Giving Land Management Authority Back To The States

On March 10, One America News Network reported that congress has used the Congressional Review Act to roll back aggressive land use regulations that undermined local land management in many western states implemented by the Obama Administration in the last days of that administration.

The article reports:

“In the West particularly where the abundance of of our natural public lands are at, we want to make sure we have access to those lands and make sure that our local communities are engaged in the planning process, as well. Local governors, as well. The 2.0 rule was implementing a process where communities weren’t having that actual input and supplanting the actions our governors could take, as well,” Tipton (Colorado Congressman Scott Tipton) explains.

It was that 2.0 rule, implemented by the Bureau of Land Management or BLM that caused Westerners to object. The rule would have taken many land and resource management decisions away from states and localities. Tipton says his legislation will reverse that.

“You know, our lands are incredibly important in the State of Colorado in my district and access to those public lands. Keep them in the public domain, but let’s make sure we are having the opportunity to grow businesses, let’s make sure that we’re using resources going to be responsible. And protecting the land as well. And we want to make sure that we are having a place at the table. With our state government when there is a planning process on those lands,” Tipton said.

More local control of local public lands that happen to be owned by the federal government. That’s what western states want, but that was not what the Obama administration was doing, says Frontiers for Freedom President George Landrith who got his start as staff member for a Wyoming senator.

At the time the article was written, the legislation was approved by the House and the Senate and was waiting the President’s signature. This is another move back to the government our Founding Fathers created. The Tenth Amendment specifically states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

We need to get back to our Constitution.

How Far Do States’ Rights Go?

KWKT,com posted a story yesterday (updated today) about the federal government’s latest land grab. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has written a letter to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Neil Kornze about a BLM potential seizure of land that rightfully belongs to Texas landowners.

This is the letter:

April 22, 2014
The Honorable Neil Kornze
Director
Bureau of Land Management
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW, Rm. 5665
Washington, DC 20240
Dear Director Kornze:
Respect for property rights and the rule of law are fundamental principles in the State of Texas and the United States. When governments simply ignore those principles, it threatens the foundation of our free and prosperous society. That is why I am deeply concerned about reports that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is considering taking property in the State of Texas and that it now claims belongs to the federal government. Given the seriousness of this situation, I feel compelled to seek answers regarding the BLM’s intentions and legal authority with respect to Texas territory adjacent to the Red River.

I understand that your office is in the early stages of developing a plan—known as a Resource Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (RMP/EIS)—to regulate the use of federal lands along a 116-mile stretch of the Red River. As Attorney General of Texas, I am deeply troubled by reports from BLM field hearings that the federal government may claim—for the first time—that 90,000 acres of territory along the Red River now belong to the federal government.

Private landowners in Texas have owned, maintained, and cultivated this land for generations. Despite the long-settled expectations of these hard-working Texans along the Red River, the BLM appears to be threatening their private property rights by claiming ownership over this territory. Yet, the BLM has failed to disclose either its full intentions or the legal justification for its proposed actions. Decisions of this magnitude must not be made inside a bureaucratic black box.

Nearly a century ago, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the gradient line of the south bank of the Red River—subject to the doctrines of accretion and avulsion—was the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma. Oklahoma v. Texas, 260 U.S. 606 (1923). More recently, in 1994, the BLM stated that the Red River area was “[a] unique situation” and stated that “[t]he area itself cannot be defined until action by the U.S. Congress establishes the permanent state boundary between Oklahoma and Texas.” Further, the BLM determined that one possible scenario was legislation that established the “south geologic cut bank as the boundary,” which could have resulted “in up to 90,000 acres” of newly delineated federal land. But no such legislation was ever enacted.

Instead, in 2000, the U.S. Congress enacted legislation ratifying an interstate boundary compact agreed to by the State of Texas and the State of Oklahoma. With Congress’ ratification of the Red River Boundary Compact, federal law now provides that the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma is “the vegetation on the south bank of the Red River . . .”—not the “south geologic cut bank.” Given this significant legal development, it is not at all clear what legal basis supports the BLM’s claim of federal ownership over private property that abuts the Red River in the State of Texas.

This issue is of significant importance to the State of Texas and its private property owners. As Attorney General of Texas, I am deeply concerned about the notion that the BLM believes the federal government has the authority to swoop in and take land that has been owned and cultivated by Texas landowners for generations. Accordingly, I hereby request that you or your staff respond in writing to this letter by providing the following information as soon as possible:
1. Please delineate with specificity each of the steps for the RMP/EIS process for property along the Red River.

2. Please describe the procedural due process the BLM will afford to Texans whose property may be claimed by the federal government.

3. Please confirm whether the BLM agrees that, from 1923 until the ratification of the Red River Boundary Compact, the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma was the gradient line of the south bank of the Red River. To the extent the BLM does not agree, please provide legal analysis supporting the BLM’s position.

4. Please confirm whether the BLM still considers Congress’ ratification of the Red River Boundary Compact as determinative of its interest in land along the Red River? To the extent the BLM does not agree, please provide legal analysis supporting the BLM’s new position.

