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The great federal land rush

Posted By Henry Lamb On 01/20/1999 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

Suddenly, there is an all-out, visible effort to buy out America.
Actually, there is nothing “sudden” about the buy-out; heretofore,
however, it has not been widely publicized, nor promoted from the
president’s bully pulpit. On Jan. 11, Vice President Al Gore announced a
new “Livability Agenda.” The next day, both the president and vice
president announced a new “Lands Legacy Initiative.” The White House
issued two press statements the same day, and Secretary of Interior
Bruce Babbitt and George Frampton, acting chairman of the Council on
Environmental Quality, staged a press briefing. All this to announce
publicly that the administration is launching a campaign to set up a
permanent billion-dollar-per-year fund, dedicated exclusively to the
purchase of private property.

Ironically, two powerful Republicans are introducing legislation in
both houses of Congress to implement the administration’s buy-out of
America: Senator Murkowski of Alaska, and Congressman Don Young, also of
Alaska, and chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources. The
titles chosen to describe the two new initiatives, “Livability Agenda”
and “Lands Legacy Initiative” are euphemisms for Agenda 21 and the
Convention on Biological Diversity. Gore’s Livability Agenda, to be
funded at $1 billion, is the implementation of the “Sustainable
Communities” recommendations of Agenda 21. The Lands Legacy Initiative
is designed to achieve precisely the objectives set forth in Article 8
of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

There is, of course, no reference at all by the administration, that
these programs are designed to bring America into conformity with the
global management principles set forth by the United Nations Conference
on Environment and Development in 1992. Quite to the contrary, the
programs are being presented to preserve “irreplaceable pieces of our
natural legacy within easy reach of every citizen.” And, as Gore
described his Livability Agenda, “In too many places, the beauty of
local vistas has been degraded by decades of ill-planned and
ill-coordinated development.”

In other words, free people who elect county commissions and city
councils, to plan communities, regulate through zoning, and promote
economic development — have degraded the beauty of local vistas. Gore
went on to condemn free people for “burning a gallon of gas to go buy a
gallon of milk,” and for having to call their children by cell phone to
explain that they can’t get home to read a bedtime story because they
are tied up in traffic.

Gore’s Livability Agenda will cure all those ills. The agenda was
described fully in a report prepared by Andrew Euston for the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at the request of the
United Nations Conference of Human Settlement (HABITAT II) which met in
Istanbul in 1996. The report spelled out the administration’s plans to
implement programs which would have the effect of achieving the
recommendations in Agenda 21. Virtually every element of Gore’s
Livability Agenda is set forth in Chapter 7 of Agenda 21.

Limiting “urban sprawl” is a major objective of the Livability Agenda

(Chapter 7.18 of Agenda 21). What that means is that, most often,
unelected government administrators, working in “partnership” with NGOs
(non-government organizations), quite often funded by grants from the
federal government, draw an arbitrary line around a municipality. That
line represents the limit, beyond which, economic development can not
take place.

A caller to a radio program recently, who lives in Oregon, described
how the “sustainable communities” program in his town forced his family
farm into bankruptcy. When the “public/private” partnership drew a line
on a map around the city and declared that in order to limit urban
sprawl, no development could occur beyond the line, the value of the
caller’s land plummeted below the level of debt for which the land was
pledged as collateral. The farm was lost, but sprawl was limited.

The Livability Agenda will transform communities to conform to what
Agenda 21 has declared all “Human Settlements” should be — a place for
humans to live when they can no longer live where they choose to live.
Those who have chosen to live in rural areas, and earn their livelihood
from the natural resources are the people who are, or soon will be,
looking for a new place to live.

The Lands Legacy Initiative is a program to accelerate the takeover
of
the private property of those who have chosen to live in rural areas.
The administration claims that property will be bought only from
“willing” sellers. People who are caught in situations similar to the
Oregon farmer, for example. He would surely be a willing seller.
Champion International is another example of a willing seller. Some
300,000 acres of privately owned forests are being sold to the
Conservation Fund, for $76.2 million. Since cutting a tree has become a
mortal sin, and punishable by jail and fines, should it be in what the
government has declared to be a “critical habitat,” or a “wetland,”
there’s little reason to own the land just to continue paying taxes on
it. The president’s program would create a $1 billion-per-year fund,
forever, to be used to acquire private property from “willing” sellers.
Sooner or later, there will be no more private property and America will

be, in fact, a socialist state. Nearly 40 percent of the total land area
is
already owned by government.

The president’s program will also add another five million acres to
“wilderness” designation in order to, as the president says: “preserve
irreplaceable pieces of our natural legacy within easy reach of every
citizen.” While the president was making his statement at the National
Arboretum, Secretary Babbitt was answering press questions at the
Department of Interior. Babbitt was asked: “What is the wilderness
protection for the national park areas? Does that mean no roads, no
commercial development, nothing?”

Babbitt replied: “Yeah, the essential add-on, from a wilderness
designation in a national park, is precisely that. No more roads; no
motorized intrusions. No snowmobiles, jet-skis, ORVs.” America has
become accustomed to hearing the president say one thing, while knowing
full well that what he is saying bears little resemblance to the facts.

The facts of the wilderness expansion agenda are detailed extensively

in Section 11 of the Global Biodiversity Assessment, published by the
United Nations Environment Program for people who are involved with the
implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The
management policy adopted by the United Nations Education, Scientific,
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and implemented through its Man and
the Biosphere (MAB) program, calls for continual expansion of wilderness
areas, pushing ever-outward adjacent “buffer zones” which are
stringently managed for conservation objectives, and to connect the
wilderness areas with “corridors” of wilderness. Nowhere did the
president give credit to the Wildlands Project, which he is implementing

under the name of Lands Legacy Initiative and Ecosystem Management.

The Wilderness Act of 1964 set aside 9 million acres of wilderness
so,
as Hubert Humphrey put it, future generations could see what their
forefathers had to conquer. The executive director of the Wilderness
Society, Howard Zahniser, worked for five years to get the original
Wilderness Act into law. The founder of the Wilderness Society
advocated the nationalization of all forests back in the 1930s. The
Wilderness Society was a leader in the spotted owl listing that
devastated the Northwest. The Wilderness Society has been trying to
reclaim all the forest in the Northeast for more than a decade. George
Frampton was the president of the Wilderness Society until Bill Clinton
appointed him to head the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He is now
acting chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality. Bruce Babbitt
was head of the League of Conservation Voters when Bill Clinton
appointed him secretary of the Interior. These, and many other radical
environmental organizations, helped to develop Agenda 21, and the
Convention on Biological Diversity during the process leading up the
1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Now, these very same people stand
beside the president of the United States to announce they intend to
implement the very plans they made years ago.


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