Pillage plans: making America smaller

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by LizKat, Jan 31, 2017.

  1. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #1
    The big land grab is on now, with the introduction by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) of a bill in the House directing immediate sale of federal lands adding up to about 3 million acres in 10 states. The lands are currently under Bureau of Land Management authority. There are in total about 640 million acres under national ownership, so these three million acres are just the tip of the iceberg the Republicans have been trying to find ways to sell off or give to the states to do with as they will since Ronald Reagan's days; the lands are now managed either by BLM, National Forests or Federal Wildlife Refuges.


    Excerpt:

    Chaffetz introduced the bill alongside a second piece of legislation that would strip the BLM and the US Forest Service of law enforcement capabilities, a move in line with the Utah delegation’s opposition to all federal land management.

    “The other bill hamstrings our ability to manage and ensure that our public lands are being kept safe,” said Bobby McEnaney of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “When you have those two combined, it’s a fairly cynical approach to how public lands can be managed.”


    Hunters and environmentalists share dismay over the bill since it appears to be a direct follow-on to a bill passed earlier in the month by Republicans, in which a one-liner essentially assigned a zero value to the land (deeming it worthless) by stipulating that

    Transferring public land to state, local government or tribal entity shall not be considered as providing new budget authority, decreasing revenues, increasing mandatory spending or increasing outlays.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/bureau-land-management-federal-lease
    By virtue of that single line, public lands now under Bureau of Land Management authority, and designated for mixed use --mining, hunting, logging, wildlife habitat, recreation-- thus become eligible for giveaways to the states without any compensation to the federal government --the taxpayers-- for the up to $40 billion in revenue the mixed use of these 3 million acres now brings to the table annually. As far as public access goes, direct sale of parcels by the Department of Interior can cut off access to huge areas when a sold parcel is much smaller but cuts off access to the remainder.

    If federal lands are given to states rather than sold directly, they may still end up being sold. A state, if pressed for revenue, could sell off the lands as desired to private interests, in many cases ending all public access. Even if they don't need new revenue, there is the expense side: states will not likely have the budget to take over the federal outlays now expended on the lands for law enforcement, road maintenance, habitat maintenance, fire protections etc. thus forcing them to find buyers.

    There may be some restrictions not easily dismissed if there are conflicts with other federal laws or agency rulings, for instance, tribal lands laws and habitat protections. However, there has been no public comment period established for discussion of this measure since it is pending legislation, not the prospective ruling of a government agency.

    As a result, many Americans now entitled to mixed use of the lands may be unaware that their lands may become eligible for sale from under their very feet without notice. Obviously there has been no time for conservationist organizations to try to raise funds to purchase and maintain the lands either.

    I don't know about you but I've not the money to rush out and buy me a couple thousand acres of anything. So to me this looks like a great opportunity for the 1% to get out there at the front of the line, if they can beat the logging, mining, drilling and other extractive industries to the door.

    Thanks GOP. :rolleyes: Thanks a lot for helping make America smaller again. Maybe the ghost of a dead Pacific Queen can reclaim part of Hawaii? I hope the tribal lands laws manage to withstand this assault, but they are complex and where complexity rules, so usually do loopholes.

    Past all that I have long enjoyed real and vicarious experiences of our national parks and wildlife refuges. I'm part of the 95% of Americans who think protecting national parks for future generations is important.

    I don't wish Chaffetz or the rest of the GOP good luck with this endeavor. Quite the opposite: I hope that bill goes down in flames. The bill is in the 115th Congress, HR 621. It has been introduced and referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources. The text is not yet available since it's just been brought today. It's heartening that even Utah conservation organizations are not in favor of the bill...



     
  2. MadeTheSwitch macrumors 6502a

    MadeTheSwitch

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    #2
    Republicans in congress won't be happy until all of America is paved over and made into a business opportunity for their and their buddies portfolios. Welcome to the oligarchy.
     
  3. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #3
    Thankfully most of the land around me is owned by Alaska native tribes so it at least won't get sold off to corporations who will ruin it, but it will be sad to lose access to much of the west. Hopefully this bill goes down in flames.
     
  4. jkcerda Suspended

    jkcerda

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    #4
    Completely disagree with selling the lands , I get upkeep cost money but selling is not the answer
     
  5. PracticalMac, Jan 31, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017

    PracticalMac macrumors 68030

    PracticalMac

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    #5
    When the Fed gives away "Ft Knox", I will be first in line!

    That's not governing, that pilfering US treasure (land is $$$) to enrich a very few.

    BTW, this also puts more burden to states to manage more land (as noted), and these states do not have the income to afford, so yeah, it forces mass sales of land to wealthy people, and states the blame for doing so.

    This must be a deliberate plan, not an accidental consequence.
     
