No big: Obama admin looking to set aside millions of acres for habitat preservation

posted at 9:21 pm on March 26, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Ugh. This is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about yesterday: The federal government already manages nearly one third of the surface area of the United States, but inefficient federal bureaucrats, dependent on DC for their funding and often motivated by political externalities, do not make the best environmental stewards — far from it. We don’t have the money to spare to effectively manage our federal estate as it is, but heck, by all means, let’s just keep adding to it and expanding federal control, why don’t we?

A sweeping new Obama administration strategy to protect plants, fish and animals from the hazards of global warming would require the government to set aside millions of acres of land to preserve threatened habitat.

“More than millions of acres across the landscape will be required,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “The lands will be protected by easement, by land acquisitions, by local, by land trusts, by state agencies, by federal agencies,” he told reporters in releasing a 120-page National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy, in the works for four years.

“We’re doing it for wildlife preservation and we’re thinking about climate,” he added.

Under Obama, 4.5 million acres in 10 national wildlife refuges have already been set aside in part to ease the pressure of global warming on plants, fish and animals, said Ashe.

Eco-radical groups just love it when the federal government gets grabby with land, because it means they can further employ one of their favorite tactics: Slapping restrictive land-use designations on specific areas to thwart any resource development or productive use, ostensibly to save sage grouse or spotted owls or wolves or what have you, the impact and costs on local economies be damned (not to mention the sometimes calamitous unintended consequences!).

I get that this is yet another initiative the Obama administration can tout to prove how seriously they’re Doing Something to combat climate change, but historically speaking, common ownership and central planning have contributed not even a pittance to prosperity and productivity when compared to the robust wealth and innovation brought about by private property and free enterprise — why should environmental protection be any different? The federal government really needs to start shrinking the public estate instead of constantly expanding it, for the sake of both our budget and our natural landscape.


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