Free Markets, Free People

How to destroy property rights in one easy lesson

Give government bureaucracy the power to nullify your ownership rights in the name of a “higher good”.

You’re all familiar with the poly.  The WSJ describes it:

In partnership with green activists, the Department of Interior may attempt one of the largest federal land grabs in modern times, using a familiar vehicle—the Endangered Species Act (ESA). A record 757 new species could be added to the protected list by 2018. The two species with the greatest impact on private development are range birds—the greater sage grouse and the lesser prairie chicken, both about the size of a barnyard chicken. The economic stakes are high because of the birds’ vast habitat.

Interior is expected to decide sometime this month whether to list the lesser prairie chicken, which inhabits five western prairie states, as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. Meantime, the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service are considering land-use amendments to protect the greater sage grouse, which would lay the groundwork for an ESA listing next year.

One of the birds resides mostly on federal land (remember, the federal government owns most of the west of the US).  It is on these lands and the little private land there that the sage grouse is found:

The sage grouse is found in 11 western states—California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Most of the areas affected are federal lands routinely used for farming, ranching, mining, road building, water projects and oil and gas drilling.

Ah, gas drilling.  Well here we go:

Interior’s proposed “land use” amendments are draconian. They require a four-mile “buffer zone” whenever a sage-grouse mating ground is discovered on federal land. The American Petroleum Institute calls the proposed rules a “de facto ban on drilling.” It fears that compliance could cost tens of millions of dollars in legal fees and cause years of drilling delays.

Well of course it would.  That’s the whole point.  To make it economically unfeasible to fight this.  Never mind that the technology exists to make the foot print tiny (horizontal drilling), you still have to get permission to do it – time and mucho money.

But that’s on federal land.  How about private land.  Well it just so happens that’s where the prairie chicken comes in (along with the sage grouse).  Any idea of where they’re found?

The prairie chicken sits atop Texas’s Permian Basin oil bonanza, and the sage grouse is near the Bakken Shale in North Dakota.

So a bird that is found in 11 western states is apparently “endangered” and also sits conveniently on one of the most productive finds in modern history (Bakken) and the other bird just happens to be in Texas’ big petroleum find?  How ironic, no?

Politics in the service of activism.  And if the activists don’t get their way?

Environmental groups have won victories by using a strategy called “sue and settle” under which groups propose species for protected status and then sue the federal government, which settles the lawsuit on terms favorable to the greens rather than fight. These settlements typically bypass a thorough review of the scientific evidence and exclude affected parties, such as industry and local communities.

According to Kent Holsinger, a natural resources attorney in Denver heavily involved in these cases, “Wildlife Guardians and Center for Biological Diversity have been party to more than 1,000 lawsuits between 1990 and the present.” The Center for Biological Diversity has made no secret of wanting to end fossil-fuel production in the U.S.

In the case of the Obama administration, it is more likely that this won’t be an antagonistic process, at least where the econuts are concerned.  Instead it will be a cooperative process while they bleed the destroy the concept of private property once and for all.


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22 Responses to How to destroy property rights in one easy lesson

  • Dale’s Kangaroo – hop hop hop.

  • The Framers…more than anyone today…knew that land was power.  That is what provided the baronial system its means of controlling huge populations; the barons owned the land, and hence the main factor of production for food.
    I have found no Constitutional authority for the Federal government to own land outside a very restricted…and tiny…provision.
    It’s time to force the Feds to divest ALLLLLL lands it holds in the Western states, and most of what it holds everywhere else.

    • Sorry, but I like the National Parks & Forest, more or less the way they are (not the way this administration would want them).  If you turned them loose the rockies would become miles of condos of ski homes for Cali Types.  No thanks.

      • Hmm…  Constitution or not?
        You vote not?

      • Then buy them all up and turn them into your own, private preserve.

        • In truth, that “either-or” formulation is invalid.
          States can manage park lands AT LEAST as well as can the Feds.
          Plus…it is THEIR land.

  • The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has passed a bill to allow for a coyote bounty of $25 to be rewarded to hunters who can harvest the predators within the legal boundaries. If it passes through the Senate, it will be the first bounty placed on a wild animal in the Keystone State in 50 years.
    The “coyote incentive program” will be authorized by the state Game Commission and is intended to address the rising population and increasing complaints from residents. Rep. Michael Peifer, the bill’s sponsor, said anecdotal evidence has proven the need for such a measure, and that pets and livestock will continue to face a serious threat until the coyote population can be brought under control.

  • This borders on lunacy.  How can either of these birds be endangered when they are spread across 11 states?  From what I understand, the EPA says it can determine what made a species endangered all by itself.  The fact is that the EPA and  Environmentalists work hand and hand in court even though they “supposedly ” are on opposite teams.  Apparently, the EPA wants to get some policy changed so they get an environmentalist group to sue it.  They go to court before a Progressive judge who rules in the environmentalist’s favor AND forces the government to use taxpayers’ money to pay all of the lawyer and court fees for the environmentalists.

    • This borders on lunacy.

      You could have stopped there.
      The American people (via Tricky Dick) let in the EPA and released a demon that will never be sent back to hell.

  • The Dept. of Interior is abusing the Endangered Species Act for the shadow purpose of shutting down drilling.  But if you suggest shadow purposes for some of this administrations other actions and the fact their stack of failures are a stack of successes depending on the real purpose, you get looked at like you have 5 heads.

    • No no, only whack jobs, like people who want limited government and some nodding deference to the Constitution, have any agenda.

    • Pres. ScamWOW continues to Cloward-Piven our economy.

      Has anyone else noticed how many people (95%??) are oblivious to Cloward-Pivin? Many seem aware of it, but seem to think our nihilist-in-chief is merely naive or foolish, not malicious and malignant. And the same goes for peoples grasp of the bureaucracy, believing those people to be “hard working government employees” (see the hand wringing that came from the shutdown regarding laid off bureaucrats), not our MASTERS. (“Civil Servants – no longer civil, and no longer servants — Winston Churchill).
      As Dale so cogently put it, “The American people deserve to get it — good and hard”.

  • So if the greenies sue the fed over where a chicken can or can’t roost and the feds roll over like a fat puppy, why can’t the oil and gas industry sue also?
    I mean, they have much deeper pockets, AND they can sue BOTH the greenies and the feds at the same time.
    Soooooo if the feds are so scared of a law suit this should be a cake walk? right?
    This strategy also has the benefit of placing the issue in full public view.

    • Interestingly, many (most?) of those groups suing the EPA are funded by…THE EPA.
      Go figure (well, that’s not so difficult after all when one understand the totalitarian mind).

      • Apart from the funding, the EPA…and all other alphabet soup Fed agencies…are in open collusion with the Collective.
        The EPA feeds the enviro-nazis information all the time.

  • An excellent Trifecta series this week on the very topic…

  • I own 62 acres which has been family land since the late 1800s. My wife and I attempted to build a house there, only to find out that it was Quino Checkerspot butterfly habitat. A study located 11 of them, which killed our project.
    Now, they can’t tell you you can’t build. But you do have to minimize impact, so all our grading and landscape plans are now junk. The house plans would still work, although the design was optimized for the location. We spent quite a bit of money which is now lost.

    • Bet you still pay taxes for your land that you can’t use though, right?

    • For heavens sake don’t be tempted to sell – an Obama bundler will buy it cheap….