  6. ibookg409 Suspended

    ibookg409

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    #6
    No one was supposed to know. Who told you? Russia must have hacked our servers and revealed the big secret.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 1, 2017 ---
    You can almost blame this on our stupid immigration policies of the last 40 years. As more and more people flood in you have to put them somewhere. More people require more living space. Houses, condos, apartments. More people require more services, schools, grocery stores, shopping, etc. Everything affects everything. Where do you expect all these people to go. And with so many people now getting free or highly subsidized services (medical, food stamps, heating assistance, etc) the money has to come from somewhere. And since no politician wants to cut services for fear of not getting re-elected they have to do things like this to generate revenue or cut costs. Nothing is free.

    I'm a conservationist first and a conservative second (call me a republican and I'll punch you ;)). I love my White Mountains up here in New Hampshire and fear that they will one day be sold or otherwise ruined. They are already being threatened by the "Northern Pass" (google it, thanks Obama). This is the cost of the liberal policies that make you all feel warm and cozy until they bill comes due. And yes, stupid dumb ass republicans have embraced many of these dumb ass policies.
     
  7. PracticalMac macrumors 68030

    PracticalMac

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    #7
    Jobs program and cheap electricity?
    Sounds like a Trump program.

    But, yes, its from Canada, Trump should buy Canada.

    BTW, this would probably happen no matter who in office, and cheap energy is a Republican mantra.
     
  8. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #8
    In short, the USA is operating like a colony under rule from corporations. The goal is to extract resources, destroying land in the process, and leave the US taxpayer to deal with the environmental issues that result.
     
  9. ibookg409 Suspended

    ibookg409

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    #9
    If the electrical plant was in America I'd probably find a way to be ok with the several hundred mile scar that will run through New England, but not to support some syrup sucking leaf blowers.
     
  10. PracticalMac macrumors 68030

    PracticalMac

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    #10
    Wow, that's harsh.

    The article did say they plan to run buried cable in part.
     
  11. Rhonindk macrumors 68020

    Rhonindk

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    #11
    Is this a likely done deal or just another in a line of attempts?
    I seem to remember seeing something like this every so often. Hopefully it will die in committee.
    Just as a point of interest, according to the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. government owns nearly half the land in the 11 coterminous western states, as well as more than 60 percent of Alaska. But in the rest of the country, only 4 percent of the land is federally held.
     
  12. uknowimright macrumors 6502a

    uknowimright

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    #12
    threw up after that
     
  13. ibookg409 Suspended

    ibookg409

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    #13
    I think that the buried part will run largely through where I live, but it is going to ruin the natural beauty of the White Mountain National Forest. Whats sucks is that the Governor said if the people didn't want it that he would not allow it to happen, especially since Vermont wanted the North Pass to go through their state. But the Governor allowed it to happen, we suspect he was paid off.
     
  14. DrewDaHilp1 macrumors 6502a

    DrewDaHilp1

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    #14
    So basically Avatar without the blue people and metaphors of sexual encounters with trees?
     
  15. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #15
    Pretty much. Note how the military in the movie is essentially acting on behalf of a resource grabbing corporation.
     
  16. jkcerda Suspended

    jkcerda

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    #16
    just like real life :(
     
  17. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #17
    Bingo.
     
  18. jkcerda Suspended

    jkcerda

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    #18
    Song is stuck in my head now:mad:
     
  19. LizKat, Feb 7, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017

    LizKat thread starter macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #19

    Yah it's not a partisan thing although it can be seen that way when the protest is against some particular governor's proposal or some federal legislative effort made to try to accommodate energy needs.

    In my area the Marcy South Line that went through here in the mid-80s (set up to be part of what would supposedly carry cheap hydro from Quebec to NYC on a seasonal when-needed, when-could-provide basis) was regarded as a real rape and pillage deal. Marcy South is 200 miles of high voltage lines on 150-foot towers going through 8 counties and the lands of more than a thousand private property owners.

    The scars it has left on the landscape are just really really ugly. The eye-rolling only increased when due to vagaries of pricing and transmission financing issues, the line wasn't even used for at least awhile when some big contract was cancelled by the NY Power Authority. We still joke around here that we don't know when there are live wires overhead and when that faint buzz is just another round of political negotiations. There's power coming through them but it may not be hydro from Canada... who knows any more.

    There have been more than 35 years of construction, negotiation, amendment, bypasses, workarounds and extensions since Marcy South ripped through here, only to end up in Orange County as "powerline to nowhere" since the power shortage was downstate from there although by now there must have been takeoff lines run.

    There were a lot of promises made about jobs and spinoff of power for revitalization of upstate industry. In reality we've seen some discrepancies in property values due to the fact that having 150-ft towers marching overhead are not all that scenic, and can be seen for miles. One town 40 miles form here reported $1980 an acre if the thing ran overhead, otherwise around $6k and that was back in the previous decade.

