Great Outdoors Initiative a federal land grab?

posted at 3:00 pm on August 14, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The Boss Emeritus takes a look at a little-noticed Obama administration proposal called the Great Outdoors Initiative, a program that claims to look for the most meaningful land to Americans — and have the federal government seize it.  Washington already controls one in every three acres of American land, and the increased reach creates more cost and less opportunity for American prosperity and industry:

In April, President Obama issued a memorandum outlining his “21st century strategy for America’s great outdoors.” It was addressed to the Interior Secretary, the Agriculture Secretary, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency and the chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. The memo calls on the officials to conduct “listening and learning sessions” with the public to “identify the places that mean the most to Americans, and leverage the support of the Federal Government” to “protect” outdoor spaces. Eighteen of 25 planned sessions have already been held. But there’s much more to the agenda than simply “reconnecting Americans to nature.”

The federal government, as the memo boasted, is the nation’s “largest land manager.” It already owns roughly one of every three acres in the United States. This is apparently not enough. At a “listening session” in New Hampshire last week, government bureaucrats trained their sights on millions of private forest land throughout the New England region. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack crusaded for “the need for additional attention to the Land and Water Conservation Fund — and the need to promptly support full funding of that fund.”

Property owners have every reason to be worried. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a pet project of green radicals, who want the decades-old government slush fund for buying up private lands to be freed from congressional appropriations oversight. It’s paid for primarily with receipts from the government’s offshore oil and gas leases. Both Senate and House Democrats have included $900 million in full LWCF funding, not subject to congressional approval, in their energy/BP oil spill legislative packages. The Democrats have also included a provision in these packages that would require the federal government to take over energy permitting in state waters, which provoked an outcry from Texas state officials, who sent a letter of protest to Capitol Hill last month:

“In light of federal failures, it is incomprehensible that the United States Congress is entertaining proposals that expand federal authority over oil and gas drilling in state water and lands long regulated by states… Given the track record, putting the federal government in charge of energy production on state land and waters not only breaks years of successful precedent and threatens the 10th Amendment to the United Sates Constitution, but it also undermines common sense and threatens the environmental and economy security of our state’s citizens.”

In light of federal budget deficits, perhaps Washington should be looking to unload some of its real estate rather than expand its ownership of it.  California has at least broached the idea of selling its public holdings in order to reduce costs and raise funds to balance its severely dysfunctional budget.  Instead of Great Outdoors Initiatives and federal expansion of jurisdiction and control, we need a more modest approach to governance and a return to state and local control of resources and assets.

Be sure to read it all, but it also reminded me of a lighter moment.  In the classic comedy Blazing Saddles, Hedley LaMarr (Harvey Korman) had the concept well in mind:


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Comment pages: 1 2

The bad news is that this country is run by absolutely lunatics.

The good news is that they are incompetent lunatics.

So there is hope.

NoDonkey on August 15, 2010 at 7:53 AM

Wow. Can’t believe the Obama Supporting The Mosque thread was shut down.

I miss the OLD HotAir.

Gob on August 14, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Maybe people should consider why some comments had to be deleted. We were getting calls for violence, something we are NOT going to allow to pollute our comment threads, and it being a weekend, neither AP nor I wanted to spend it tied to our desks and performing cleanup just become some jerkoffs can’t control themselves. If that bothers people, then they can go to other blogs and comment elsewhere. Seriously, get a friggin’ clue.

Ed Morrissey on August 15, 2010 at 7:58 AM

Ed Morrissey on August 15, 2010 at 7:58 AM

Agreed.

Rightwingguy on August 15, 2010 at 8:01 AM

The good news is that they are incompetent lunatics.
NoDonkey

That is the only thing protecting our country at the moment. 1/20/2013 can not come soon enough.

MidWestFarmer on August 15, 2010 at 8:06 AM

Seriously, get a friggin’ clue.

Ed Morrissey on August 15, 2010 at 7:58 AM

Wow. I haven’t seen this from you since the old Captain’s Quarters days. Suddenly I’m feeling nostalgic.

Of course your playing the cut from Blazing Saddles didn’t help. Under no circumstances could that movie have been made today. They would try to ban it, like they tried to ban Tom Sawyer, because of the “n” word. Two of the greatest odes to the idiocy of racism, and shallow stupid people call them racist.

Squiggy on August 15, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;

The consitution states that the feds cannot own land without the consent of the state Ligislature of the state where that land is located.

Fat chance in getting the feds of actually obey the supreme law of the land.

The Rock on August 15, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Who is Reid talking to? He looks like a Muslim.

rlwo2008 on August 15, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Maybe people should consider why some comments had to be deleted. We were getting calls for violence, something we are NOT going to allow to pollute our comment threads, and it being a weekend, neither AP nor I wanted to spend it tied to our desks and performing cleanup just become some jerkoffs can’t control themselves. If that bothers people, then they can go to other blogs and comment elsewhere. Seriously, get a friggin’ clue.

