Web site on attempts to grab your public lands-
Updated last on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 8:25 AM
America . . . without the freedom of our public lands? Unfree! Ralph Maughan White Pine Range in central Nevada. A little known part of your national heritage.
Here is now defeated language Richard Pombo added to Deficit Reduction Act (HR4241) of 2005. It could have led to a general sell-off of most of your public lands. If your US Representative voted for the original version of this bill, he or she cast the deciding vote because it passed by one vote! They called it "mining language," but it was really a massive gift to real estate developers.
Because so many western communities rely on public lands, Pombo's privatization scheme was also an attack on the livelihood of many people.

In an unprecedented uprising, people from all over the West rose up and defeated the bill in Dec. 2005. The bill was written by Representative Pombo (CA) and Gibbons (NV). We can't relax. The land grabbers will not give up.  In our overpopulated world, America's public lands are precious, and schemes to grab them will not disappear after one resounding defeat.

Keeping the land grabbers at bay should be an issue in every congressional campaign this coming fall. 


And in 2006-
This year the Bush Administration emerged with a campaign to sell off national forest lands every year to fund their obligation to rural schools they are no longer willing to honor with regular appropriations. They also proposed flat out, unvarnished sale proposals for BLM land to raise money for the US Treasury.

Hundreds of thousands of comments came pouring in against this from all over America. Scores of members of Congress railed against the Bush selloff. As a result, the House Appropriations Committee made it clear to not grant any authority to the Bush administration to sell national forest lands to keep the Secure Rural Schools programs going, or to sell BLM lands to raise monies for the U.S. Treasury. When the measure come to the House floor no one tried to restore the Bush raid on the public lands. 6/14/06 RM

Resources:

 

8-29-2006. California Quixote Can a politically clumsy windmill engineer who wants the U.S. out of Iraq succeed in his quest to unseat Abramoff ally and eco-villain Richard Pombo? By Michael Scherer. Salon Magazine. A long and well-written piece, although Salon requires a subscription.

8-28-2006. "If you watch the Sopranos, you've probably seen an underworld boss kiss the cheek of the next victim of the family hit squad. Recently, voters in Connecticut let the world know that a kiss from the Don of the regime in Washington, D.C. can be politically just as lethal."To read more. The Huffington Post"

8-3-2006. GOP Also-Rans Rally Around Pombo’s Democratic Foe. By Ryan Kelly. CQ Press.

6-30-2006. Plan to sell federal lands fades away. By Noelle Straub. Billings Gazette Washington Bureau. Very good news! But they will be back; they always come back with a new scheme.

6-10-2006. Pombo wins GOP primary. Did his victory show weakness for the November showdown? By Rebecca F. Johnson. Tri-Valley Herald.
6-10-2006. Primary vote shows 'vulnerability' for Pombo By Micahael Doyle. Scripps Howard News Service.
Note that there is much disagreement whether Pombo looked vulnerable or "strong" in his primary election victory over moderate Republican Pete McCloskly, a former congressman, but new to Pombo's district.

5-31-2006. Can Pombo be beaten in his gerrymandered district? San Francisco Chronicle. California's congressional districts are perhaps the worst example of gerrymandering in the country. Hardly any House Republican or Democrat fears defeat anymore because each district has been drawn with a built in majority for one party or the other. Nevertheless, democracy sometimes raises its head. Pombo's slavish devotion the Earth raping industry, his corrupt ties, and his extremism may give an opening to democracy in the upcoming primary election, or perhaps next fall.

5-24-2006. Oil industry fills Pombo's campaign coffers. Hank Shaw Capitol Bureau Chief. Stockton Record. What a fine recommendation for Pombo! San Franciso Chronicle opinion "McCloskey over Pombo." Wednesday, May 24, 2006

5-12-2006. House Appropriations Committee has probably killed Bush's bid to sell National Forest, BLM lands on the open market to fund operations. The Daily InterLake. This is good news, finally. In principle the measure could be restored on the floor or in the Senate, but given its massive unpopularity, it isn't likely.

5-8-2006. Pombo's got to go says (San Jose) Mercury News. Republican Mccloskey, Democrat McNerney Would Be Worthy Competitors In The Fall. Mercury News Editorial.

5-4-2006. What will Kempthorne do? He will be quized whether he supports the Bush public land sell off at his confirmation hearing. Casper Star Tribune. By Christoper Smith. AP/Casper Star Tribune. "Kempthorne backed sale of federal lands as U.S. senator." If he still feels the same way today, he is unfit to hold the office. Update. 5-5-2006. Kempthorne opposes President Bush's plan to sell off tens of thousands of acres of federal lands in the West at his confirmation hearing.

4-27-2006. Forest Service: No management-cost analyses on lands being sold. Casper Star Tribune. By Jeff Bernard. AP. This is hardly surprising. Their plan to sell off the lands is ideologically driven, so they don't need to investigate the real world. In their view, privatizing public lands is always cost-effective.