5. Please delineate with specificity the amount of Texas territory that would be impacted by the BLM’s decision to claim this private land as the property of the federal government.
In short, the BLM’s newly asserted claims to land along the Red River threaten to upset long-settled private property rights and undermine fundamental principles—including the rule of law—that form the foundation of our democracy. It is incumbent on BLM to promptly disclose both the process it intends to follow and the legal justification for its position.
Sincerely,
Greg Abbott
Attorney General of Texas

At least Texas has an Attorney General that is willing to stand up for the rights of its citizens.

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The Situation In Nevada Is Getting Uglier

The Obama Administration is noted for runaway government. Harry Reid is right in there with them. However, the latest news on the Nevada ranch standoff is stunning.

A website called Infowars has posted a story about the government action on the Bundy ranch that really raises some questions about what this is really about.

The article reports:

Back in 2012, the New American reported that Harry Reid’s son, Rory Reid, was the chief representative for a Chinese energy firm planning to build a $5-billion solar plant on public land in Laughlin, Nevada.

And journalist Marcus Stern with Reuters also reported that Sen. Reid was heavily involved in the deal as well.

“[Reid] and his oldest son, Rory, are both involved in an effort by a Chinese energy giant, ENN Energy Group, to build a $5 billion solar farm and panel manufacturing plant in the southern Nevada desert,” he wrote. “Reid has been one of the project’s most prominent advocates, helping recruit the company during a 2011 trip to China and applying his political muscle on behalf of the project in Nevada.”

“His son, a lawyer with a prominent Las Vegas firm that is representing ENN, helped it locate a 9,000-acre (3,600-hectare) desert site that it is buying well below appraised value from Clark County, where Rory Reid formerly chaired the county commission.”

The article at Infowars has pictures of Bureau of Land Management documents that have been pulled off of the internet that give credence to this story.

When Harry Reid entered Congress he was a middle-class American. He is now a millionaire. There is a least one questionable land deal in his past. It looks as if he working on another one–only this one may involve loss of life.

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Government Bullying Takes A New Turn

Yesterday the Las Vegas Sun posted an article about some recent events in the Nevada desert. Cliven Bundy, a 68-year-old Nevada native, has been in a battle with the Bureau of Land Managment (BLM) over land that his cattle has been grazing on for decades.

The article reports:

A renegade when it comes to any sort of government control, Bundy — the father of 14 children — has refused to pay BLM a dime of required grazing fees for his 900 cattle, a tab that has since reached $300,000. Bundy has fought the fee, he says, because his Mormon ancestors set up shop on the land long before the BLM formed.

The problem? The land where Bundy’s cattle graze is federally owned, and the BLM now says the livestock aren’t supposed to be there. Federal agents this week cordoned off sections of land and sparked a monthlong operation to seize the cattle.

Tensions boiled over this week when a scuffle between the BLM and Bundy’s supporters ended in violence: Agents reportedly used a stun gun to subdue Bundy’s son and knocked his daughter to the ground. Though called “brutal” by some, the brawl did not land anyone in a hospital or jail.

But the incident did prompt Operation Mutual Aid — a national militia with members from California to Missouri — to visit Bundy’s ranch and set up a camp just in case things got out of hand again. Before their arrival Thursday, dozens of Bundy’s friends and relatives gathered at a protest camp in solidarity for the recent woes that have colored his rustic ranch.

The Blaze has also reported on this story:

But the presence of what appear to be heavily armed agents isn’t the only thing that has the Bundys on edge: Their son, Dave, was arrested and allegedly roughed up Sunday for filming federal agents while outside an area designated for First Amendment activity on the restricted property. He was held overnight.

The 37-year-old Bundy was arrested “following failure to comply with multiple requests by BLM law enforcement to leave the temporary closure area on public lands,” Cannon said. She declined to comment on the claim that he was brutally treated.

Dave Bundy was released from custody Monday and cited for refusing to disperse and resisting issuance of a citation or arrest, she added. Cannon could not explain why Dave was held overnight.

There are a few questions I have here. At what point did the government take over the land? Did the government pay for the land? Why was David Bundy arrested for taking filming federal agents? This does not sound like America–it sounds like a government of bullies with nothing better to do than harass American citizens. Among other things, the government is stealing this man’s cattle!

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A Perspective On American Energy That Isn’t Being Heard

Scott Noble is the President of Noble Royalties, Inc. (NRI). NRI is a company that specializes in acquiring valuable mineral, royalty and overriding royalty properties. The company was founded in 1997. Mr. Noble is also chairman of the New American Energy Opportunity Foundation, which supports energy independence for America.

