Bipartisan congressional group urges big jump in funding to buy public lands

This is the first time in quite a while to hear a serious proposal to increase funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund-

Report urges investing billions in natural treasures. Federal government » Interior secretary says in times of difficulty we look to our landscapes for greatness. By Thomas Burr. The Salt Lake Tribune.

Over the years the Land and Water Conservation Fund has been used to purchase many natural treasures of land and water, but most of the time the fund has been starved simply to make the federal deficit look better.

More details on this. Report proposes conservation overhaul. By Jerry Hagstrom. Government Executive.com. One important quote from this is “The report specifically notes the Agriculture Department spends $2 billion per year on short-term leases on land in the Conservation Reserve Program, but public access for hunting and fishing or other recreational pursuits is “not a primary objective and landowner liability is a major stumbling block in some states.” [boldface mine]

The C0nservation Reserve Program does often benefit wildlife, but at a very high monetary cost. Over the years in many cases, enough money is spent on lease of lands in the CRP that the land could have been purchased several times over.

Western Lands Project monitors public land privatization

Privatization does not always happen directly. Western Lands Project looks at the sneaky ways-

Wilderness Dedux. From the Goat Blog in High Country News.

In recent years we have seen the emergence of “quid pro quo” Wilderness, where Wilderness is designated only if some developors are authorized to do something bad in exchange. This was not the way Wilderness designation used to take place. It was done simply top protect a pristine place. Conflicts were worked out. If they could not be, the Wilderness proposal died.

Now proposals are made with the intent of weakening the act itself in exchange or facilitating some unrelated project. Western Public Lands has a free book (as a download). This book ($10 if you want a printed version) looks at the details of five of these wilderness proposals so to “illustrate the elaborate machinations and distortions” that we find in them. A number of these involve privatization in exchange for Wilderness designation.