Home Topics in Depth Progressive Parties Congress moves to give away national lands, discounting billions in revenue

  • PiedPiper (1183 posts)
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    Congress moves to give away national lands, discounting billions in revenue

    Though recreation on public lands creates $646bn in economic stimulus and 6.1m jobs, Republicans are setting in motion a giveaway of Americans’ birthright.

    In the midst of highly publicized steps to dismantle insurance coverage for 32 million people and defund women’s healthcare facilities, Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away Americans’ birthright: 640m acres of national land. In a single line of changes to the rules for the House of Representatives, Republicans have overwritten the value of federal lands, easing the path to disposing of federal property even if doing so loses money for the government and provides no demonstrable compensation to American citizens.

    At stake are areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges, which contribute to an estimated $646bn each year in economic stimulus from recreation on public lands and 6.1m jobs. Transferring these lands to the states, critics fear, could decimate those numbers by eliminating mixed-use requirements, limiting public access and turning over large portions for energy or property development.

    In addition to economic stimulus from outdoor activities, federal land creates revenue through oil and gas production, logging and other industrial uses. According to the BLM, in 2016, it made $2bn in royalty revenue from federal leases. The Outdoor Industry Association estimates federal tax revenue from the recreation economy at almost $40bn.

    Ignoring those figures, the new language for the House budget, authored by Utah Republican representative Rob Bishop, who has a history of fighting to transfer public land to the states, says that federal land is effectively worthless. Transferring public land to “state, local government or tribal entity shall not be considered as providing new budget authority, decreasing revenues, increasing mandatory spending or increasing outlays.”

    Essentially, the revised budget rules deny that federal land has any value at all, allowing the new Congress to sidestep requirements that a bill giving away a piece of federal land does not decrease federal revenue or contribute to the federal debt.

    Republican eagerness to cede federal land to local governments for possible sale, mining or development is already moving states to act. Western states, where most federal land is concentrated, are already introducing legislation that pave the way for land transfers. ..cont’d

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/bureau-land-management-federal-lease

    They’ve been trying to do this for years and must assume it’s now or never. Let’s make it

    N E V E R !!!

    N E V E R ! ! !    

    N E V E R ! ! !

     

    Conservationist Terry Tempest Williams puts herself on frontline of climate fight

    Ben Goldfarb
    Last modified on Wednesday 11 January 2017

    A longtime advocate for public lands, Terry Tempest Williams has been at the forefront of fighting for conservation. This year, she stepped into the firing line.

    One cold day last February, Terry Tempest Williams, a prominent environmental author and advocate, stepped into Utah’s Salt Palace to begin her unlikely career in the energy industry.

    Salt Palace, Salt Lake City’s largest convention center, was hosting a federal oil and gas lease sale, at which the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would auction off 45,000 acres of public land for oil and gas extraction.

    The BLM, the nation’s largest landlord, sold drilling rights to 810,000 acres in 2015. While that may sound like a vast area, it’s barely a postage stamp for BLM. Energy companies currently hold leases to more than 30m BLM-managed acres nationwide.

    Williams had arrived with a cadre of protesters, who charged that drilling the parcels – and burning the fuel buried beneath them – would damage the land and contribute to dangerous climate change. Though Williams’s history of civil disobedience included more arrests and climate marches than she could count, she’d begun to feel she wasn’t doing enough. She’d come to the Palace to attempt a new form of activism, to further exercise what she called her “moral imagination”.

    Williams filled out a bidder registration form and sat down in the front row, among representatives from Silver Spur Resources and Turner Petroleum.

    A BLM agent approached to warn her that she could be prosecuted for misrepresenting herself as a legitimate energy bidder….cont’d

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/31/terry-tempest-williams-books-conservationist-public-lands-fight

     

    "..... Two faces; one for love and another for the DMV".   --  Between The Two, by poet Kenji Liu


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  • FanBoy (7985 posts)
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    1. I'm horrified by what's going on in every field of us life;

    but I have to say its been going on for years, and is only accelerating as we get closer to the coup de gras.

    and it’s interesting to me that people like Williams, whose father is a pipeline operator who apparently had a change of heart just in time for this article, get lots of press — and nothing changes; it just gets worse.

    “Activism” is also run by the ruling class, imo.  This celebrity crap is what now substitutes for working class mass action.  For whom is this article written?  For the middle class so they can think somebody’s taking care of the problem while feeling in the know.  What they’ll take from this is probably what a great chick Williams is, fighting the power etc.  Cause the upper middle is all about the nature and the conservation you know.  But

    Williams is not “on the frontline” — the article clearly says that the unsold leases are ones the oil corps ain’t interested in — that’s why they didn’t sell.  The corps got their oil leases.  The woman didn’t even bid on anything — she waited until the oil corps gorged and then went down to some office and bought unsold leases.

     

    Her own family is grappling with upheaval as well. Williams’s father, John Henry Tempest III, former president of a pipeline construction business, was initially enraged by his daughter’s tactics…But her father was also horrified by the callousness with which many energy companies treat their workers. Thus Williams was not entirely surprised when, a few weeks after her purchase, she came home to find John waiting for her.

    “He said, ‘You don’t know what you’re doing, but I do,’” Williams recalled. “‘And somebody’s got to take on these guys.’”

    And so Williams’s father, a man who for decades fed his family on proceeds from the fossil fuel industry, accepted the chairmanship of Tempest Exploration’s board.