From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Call Today About Lame Duck Votes

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973 
E-mail: alra@landrights.org or alra@governance.net  
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org 
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003

Call Today About Lame Duck Votes

Three Key Votes are hanging over your head in the Lame Duck Session of Congress.   A lot of bad legislation passes in a rush when Congress is distracted.
Don’t let that happen now.  

A short summary of each issue is listed as well as Action Items for each issue.

-----1.  Senate vote -- Special Tax Break for Enviro groups, Nature Conservancy and other land trusts—S 476 and HR 7, the “Faith Based Initiative.”

-----2.  House To Vote On Wallowa Water Grab S 1355.  The House is using the Senate passed bill number.  

-----3.  Rim Of The Valley Vote - Call your Congressman today to oppose S 347.   A giant new National Park that will strangle thousands of landowners and many communities, close roads and cut off access to traditional recreation.

-----1.  "Faith Based" Enviro Scam Vote Possible – Nature Conservancy Tax Break.

"Faith Based Initiative" hijacked by Enviros!!!

>>>Tax Favoritism, Federal Grant Money proposed for Enviros!!!

-----A.  Multi-billion dollar land trusts handed special tax breaks!

-----B.  Enviros made eligible for  Even  More  grant money!

At any time in the next few days a House-Senate Conference Committee could meet to resolve differences between S. 476 and HR. 7, called the “Faith Based Initiative.”  It is called the “Care” Act.  It was originally designed to offer funds to social service agencies.

The multi-million dollar environmental groups have stuck their snout in the taxpayer financed trough by qualifying their schemes as religious activities and made themselves eligible for this "Faith Based Initiative" funding!!

Also -  the multi-billion  dollar Land Trusts have snuck into the bill special  Tax Favoritism  for themselves.  It will give them a special tax break when buying land.  It places multi-billion monsters like the Nature Conservancy at a competitive advantage over private schools, churches and charities.

You helped defeat a 50% tax break for the Nature Conservancy and others last year in the House of Representatives.  

But a 25% tax break for the greens and their land grabbing allies did pass in the Senate.  The two versions of the bill must now be resolved.

Your job is to keep a conference committee from accepting the Senate 25% tax break.

It could be snuck through in the dark of night in a special back room deal as part of the Lame Duck Congress.

This places at a competitive disadvantage the following:

a) All non-profits that are not "conservationist" environmental groups, 
including churches, orphanages, private schools, and social service 

b) All private parties who may want to purchase will also have to bid a 
higher amount, in order to compete with the tax break accruing to the seller 
- only if he sells to an environmental group or to a government agency.

c) In areas, usually in the western U.S., where the federal government 
already owns most of the land, this proposal will accelerate turnover of 
property to the government and resulting loss of tax base for municipalities 
and economic activity for communities.

d) In many cases, the land owner who is selling the land will not even 
benefit.  When other parties are discouraged from bidding, the environmental 
group can lower their bid by the amount of the tax break.  So the only 
beneficiary is the environmental group.

Tell both your Senators and your Representative  Immediately:

-----I.    S.476, Sections 106 and 107 - Multi-BILLION dollar land trusts do not 
need special  Tax Favoritism  over private schools and churches!!!

-----II.    Environmental and animal rights groups should not be permitted to 
qualify as faith based organizations and apply for tax funds!!!

>>>>>Action Items – Nature Conservancy Tax Break in “Faith Based Initiative.”

-----a.   Call, fax and e-mail Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) who is Chairman of the Senate Committee and who has been a supporter of the Nature Conservancy Tax Break.   He can stop this special deal if he wants to.   Phone:  (202) 224-3744 – FAX (202) 224-6020  -- http://grassley.senate.gov/webform.htm

-----b.   Call both your Senators and your Congressman.     You may call any Senator or Representative at the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.    When the switchboard answers, ask for your Senators office.  Then ask for the staff person who covers S.476, tax issues or natural resource issues . . . or each of them.  If you are calling your Congressman, ask about HR 7.  You defeated the tax break in the House but remind your 
Congressman to make sure any conference committee opposes the Senate language.

