Bush Administration Sells Out Property Rights 

July 26, 2004
By Peyton Knight knight@americanpolicy.org 
American Policy Center
50A South 3rd Street
Warrenton, Virginia 20186
Fax: 540-341-8917 
To comment on this article: apcmail@americanpolicy.org or the feedback form at http://www.americanpolicy.org/contact/feedback.htm
During his 2000 presidential campaign, George W. Bush repeatedly promised the nation that "Help is on the way."  Property rights victims, especially those in Midwestern and Western states, cheered the President's message and came out in droves to support him on Election Day.  Finally, there would be an end to the reckless Clinton regime that treated landowners like second-class citizens and barriers to a radical green utopia.  Or would there?  
The Endangered Species Act is still thriving as the number one tool of federal agencies and green extremists to pry landowners from their property.  Government land grabs continue unabated.  Private property rights protections are nowhere to be found.  And the green dream of a National Heritage Area program has seen its most momentum in a decade.  
It's been four years since Bush took office and property rights advocates are still waiting for that promised help.  In fact, forget help.  It would be nice if the White House would just stop working against us.
March 30 of this year provides a perfect snapshot of Bush's neglect and utter disregard for traditional property rights and those suffering under the tyranny of federal land-use policies.  That day, Property Rights Foundation of America President Carol LaGrasse traveled from New York to Washington to testify against the creation of a National Heritage Area (NHA) program.  LaGrasse explained to the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks that NHAs are "...designed to gradually accomplish federal land use control."  She noted that "The Heritage Area program also has the goal of transferring private land to government."  Indeed, National Heritage Areas spell disaster for property owners.
That same day, the Bush administration began openly promoting a National Heritage Area program, pulling the rug out from under LaGrasse and property rights advocates nationwide.  
The U.S. Department of Interior issued a press release stating, "The Bush administration is proposing legislation to establish a National Heritage Area program." http://www.doi.gov/news/040331c 
To add insult to injury, National Park Service Deputy Director Randy Jones stated in the release: "These areas also must work closely with all partners in the region, including federal land-management agencies."  
This is the 'help' we were promised?  More land-use restrictions and federal control over property?  Property rights and limited government advocates have successfully fought the creation of a dreaded National Heritage Area program for over a decade!  We successfully beat it back during eight painful years of Bill Clinton.  Now the Bush administration wants to sell us out to the National Park Service and green special interests.
Of course, we are going to continue to fight the National Heritage Area monster in spite of the obstacle in the White House.  The American Policy Center recently testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Parks on behalf of property rights advocates, standing in staunch opposition the NHA program.  APC continues to lead the fight against National Heritage Areas, testifying twice before Congress last year. 
Unfortunately, the best 'help' we can hope for from White House is just to be quiet and let us fight alone.  But now that the Bush administration has taken up arms with the enemies of property rights, that isn't likely to happen.
Peyton Knight is the Executive Director of Legislative Affairs for the American Policy Center, a grassroots, activist think tank headquartered in Warrenton, Virginia. The Center's website is http://www.americanpolicy.org
Copyright 2004, The American Policy Center.
Additional information on the National Heritage Area Program: http://www.cr.nps.gov/heritageareas/
best tracker