Ed Morrissey on August 15, 2010 at 7:58 AM

Thank you for the explanation, Ed. This is a perfectly reasonable explanation.

However, it isn’t this explanation that bothers people (at least it certainly doesn’t bother me), it was the lack of this explanation in the closed thread that left one wondering.

Hard to get a clue when you don’t have the slightest clue!

Alana on August 15, 2010 at 12:28 PM

This is freaky, and should be attracting more attention than it is:

I was discussing with my husband just last week that, in the (increasingly likely) event of a total economic collapse, most of the assets we think of as having secure value would in fact be valueless. The government already owns most mortgages as a result of multiple bailout of Fannie and Freddie, so our homes won’t belong to us even if we can pay for them. Everything else will lose value once the inevitable [hyper]inflation hits, so the most valuable thing one could own in such a situation would be land. I pointed this out to my husband, and he responded “Yeah, but the government knows that, too, and would use eminent domain to seize it all.” Looks like he was right.

Someone in the administration’s not as dumb as they look, and they’re using everyone else to insure themselves against the worst. Who is it?

Animator Girl on August 15, 2010 at 3:44 PM

The consitution states that the feds cannot own land without the consent of the state Ligislature of the state where that land is located.

Fat chance in getting the feds of actually obey the supreme law of the land.

The Rock on August 15, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Oh, they get consent all right. They bribe them with your money, until you run out, that is. Then they borrow money in your name to bribe them with.

Until they own a huge percentage of the state, like Nevada, in which case no one can say “no” anymore.

Merovign on August 15, 2010 at 4:40 PM

“Thats Hedley!!!”

gordo on August 16, 2010 at 8:07 AM

This is freaky, and should be attracting more attention than it is:

Animator Girl on August 15, 2010 at 3:44 PM

It’s pretty sad & telling when a video game topic gets more commenters than a topic like federal land grabs.
I have noticed when this topic comes up, many people do not understand how the feds through their agencies have already stolen & coerced property out of many Americans.
I think there are just way too many people sitting in their compfortable little homes, going to work, & doing their little recreation things to sit up & take notice.
They blow up at the big headlines like abortion & gay marriage.
But they miss this cornerstone problem.
If we have no private property, then we are truly at the mercy of the government.
They have slowly used agencies like the EPA, Fish & Game, Nation Forest Service, things like the Endangered Species Act, Clean Air & Water Acts, etc. to steal our property in a variety of ways like restricting our right to build, develope & sell or make a profit from our resources.
They not only take through things like eminent domain, they use the ESA etc to take away water & grazing rights on public & private lands.
They bully people through the courts & ruin them.
The abuses to the public are out there for you to Google.
So few people see this problem or focus on it.
I reccommended reading about Wayne Hage’s fight.
It’s worth educating yourself about.
A good magazine that focuses on private property rights is Range.
Western people have been fighting this for decades.
Whole communities & industries have been ruined bcs of these tactics.
Property rights need to be taken back & fought for.
The rest will come along behind it.

Badger40 on August 16, 2010 at 9:20 AM

Badger40 on August 16, 2010 at 9:20 AM

Agreed. And thanks for the reading recommendations. I was discussing this with my dad yesterday, and for the first time in a while, we disagreed politically: he (in his mid-50s) thinks that if the Republicans win as big as we expect in November, that the “mood” of the country will immediately change, and people will draw hope and strength from the feeling of fighting back. I (in my mid-20s) qualify that with the statement that, if nothing is done to lessen the impact of the looming 2011 tax increases, the mood of the country will worsen as of January 2011, because no matter how happy a political victory may make us, it’s hard to keep that up when you’re broke.

Furthermore, the country has already demonstrated that it is fickle and foolish, and is easily swayed by populist progressive rhetoric (how many Libs do you know who still insist that at least it’s not as bad now as it was during the eight years of Bush, even though that’s patently and demonstrably untrue?). When things still suck and the Dems do what they do best – play the victims – people will turn on the Repubs and that’ll be the end of it.

To me, this land grab is like a tumor that’s been growing for decades, but because we haven’t yet noticed the symptoms, nobody’s taken an x-ray to the body yet…. until now. I think this is far more serious than my dad does, so I certainly hope that he’s right and I’m wrong.

Animator Girl on August 16, 2010 at 9:48 AM

I’m too lazy to page through the comments for it, but has anyone observed that this solves our Ground Zero Mosque problem?

After all, 911 GZ certainly qualifies as one of “the places that mean the most to Americans.”

Pass the law. Take GZ back. Start thinking about land we can take when a republican becomes president. Like maybe Calyfornia, and then sell it off for parts and reduce our debt, save social security? (sarc)

Any other places we can steal? Suggestions?

Cricket624 on August 16, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Related: FIRE-FIGHT with ECO-MOBSTERS

Mutnodjmet on August 16, 2010 at 5:19 PM

Comment pages: 1 2