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Obama kicks land conservation in the n*ts

Despite having spent my career in environmental protection, conservation, and especially land conservation, I am always non-plussed when someone waves a magic wand, declares some government-managed public land off-limits, and then calls it “conservation.”

I love land acquisitions for public parks, forests, and hunting areas. Adding to the existing roster of public lands gives us more flexibility with existing areas, more chances to explore multiple use.

In the past couple of weeks lame duck president Hussein Obama has waved a magic executive wand over millions of acres of federally managed lands out west, and declared them national monuments. Obama did not work with land trusts or ranchers to purchase conservation easements or fee simple land out west, thereby adding to the total acreage available for public use. No, instead, Obama did there what he has basically done in the Middle East.

He droppedĀ  a turd in the punch bowl, and left the party.

Except Obama is so arrogant, he claims it is a big success.

Nothing damages land conservation more than unilateral actions by Washington, DC, about resource-rich lands specifically purchased to support and benefit the American people. All of them. The magic wand executive-heavy procedure just alienates so many people, you have to wonder if it is by design.

After all, recall that under Obama, the IRS made war on land trusts and conservancies. Silly rules and regulations were enacted making land purchases and tax-exempt gifts and appraisals much more difficult to do across America. My own belief is Obama hates most Americans, and especially people with land, whom he equates to colonists of some sort. So he set out to punish them. All those rich land trusts run by wealthy white people…mmm mmm mmmmmm, no good. Waaaayyy too much “privilege.”

And so as much as Obama is giving a black eye to real land conservation, he is actually doing this to hurt the people he mistakenly equates with the racist notion of “white privilege.”

He is also doing what he did best, which is rule by fiat, like the tyrant he wanted to be and like those he relates to best elsewhere, like Cuba, and Saudi Arabia. Waving the executive magic wand is ruling by fiat. In this day and age, every acre of federally managed land out west has some political land mine under it. You only start kicking it around if you want to stir things up. What a coward and home wrecker he is to stir it up and walk away.

I think Obama enjoyed kicking land conservation in the n*ts. Regardless of the damage it does to land trusts and valuable land conservation programs down the road. It is part of his scorched earth legacy as he leaves the White House.

 

Thank you

Dear friend, thank you for your friendship, affection, and trust.

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Dear fellow citizen….Enjoy Thanksgiving in the greatest nation on Planet Earth.

Federal assault on land conservation continues…no surprise

Gathering enormous momentum over the past four years is an all-out assault on land conservation by the federal government. Led by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), charitable donations of land and land development value across America have been subject to incredible scrutiny and disdainful investigators who repeatedly assert that the donations of real property literally have zero value.

Private citizens defending their generous charitable contributions often spend tens of thousands of dollars. When they win in court, the IRS agents just walk away and start again with someone else.

The investigations and audits by the IRS have spawned hundreds of lawsuits by charitable donors who feel rooked, first by having donated real property value said to be worth nothing, and then by having their own government turn against their generosity.

The donors are Americans of every walk of life, from urban elites with rural second properties, to poor dirt farmers trying to preserve the home farm and their way of life. Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, and every little local land trust in between Bangor, Maine, and Santa Barbara, California is subject to this onslaught and Gestapo tactics.

It is difficult to accept that protecting America’s inspiring landscape through private donations to registered charities is such a problem that the IRS must expend hundreds of millions of dollars on it every year. And yet the agency’s juggernaut rolls on. We aren’t talking about junk cars worth $300 in parts being claimed for $3,000. Rather, the donations run from tens of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars, carefully appraised by certified real estate appraisers.

Tax courts have repeatedly taken dim views of the investigations’ impetus and the IRS’s conclusions, often rebuking the government’s cases from the basic claims all the way through its reasoning, evidence, and methodology. It hasn’t stopped the IRS.

Why, one might ask, is this happening, even gathering steam, during the reign of such a perfect presidential administration? You know, the one which gets constant kudos, plaudits, and free passes from the usual array of environmental advocacy groups that during the Bush administration didn’t miss a second of the constant drum beat against their (alleged, supposed, manufactured, and yes, often real) faults and failures…Not that those environmental advocacy groups could ever, ever be accused of being partisan….

Here is one theory: Barack Obama hates private wealth, he hates private property, and he hates the idea that wealthy people can donate real estate value and be big heroes for it. Land conservation is very much the realm of wealthy blue bloods, big Republican foundations, land-rich-cash-poor ranchers and farmers who haven’t voted for a Democrat in oh, a few decades, and plenty of gun owners and outdoorsmen. In other words, land conservationists are mostly comprised of the very people Obama calls “enemies.”

Land conservation is underwritten and mostly run from stem to stern by the people most symbolic of America’s traditional modes of success: Land and natural resources. These are the people most at odds with Obama’s views of economics, wealth, and supposed historic injustices. So we can expect this assault on land conservation to continue. And we can expect the nakedly partisan advocacy groups who pretend to be neutral on natural resource conservation to continue to give this administration a 100% pass.