4-24-2006. Hundreds of US Forest Service Campgrounds face closure. By Brodie Fahrquhar. Jackson Hole Star Tribune. I think this is part of an effort by the Bush Administration to make Americans angry at the Forest Service and so prepare the way to build support to sell off our public lands heritage to the oil companies, logging companies, rich foreigners, and the like.

3-20-2006. The closer we look at public land sale plan, the worse it looks: Scrap it. Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times. Americans all over the country hate the Bush Forest Service plan to sale off national forests to fund the Secure Rural Schools Act, and Democrats and many Republicans have vowed to killed it. Few have spoken for it. So why is it still the GOP budget plan that recently passed the Senate? Would it be cynical to suggest some dishonesty among the new found supporters of public lands?

3-27-2006. Endangered Species Act critic finds himself in crosshairs. Will Pombo be politically dispatched this fall. By Erica Werner. AP

3-7-2006. It seems like Bush wants to sell off America, period. Editorial by the Idaho Mountain Express.

On the latest land grab try -

2-9-2006. Pombo and his Family Toured the National Parks on your Dollar. The Mercury News.

2-8-2006. Bush budget proposes land grab. Salt Lake Tribune. By Robert Gehrke. Pombo's land grab is dead for the time being, but the land grabbers are back. This time they are using Bush's already much-criticized FY 2007 budget proposal. Selling public lands to raise revenue is a 19th century kind of thing. The government should be buying critical wildlife habitat, endangered scenery, and public access, not selling it under the guise it is "surplus." This needs to be slapped down just like Pombo's massive land grab attempt.

2-8-2006. Abramoff associate raised money for Pombo. LA Times.

2-3-2006. Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund Names California Rep. Richard Pombo Its 'Wildlife Villain' & Rep. George Miller Its 'Wildlife Hero.' PRNewswire. Defenders Action Fund Conservation Report Card Shows California Delegation's Polarized Scores

1-29-2006. Richard Pombo Faces a Green Avalanche. By Jan Frel, AlterNet.

1-22-2006. Former GOP congressman says he'll challenge Pombo in N. California. By Juliet Williams. Associated Press Writer.  Challenger Pete McCloskey is one of a dying breed, a conservation favoring, moderate Republican — dying among GOP office-holders. Perhaps the Republican grassroots still have some green in them, will sprout, and push aside the Abramoff/big polluter style of government in the House.

1-19-2006.  Western Grazing: the Capture of Grass, Ground, and Government by Debra L. Donahue, Winston S. Howard Professor of Law, University of Wyoming. From Environmental Law. Now for a different take on privatization. Overt privatization has been repelled for the time being, but the public "rangelands" of the West were captured long ago by the Western Range Livestock Industry. The Pombo-Gibbons scheme was probably defeated in part because it conflicted with this publicly, little recognized capture (which falls short of privatization) of long ago. Professor Donahue wrote a brilliant article on the phenomenon. Read this and you will know more about the public lands than does 99% of the public.

College of Law. My1-10-2006. Wyoming US Representative Barbara Cubin disavows plan for land sale. By Noelle Straub. Billings Gazette. Cubin now maintains she is (was) improperly listed as a cosponsor of a plan to sell off our public lands to pay part of Katrina cost. Earlier she was a die hard backer of the Pombo-Gibbons "mining law" land grab. The rest of Wyoming's delegation (it's two senators) opposed the "mining" land grab. The main sponsor of using Katrina as an excuse for a grab of the public lands is Colorado's Tom Tancredo.

1-8-2006. A Donor Who Had Big Allies. LA Times. "Reps. John T. Doolittle and Richard W. Pombo joined forces with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas to oppose an investigation by federal banking regulators into the affairs of Houston millionaire Charles Hurwitz." Forest activists will recall that Charlie Hurwitz is a famous junk bond, redwood forest raper. In other news, in case you hadn't heard, afraid his corruption would stain their hands, Tom DeLay's former GOP friends in the US House have forced him out of any return as House majority leader, should he somehow stay out of jail.

1-6-2006. Butch Otter eats crow on his earlier position to sell 15% of the public lands to pay for Katrina. Idaho Statesman. "C.L. "Butch" Otter: Support for bill allowing public land sales was a mistake." The huge pubic outpouring of support for the public lands has caused "the favorite" for the 2006 Idaho GOP gubernatorial nomination to suddenly change his position. Otter's seeming change of heart was the leading story in today's Statesman (Idaho's biggest newspaper). Even though Otter is eating his words, he seems to be chocking them down with a lot of sugar, and Democrat's aren't buying it. See: "Stallings: Otter Still Doesn’t Get It." News release. idaho-democrats.org.

