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Did you know that Federal legislation for massive government acquisition of private land across 26 million acres of northern New England is quietly making its way through Congress? The US Senate has held a hearing on the Northern Forest Stewardship Act (S-546) with testimony from official "witnesses" who were stacked against private landowners. Only one person was permitted to speak against the bill.

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Six years ago Brooke Evans, then Vice President and Chief Lobbyist for the National Audubon Society, compared the environmental groups (Greens) campaign for Federal acquisition of 26 million acres of rural northern New England to their successful campaign to shut down the forests and rural communities of the Northwest, using the spotted owl as the tool. He told a group of environmentalist leaders at an activist workshop just outside of Boston:

"This will be an even bigger campaign in the next few years than the Ancient Forest Campaign we're just doing through in the Pacific Northwest... I don't agree that we can't get it all back [sic]... I don't agree that it shouldn't all be in the public domain."

Since then millions of dollars from wealthy environmental foundations and their corporate friends have poured into a coalition of national and state environmentalist groups to plan for the land takeover of the Northern Forests and to lobby Congress to make it happen.

Under the new bill, three Federal Land agencies – the National Park Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Forest Service – will write regulations defining how they will "assist" the states and embark on a massive land acquisition planning program. That will then lead to pre-authorized, Federally funded State and Federal land acquisition, with no limits on where they will buy or the cost.

Landowners need not be notified until the final stages, when according to one patronizing section of the bill, you will be "involved in a meaningful way that acknowledges [your] concerns about public land acquisition" – before the acquisitions proceed regardless of your "concerns."

Over time, the local economy will be gradually strangled as natural resources are turned into "sustainable" preserves. Depending on what Government programs are used for acquisition and control at any given time in the future, your home and your land will be threatened by eminent domain and/or regulatory land-use prohibitions that take your freedoms and reduce the value of your property.

You will be turned into a "willing seller" at bargain prices by wealthy special interests who want your property for national parks. Local zoning, according to the bill, is "an important land use mechanism, [but] is not an appropriate substitution for acquisition." They want it all. They don't want to allow local control. It doesn't get much nastier than this – or sneakier.

Your opinions will become part of the official record along with those of the greens and the "deal-makers" who were invited to support the bill. If you decide to file a lawsuit later, it is critical that you submit testimony now. Even just one page. Other wise a judge could rule that you are "sleeping on your rights" and not allow you to sue. Here is what you need to do to make your voice heard. But you need to act quickly.

  1. Send a one page letter to the Senate Subcommittee (you can send more if you want) stating your concerns about the Northern Forest Stewardship Act (S-546). Mail it to: Honorable Rick Santorum (R-PA), Chairman, Forestry, Conservation, and Rural Revitalization Subcommittee, SR-328A RSOB, US Senate, Washington DC 20510. Mark it "Testimony for the record (S-546)." Send a fax to (202) 224-1725. You may call them at (202) 224-2035.
  2. Send a copy of your letter to each member of the committee. Address them: Honorable ______, US Senate, Washington DC 20510. Mark it attention: S-546. Other members of the committee: Charles Grassley (R-IA), Paul Coverdell (R-GA), Pat Roberts (R-KA), Larry Craig (R-ID), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Tom Daschle (R-SD), Max Baucus (D-MT), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
  3. Send a copy to your local newspaper as a letter to the editor. Be sure to re-type it for them.
  4. Send a copy to each member of the House Forestry, Resource Conservation and Research Subcommittee that will examine the bill. Address them: Honorable ______, House of Representatives, Washington DC 20515. Their names are: Larry Combest (R-TX), Bill Barrett (R-NE), John Doolittle (R-CA), Richard Pombo (R-CA), Nick Smith (R-MI), Terry Everett (R-AL), Frank Lucas (R-OK), Ron Lewis (R-KY), Helen Chenoweth (R-ID), John Hostettler (R-IN), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Ray LaHood (R-IL), Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) Jerry Moran (R-KA), Charles Pickering Jr. (R-NIS), Bob Schaffer (R-CO), Bill Jenkins (R-TN), and John Cooksey (R-LA).
  5. Call or write your local towns and counties to urge them to oppose the bill.
  6. If you belong to a local group like a farm bureau, forestry association , landowner group or taxpayers association, send copies of your letters to them. Ask them to oppose the bill.

What you should include in your testimony (use your own words).

  1. Don't allow Senator Leahy to sneak S-546 into an appropriations bill like he did last year.
  2. Ask for field hearings so you can testify personally.
  3. Ask that no land acquisition be allowed by the bill.
  4. Ask that S-546 not be allowed to federalize private forests in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and upstate New York.
  5. Don't federalize our forests so the green groups can tie them up in Wilderness and stop Logging.
  6. Support our local communities. Keep land use controls local.
  7. Don't destroy our tax base by allowing the federal government to buy land.

For More Information Contact:

American Land Rights Association
Tel: CompanyPhone
FAX: CompanyFAX

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