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Living in the West, hearing from landowners being forced off their own property by federal regulations, U.S. Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife, BLM, EPA, Department of the Interior, Department of Energy

Reining in federal land ownership—a drop in the bucket


A. Dru Kristenev image

By —— Bio and Archives December 6, 2017

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Reining in federal land ownership--a drop in the bucket
When the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was designated under President Clinton’s purview in 1996, it created real hardship for regional ranchers. New management rules locked up more than one and a half million acres, discontinuing grazing leases that were imperative to sustain cattle growers who’d been using the land responsibly for more than a century.

Part of the impetus for closing off natural resource development at the time was to halt access to one of the best sources of low sulfur coal, including from tribal populations, putting a stranglehold on arid land limited economies. Instituting the monument spelled financial disaster to Four Corners ranch industry as well as the Navajo that has tried to expand their coal industry. One of the reasons Clinton closed off the coal was a backroom deal made to bump up the price of the commodity being mined in Indonesia. It removed U.S. competition at the expense of Native America that, on the other hand, has been tagged to protest pro-growth projects like Dakota Access Pipeline and, now, truncating Bears Ears National Monument.

Related plans for state-of-the-art Desert Rock clean coal-fired power plant was later deep-sixed by environmental groups battling the DinĂ© and partner, Sithe Global, invoking specious climate change arguments that the environmental impact statement finally rejected. Extreme environmentalists continue to use the Indians to further their agenda when convenient, but dump them if their goals diverge, such as improving the First People’s living standards.  Fair weather friends at best. Enemies of self-determination at worst.

Undermining (pun intended) the coal industry had begun long before Obama took office, he only swore to finish it off by “bankrupting” it. The left has done such a good job that one of the most important employment opportunities on the Navajo reservation, generating power for the Southwest with coal-fired plants, is likely to be shutdown. The Navajo Generating Station that was lauded in the 1970s for building the DinĂ© economy that has languished otherwise, is due to die because the new administration hasn’t moved fast enough to remove industry-killing regulations.

On top of that, California, which would have benefited from more clean coal power plants, has cut off its nose to spite its face. How? By passing asinine legislation to refuse coal generated power in favor of environmentally friendly sources that has increased the cost of energy in that state, adding to their overburdened deficit of which Governor Brown and flunkies think the feds should bail them out. Just another reason for Moonbeam to call the tax cut bill “evil” because it removes the state and local tax write-offs, SALT, pressuring higher earners on whom the libs rely to carry their nanny state.

(As an aside, there’s reason to ponder how involved was the Clinton Administration in allowing closed uranium mines on the reservation to remain untouched, continuing to pollute the environment, and then engineering the Uranium One transaction netting the Clinton Foundation $143 million.)

President Trump is moving in the right direction by returning public lands to be utilized by the public that owns it, but it’s wholly inadequate. USDA via the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior (BLM, national parks and monuments) control millions of square miles that limit public access to the point that fires spread uncontrolled, thanks to another Clinton era disaster—the Roadless Act where fire roads have been steadily deconstructed.

The swell of federal land usurpation must be rolled back at the furious rate that it was instituted over the last 20 years. The West has been swallowed up by land trusts that sell to the government at a profit (Nature Conservancy being the main culprit) and the creation of national monuments, conservation easements, natural landscape registries, wildlife preserves, free-roaming protected species, fencing off wilderness to raise revenue, and the list goes on.

President Trump, don’t stop here. Strip down the U.S. Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife, BLM, EPA, Department of the Interior, Department of Energy and any number of other overreaching federal bureaucracies. Put the land back in local hands that know best how to conserve it and its productivity.

Living in the West, hearing from landowners being forced off their own property by federal regulations, it has been a pet project to get the government out of the business of restricting private and public land use. Dismantling national monuments, which have appropriated productive land to purposely shut out food producers as well as limit recreational use under the guise of protecting it, is only the beginning salvo.

The real question is, from whom are the out-of-control administrative agencies protecting the land? Evidently, they’re conserving it for posterity that won’t be allowed to use it either.

BTW, Land Barons and Gold Baron are fact-filled novels that address these issues in depth. Upcoming researched tale, Unknown Predator, due to be released February 1, 2018, goes deep into the role land trusts and government-protected species play in impeding private property use.

A. Dru Kristenev -- Bio and Archives |

Former newspaper publisher, A. Dru Kristenev,  grew up in the publishing industry working every angle of a paper, from ad composition and sales, to personnel management, copy writing, and overseeing all editorial content. During her tenure as a news professional, Kristenev traveled internationally as both a representative of the paper and non-profit organizations.

Since 2007, Kristenev has authored four fact-filled political suspense novels, the Baron Series, and two non-fiction books, all available on Amazon.

ChangingWind (changingwind.org) is a solutions-centered Christian ministry.

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