, testifying in Manhattan about the classification of the Whitney lands.
PRFA opposes additional State acquisition of lands in the Adirondack Park.
(3) Land Trusts
PRFA is taking state and national leadership in exposing the land trusts, for their lack of public and government scrutiny, and for the role they play as land agents for government.
(4) Conservation Easements
Whereas conservation easements should be used by government to legitimately acquire the private property rights it is exerting through endangered species and wetlands regulation, the easements are being used to permanently tie up vast tracts of forest lands and hamper the local economy and future. This May, Carol LaGrasse gave a speech to the National Hardwood Lumber Association about the pros and cons of Conservation Easements. Working with PRFA in New York, are others in Wyoming, Colorado, Texas and the Northeast.
Other Issues - other issues too numerous to enumerate
such as wetlands, zoning, and tax impact of land preservation.