Mr. Noble was interviewed on the Bill Bennett show during the last presidential campaign. This is the audio from that interview:

Some highlights from the website of the NAEOF:

The United States has more energy resources than any other country in the world.  Because of recent advances in technology, American

has the potential to become the number one energy producer in the world by the end of the decade. The main obstacle to achieving this goal is over-regulation by the federal government. Because of those regulations, there are fewer jobs, higher prices at the gas pump, and our national security is at risk.
Under the Obama Administration, new leases on federal land have dropped to under 2 million a year from 12 million in 1988. According to a study conducted by Noble Royalties, returning to 1980’s leasing levels would generate

750 billion dollars in lease and royalty fees for the federal government and add

5 trillion dollars to America’s economy. That is how you fight unemployment.
The Obama Administration has blocked the development of oil sources in Alaska and offshore, and it has blocked the building of new oil refineries.
The article at NAEOF concludes:

Beyond outright bans on development and the failure to issue new leases, numerous new laws have been passed in the past 30 years increasing administrative requirements on energy producers.  A 2004 report from the U.S. Department of Energy determined that there are more than 140 different laws which impact natural gas production in the United States.  Most of these laws apply equally to oil development as well.  The result of this new mound of bureaucracy and red tape has been increased permitting delays, lawsuits and compliance costs that are additionally stymieing development.

Of course, it is reasonable to expect the US government take steps to make sure energy companies are developing oil and gas responsibly.  But environmental regulations long ago passed from the necessary to the ridiculous.  For instance, the Bureau of Land Management recently put a moratorium on drilling in 380,000 acres of land during the mating season of prairie chickens. But when pressed, BLM admitted that the ban was not based on any scientific analysis.

Instead of doing the things that will build our country’s future, we are borrowing from children who aren’t even born yet. America needs to wake up and elect people who will move forward on American energy independence.

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Whoops!

On Friday Hot Air reported that the auction for leases for the development of wind and solar farms in the western United States did not go as planned.

The article reports:

The nation’s first federally run auction for a chance to develop solar power projects on public lands was a bust.

No bidders showed up for the auction by the federal Bureau of Land Management, which was held Thursday in Lakewood.

“We did not have any bidders come to the sale and we did not receive any sealed bids on the sale,” BLM spokeswoman Vanessa Lacayo said. …

“The BLM had received interest in developing the sites, that’s why we moved forward,” she said. “It’s hard to say why we didn’t have any bidders.” …

“We will evaluate today’s auction as we look at future opportunities to offer lands in Solar Energy Zones for development, both in Colorado and other Western states,” the statement said.

Maybe there were no bidders because at the present time the technology for both wind and solar has not proven to be economically profitable. The sad part of this is that at the same time the government is holding these auctions with no takers they are blocking oil leases on government land. The oil boom in the west is almost entirely on private land–the government is not allowing the leases on government land. So what we have is the government selling leases of questionable value on government land while blocking the leases that might actually help the economy and lower unemployment. In what universe does that make sense?

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About President Obama’s Energy Policy

This is a graph from Investors.com of energy of energy production on federal land since 2003:

The article reports:

When President Obama, in responding Tuesday to Mitt Romney‘s chiding about failing to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, claimed that his administration has added enough new oil and gas pipelines to “encircle the Earth and then some,” we felt a perfect response from Romney would have been, “You didn’t build that.”

The article further reports:

According to the Interior Department‘s Bureau of Land Management, in 2008 under President Bush a total of 55,085 oil and gas leases were in effect on federal land. In 2011 under Obama, there were just 49,174, a decrease of 11%.

Federal acreage under lease shrank from 47.2 million in 2008 to just 38.5 million, a drop of 19%. And 6,617 oil and gas permits were approved in 2008 vs. 4,244 permits in 2011, a decrease of 36%.

The Heritage Foundation‘s Nicolas Loras points out that a recent report from the EIA documents the fact that energy production fell 13% on federal lands in fiscal 2011 compared with fiscal 2010.

Although tapping domestic energy would not bring down gasoline prices tomorrow, it would impact those prices in the near future. It is time to elect a President who will allow us to become energy independent.

 

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Attempting To Rewrite American History

Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to four term...

Image via Wikipedia

America is a country that has Christian roots. If you read some of our founding documents–the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution–you find God acknowledged in all of them. The respect for God and the need for prayer are part of America’s tradition–the first Thanksgiving Proclamations were issued by the Continental Congress between 1777 and 1784. George Washington issued the first Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789.

That is part of who we are, but not everyone is happy about that. Fox News reported on Thursday that the Obama administration has announced its objection to adding President Franklin Roosevelt’s D-Day prayer to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The article reports:

D-Day was one of the major events of the war. It was the beginning of the end of the war and the beginning of the allied victory. It was a totally risky undertaking, and when you read the reports of the time, it was not assured that the landing would be successful. I have said on this blog before that my father was one of the people who went ashore that day (on Utah Beach), so this is very important to me.
As a conservative, I am not FDR’s biggest fan, but his prayer was earnest and needed to alert the American people to the gravity of the situation and unite them behind our soldiers. That prayer is an important part of our war effort and belongs at that monument.
I have posted FDR’s prayer in the past–this is the link: rightwinggranny.
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