-----c.  Send a fax objecting to this special secret deal to both your Senators plus your Representative.  If you do not have their fax number, call the toll free number above to get it from your Senator or Representative.

-----d.  Call at least three (3) friends to get them to call.

-----2.  House To Vote On Wallowa Water Grab S 1355

Wallowa Valley In Eastern Oregon a Model for Nationwide Land and Water Grabs

If Congress passes S 1355, it will set a precedent for funding the repair or replacement of a private dam with Federal dollars.   Over $40 million.   There are over 10,000 other dams like it nationwide.   This will cost the government far more than just the money need to fix the Wallowa dam.

S 1355 gives the Indians private control of the fish facilities at the dam.  It brings in Endangered Salmon regulations.  Read below for the many reasons why S 1355 is a very bad idea.

There is no need.  Local interests are willing to put up the money to fix the dam.  They don’t want to trade away their future or tie up all their land in endangered species (salmon) regulations.

Don’t let the land and water grabbers sneak this bill through without careful consideration.

>>>>>>>>Action Items – Wallowa Dam Land and Water Grab S 1355

-----A.  Call your Congressman at the Capital Switchboard, (202) 225-3121 to insist on a markup and full consideration on S 1355 in the House Resources Committee before they vote on what is called the Wallowa Lake Dam Rehabilitation and Water Management Act.  Also send them a fax and e-mail.  Ask them not to rush to judgment on this land and water grab. 

-----B.  Be sure to call the staff of Chairman Richard Pombo of the Resources Committee at (202) 225-2761.  Send a fax to (202) 225-5929.  E-mail him at resources.committee@mail.house.gov   

-----C.  Go to http://www.stopthewatergrab.org to download your own petition to send or e-mail back.    You can download a formatted Testimony Questionnaire by going to http://www.landrights.org

-----3.  Rim Of The Valley Vote – S 347 – Giant new National Park Land Grab.

It is urgent that you call your Congressman today to oppose S 347.   The House is using the Senate number of S 347 to move the bill.  

The only way for local groups to fight local issues when threatened by Federal proposals is to band together nationwide and support each other.  You, by calling today, will save people who will be there tomorrow to help you when you are threatened.

Rim of the Valley is a giant new National Park being slipped by Congress is a supposed addition to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Congress is started a Lame Duck Session Tuesday, November 16th.   A lot of bad legislation passes in dark of night in rushed sessions in the wee hours of the morning with the Congress having little time to focus on each issue.  The ESA is an example of this kind of mistake.  It was poorly thought out. 

Ask your Congressman to hold S 347 until next year when everyone can take the time to carefully analyze it and see the full scope of the danger. 

The key is to keep the  bill from passing under a unanimous consent rule.  Only one Congressman has to object.   You must insist on a full vote on the issue if they are not going to delay it until next spring.

S 347 (Rim of the Valley) would surround the: 

parts of the Santa Monica Mountains; 
the Santa Susanna Mountains;
the San Gabriel Mountains; 
the Verdugo Mountains; 
the San Rafael Hills; 
and adjacent connector areas to the Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests. 

In California with a huge New National Park area.

>>>>>>>>>>>>Action Items – Rim of the Valley land grab.

-----A.  You need to call, fax and e-mail your Congress in opposition to S 347 immediately.  They are using the Senate number to move the bill in the House.  Every Congressman can be reached at (202) 225-3121.  Ask your Congressman for his fax number.  Send a one page fax.

-----B  Be sure to call the staff of Chairman Richard Pombo of the Resources Committee at (202) 225-2761.  Send a fax to (202) 225-5929.  E-mail him at resources.committee@mail.house.gov   

-----C.  Ask your Congressman to oppose S 347.  Ask him or her to get you a copy of the map of the proposed area.  Virtually no Congressman has seen a map.  When they do, they should realize how crazy this idea is.  

