RESPONSE TO KEN TAYLOR, DIRECTOR OF HABITAT, ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH & GAME WHO CHARACTERIZED CRITICS OF CARA AS EXTREMISTS (HIS EMAIL SENT OUT TO 191 PEOPLE ON 6/16/00)
There's an awful lot of misinformation going around about Young's Conservation and Reinvestment Act, mostly circulated by extremist property rights groups. While I'm not particularly fond of the idea of giving the federal government any funding to buy more federal land since they already own most of Alaska, the fact is this bill provides some restrictions on federal purchases that don't exist currently and actually improves the situation.
Most of what this bill does would be really good for Alaska as it provides considerable funding for coastal area impact assistance to communities, recreational facilities in rural communities, PILT funding, funding to keep species off the ESA lists, etc. I hope you and others will check into it more closely before reacting to something akin to what animal rights extremists put out.
Thanks for sending this along
TO: Ken Taylor, Director of Habitat, ADF&G DATE: 6/19/00
FROM: Ray Kreig, Keep Private Lands in Private Hands Coalition (Alaska) 276-2025
I received your comments above on CARA, apparently prompted by the announcement (attached to your e-mail) of my appearance on Alaska Public Radio last week.
Three of the many, very serious problems with CARA are:
1) Do Alaskans really want a massive increase in government land buying here? The state is already 90% government owned. Only 1/3 of 1% is non-native corporation private land. CARA increases historic LWCF base funding for federal land acquisition 15 times. Even more increases of CARA LWCF funding for state land buying is on top of that. Click here for backup.
2) Do Alaskans want to increase the power and authority of Bruce Babbitt over our spending? Although lip service is paid in CARA to states being able to define their own priorities early in the planning process, this is negated by giving the Secretary of the Interior final approval over use of all CARA money (except PILT - Payments In Lieu of Taxes which are only 6% of CARA). Bruce Babbitt exhibits no compunction whatever in straying widely from the intent of laws passed by Congress. His 1999 quote in the National Journal demonstrates this: "We've switched the rules, we are not trying to do anything legislatively." The recent blizzard of executive orders and national monument declarations signify an intensified "War on the West" that should make us very wary of loosely-written further grants of authority to Bruce Babbitt.
This issue is addressed in WHY CARA IS FISCALLY IRRESPONSIBLE AND A THREAT TO LOCAL LAND USE DECISIONS (VanHelmond and Antonelli, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 1370, May 9, 2000):
"CARA also represents a vast expansion of federal and state roles in local land management decisions. Unlike the practice in many of the programs that CARA would replace, H.R. 701 would require the U.S. Department of the Interior to review and approve many of the plans the states submit for the use of the funds. The funds would not be disbursed to a state without the Secretary of the Interior's approval. And while the bill's supporters argue that states and local communities will have a variety of ways to spend the money, the reality is that the federal government could disapprove their desired uses and force them to spend the money differently. One needs only to look at the experiences of the federal implementation of the Clean Air Act and the withholding of federal highway funds to see how powerful a threat the federal government can become to state and local land use decision making." More info: www.Heritage.org/library/backgrounder/bg1370.html
3) Worst of all, to every American concerned about good government process and responsible management of the public's hard-earned tax dollars, CARA walls off guaranteed spending for six new entitlements that place activities, as you listed, "coastal area impact assistance to communities, recreational facilities in rural communities, PILT funding, funding to keep species off the ESA lists", as well as others: historic preservation, stadium and soccer field construction – all at a higher priority then other federal obligations including medical research, education, defense, and veterans benefits which would still have to compete every year for their funds. For this, CARA has been condemned by both newspapers in Washington DC, the liberal Washington Post and the conservative Washington Times.
The so-called "private property protections" in CARA affect only 15% of the CARA money. Even then, they are of little use. A recent analysis by property rights expert, Fred Kelly Grant, points out how the CARA bill has been written in an attempt to assure a fast scanner of the bill that certain catchy property rights protection phrases will be noticed. But close reading of the bill reveals the phrases are without operative effect or value and makes one aware of the deceit of the bill sponsors (www.stewardsoftherange.org/fatal_flaws.htm).
Finally, to help you better judge whether only "extremist property rights groups" criticize CARA, perhaps this partial list of organizations opposed to CARA would be helpful:
American Land Rights Association - (By far the largest compilation of CARA information and links).
Citizens' Advisory Commission on Federal Areas, State of Alaska
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Americans for Tax Reform
National Taxpayers Union
Alaska Miners Association
National Center for Public Policy Research
California Republican Party
Alaska Republican Party
Please call me if I can provide you with additional information or wish to discuss further.
Be informed! Don't allow yourself to be snowed by CARA.
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