    And of course it's not just in the boonies that workarounds and revisions to power grids take place. I recall a morning when I was looking out of my NYC apartment window to the street where a bunch of guys with hardhats were on their hands and knees looking at a huge sheet of paper in the road. A guy climbed out of a manhole a couple minutes later: "I don't care what it says, it's not down there." Yeah but something was down there since it had started smoking awhile earlier... And something's here running over our heads even if we don't know what the heck it is or where the power comes from or goes.

    The huge northeast ice storm of 1998 collapsed a lot of pylons and poles elsewhere along the greater route, to the extent that when an additional 345kv line was proposed for some of Marcy South in 2012 there was a suggestion to run it parallel with new 95-foot monopoles in case the existing steel 150-foot towers had been weakened. And extend the rights of way by 150 feet accordingly in some cases.

    Similarly there have been other projects proposed to expand or install more lines through the area. At one point there was a proposal to put a 1200 megawatt line through here from Marcy South through 7 more counties. That stirred up enough antagonism the federal government finally killed it over indefinite financing issues probably including security during construction lol.

    I quit reading about these additional line proposals in disgust for awhile when it came to light that a couple companies both claimed their separate additional-line projects would not require expansion of a substation about 12 miles from here, but neither would comment on inquiries from locals about what if both projects were approved. Ugh. Images of bridge spans not meeting in the middle come to mind. Only this is juice, meeting.

    Then I was somewhat encouraged when they said in 2015 that no more new lines would be put through immediately as they could upgrade for more power passage by adding capacitor banks and changing conductors. That odor of something frying that you may think you sense, just ignore it...

    There's always the feeling another shoe will drop imminently. I never know now when I see no-logo white trucks and surveyors whether it's gas or hydro coming through. One of the most ridiculous reasons I saw offered up for running a parallel set of towers was that if a pole fell over for some reason, having completely separate lines would mean only one line suffered an outage. Yes, well there is that... :rolleyes: Meanwhile upstate NY has enogh power despite claims of people wanting to build transmission lines. It's downstate that needs the power. State senators and assemblymen regularly suggest NYC take bids on power plants for its own area and of course insist that those plants meet environmental and safety standards. If we had solar transmission and storage down pat by now,,,, but, we don't.

    If we are not going to invest in solar transmission and storage and rebuild our domestic grid then what can we expect? It's not like the Northeast can ignore power needs even of its downstate cousins. And Indian Point is an aging nuclear plant whose time is just about up already. Whatever one thinks of nuclear powered energy plants, probably building another near NYC is a pipe dream in the immediate future.

    So what we can expect when all the tricks for getting more juice out of old wires on towers have been used? Well... if not more natural gas pipelines then new power lines on new towers (and underground where that's feasible) and more rights of way purchased with consent or by application of eminent domain. The rape and pillage will continue. About all we can hope for (maybe) is continued resistance to running them right through protected forests and state parks.

    Again I don't regard this as partisan. I regard it as something we all need to work on trying to make less invasive of personal property (and its value), wildlife habitats, timeless natural beauty. What we have now is not really extensible. It's like watching people overload household wiring, and pasting the FD's phone number on the wall.
     
  20. PracticalMac macrumors 68030

    PracticalMac

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    #20
    Except some things are partisan
    (*cough* oil pipelines. We need them, but like good fences planning should be courteous)

    great post, btw
     
  21. LizKat thread starter macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #21
    yah i think "should not be partisan" would have been better... Those "should" suggestions are so tricky though in partisan times. ;)

    Sometimes I like to daydream that we're back in times of readily perceived common good. We do sometimes see the good but now rarely have the will to look at how other people might like to solve a problem to arrive at that good. Not sure when we lost so much of that. The 80s was a weird decade.

    I agree about the need for planning and being not only courteous but open about reasons for routing. It seems so churlish to me that a) companies deny or try to conceal the real reason for a pipeline path sometimes, and b) when they decide to map it out they may tend to go for the parks and forests first figuring hey at least no need to deal with individual homeowners. And after that gets shot down, if it gets shot down, big money may talk from whole neighborhoods. There's still a wrong side of the tracks in a lot of places. We're busy building more of them. but I think too there's more resistance to that sort of discrimination. So, it's noisier and not always particularly partisan.

    Sometimes noise is good, I would just like to see it come from both sides of political fences in favor of (or against) the same things more often. There definitely was a little more of that back in some other chapters of our history, as partisan as we've been at other times. Still, I don't believe in "the good old days" because selective memory is always self-deceptive. All I personally hope for now is that the occasional community effort to locate a pipeline or a power line in the least disruptive way ends up making more friendships than it destroys.
     

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