-----D.  Be sure to go to www.landrights.org for a copy of the map of the Rim of the Valley.  You can enlarge it to make it more readable.

If S 347 passes and the huge expansion eventually passes Congress it will:

-----1.  Will threatened thousands of landowners and recreation users.

-----2.  By our estimate, it will cost over $2 billion dollars and perhaps a great deal more to carry out their grandiose land acquisition and regulatory scheme.   It will become a never-ending money pit with Congress having to keep up with public expectations.

-----3.  Would study expanding the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area by adding a corridor encircling large portions of all the mountains surrounding the San Fernando Valley, La Crescenta Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, Simi Valley and Conejo Valley in California on the North side of Los Angeles.

-----3.  S 347 includes part of the Santa Monica Mountains, the Santa Susanna Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Verdugo Mountains, the San Rafael Hills, and adjacent connector areas to the Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests.

-----4.  The study area will encompass 491,518 acres, that’s two-thirds the size of Yosemite.  It’s nearly three and a half times the size of the existing Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area which is 153,750 acres.  It will run approximately 300 miles giving it a huge scope.

-----5.  Will control land use within and adjacent corridors by threatening eminent domain (condemnation) of the land.  That is how they prevent building and lots of other uses.   ALRA saved a ski area in Maine recently that had been continually threatened with condemnation.

-----6.  S 347 will ultimately dilute the Park Service budget meaning less care for other parks.

-----7.  The combined length of these corridors is likely to run as much as 300 miles long.  The Santa Monica Mountains Corridor NRA is only about 40 miles long and is already costing over one billion dollars.

-----8.  The corridors will be like a series of giant nooses put around the necks of the many communities in the encircled areas.  Economic and social activities will be greatly inhibited.  Access people now take for granted will be lost forever.  Frankly, the Park Service has a record of being a very bad neighbor.   Go to www.landrights.org for several socio-cultural assessments and histories of Park Service abuses.

-----9.  There will be a massive increase in regulations controlling private and community activities with the encircled areas.  S 347 will interdict transportation corridors, which will mean new bridges and passageways for wildlife corridors throughout the region.  

----10.  They’ll use the wildlife as an excuse for substantial new regulatory controls.  They’ll build bridges for the wildlife over the freeways but you’ll be locked out.   For example over 90% of Yosemite is now closed off to most of the public.  They are closing campgrounds and parking lots and soon you will have to take a bus just to get into the park.

----11.  Force the closure of hundreds of miles of exiting roadways substantially reducing motorized recreation.

----12.   It will be hard or impossible to get communication towers and other utilities installed in these corridors.  

----13.  They say they will put in hiking trails, but the area is so hot in the summer that very little hiking takes place.  There is virtually no water.   In the winter, it becomes floods and mud.  At the existing Santa Monica Mountains NRA they have to actually bus people out of the center of the City of Los Angeles in order to increase visitorship.  People who have a choice don’t spend much time there.

----14.  Movie and TV companies who use these areas for films will be prevented from doing their normal work.  The Park Service likes naturalness.  They don’t really like people.  They just want enough to justify their budget.

----15.  Creation of the Rim of the Valley Corridor could require tougher Class I air standards that would have a negative impact on private industry throughout the San Fernando Valley and the other areas.  If you like the notion of viewsheds and soundsheds, you love the Rim of the Valley Corridor bill.   

----16.  The House has not held a hearing on S 347.  They did hold a hearing on another very different bill a year ago.  The Senate held a hearing but had no one testify against the bill.  That’s fairness for you.  You would think they would want to hear from both sides.  So Congress is really operating in the dark.  

----17.  Even though there is very little water, what exists is valuable.  S 347 will give the National Park Service a large measure of control over all the high ground around these valleys.  Historically that means the agency uses that power to interdict the goals of local communities and business. 

----18.  The Park Service also seeks to keep communities from allowing landowners to use their land by threatening the cities and towns with the loss of Federal funds of all kinds.  

Forward this message as widely as possible.  

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