1-6-2006. Get Richard [Pombo] or Die Tryin' Enviros plot to beat Pombo in November. By Amanda Griscom Little. Grist Magazine.

1-4-2006.
Editorial opinion of the Idaho State Journal (Pocatello). Selling our public land not the way to aid others

1-4-2006.  Westerners proved what public lands mean to them. By Pat Williams. Senior fellow and regional policy associate O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West. Headwaters News.

1-4-2006. Jack Trueblood and Bill Goodnight: Only the rich would benefit from Otter's bill to sell off public land. Idaho Statesman. Butch Otter, Idaho's first district congressman, who wants to be governor, sponsored a bill to sell off Idaho (and America's public land heritage. Here long time Idaho conservationists give Butch a piece of their mind.

12-25-2005. Cecil D. Andrus: Selling public lands to cover Katrina's costs is not the answer. Opinion Idaho Statesman. Andrus was a  conservationist and 4 term governor of Idaho, plus secretary of Interior for four year. He was perhaps the most popular politician ever in Idaho. Now retired, he worries about land grabers, and the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for governor in 2006 is a land-grabber. He actually co-sponsored a bill to sell off the public lands to pay for Katrina. The likely Democrat candidate believes our public lands.

12-18-2005. Red or Blue? Mining Law Defeat is Proof the West is Neither. By Eric Mack. New West.

12-14-2005. "Mining law" provisions are finally dead for the session. By Mike Soraghan. Denver Post Staff Writer. This session of Congress ends Dec. 31. Victory for now, but the land grabbers still dominate the House Resources Committee.

12-13-2005. House GOP hopes to quiet Senate skeptics with changed mining plan. By Mary Clare Jalonick. Associated Press. Don't be deceived! Read more . .

12-13-2005. Mining measure modified, but foes still not mollified. Rep. Jim Gibbons changes part of his proposal to lift a moratorium on sales of public land. Opponents say it's still full of loopholes. By Mike Soraghan. Denver Post Staff Writer.

12-13-2005. Editorial: Mining plan deserves quick, painful death. View of the Albuquerque Tribune

12-12-2005 (originally published 12-6). Pombo's plan must be stopped. Congressional mining act reforms threaten to privatize vast open stretches of the West. By Pepper Trail. Writers on the Range.

12-11-2005. Pombo says his land sale provisions are not negotiable [see the very bottom of the article]. Mining laws up for major rewrite. By Sam Bishop. Fairbanks News-Miner Washington Bureau. Added later, they were. He was lying.

12-11-2005. Guest opinion: US Senators must unite against land selloff. By Craig Sharpe. Montana Wildlife Federation in Billings Gazette. Notice Conrad Burns' weak stance. He really is in favor of selling off our public lands, as long as it is supported by the local community (likely meaning courthouse cronies).

12-10-2005. Pombo's giveaway: Congress should kill mining law change. A [Eugene, OR] Register-Guard Editorial.

12-9-2005. Mining measure deemed land grab in New Mexico. The New Mexican. However, the key New Mexico player, Republican Senator Pete Dominici hasn't said he will oppose the land grab language.

12-8-2005. Latest overview is that the conference committee between the House and Senate has about a 50% chance of settling the differences in to 2 bodies' versions of this part of the budget bill by Christmas. This is a "catch all" bill intended to be a down payment on cutting the huge budget deficit, and it has many other contentious measures, such as splitting the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (what does this have to do with the budget?). Settling all these issues may push the matter into January 2006. Representative Gibbons of Nevada, who wrote this sneaky language, says he will fight for it by "clarifying" the language. Mining reform, however, it a very complicated matter (to both supporters of the mining industry as well as conservationists). I doubt they will go for any language that tries to do this in "slap/dash" manner. Unfortunately there is room for lots of dangerous "horse trading" in the Conference on the bill. Ralph Maughan

12-8-2005. Idaho's largest newspaper opposes "mining reform" language in budget bill. Our View. Idaho Statesman.

12-7-2005. Idaho US Senator Craig will fight change in 1872 mining law. Senator says proposal goes too far in letting public land be sold for other uses. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman. With conservative western Republican Senators coming out against the Pombo language, it may be dead; but cessions could be extracted and deals made in return for withdrawing it. No one should let down their guard. Recall that earlier in the House, Montana conservative Republican Denny Rehberg said he was against the mining provision, but then he provided its winning vote because of other "important matters" in the bill such as the part making sure loans are made more expensive for college students.

12-6-2005. Comprehensive report on the potentially staggering impact of the Pombo-Gibbons mining language. EWG. This is a real eye-opener.

12-5-2005. The conferees for the House and Senate conference on HR 4241 have not yet been appointed. The fate of the land grab may well depend on who is appointed. Representatives like Pombo, Cubin (WY) or Gibbons (NV) would be very bad news on the conference committee. Because the overwhelming majority of budgetary matters in the bill are unrelated to mining, there is no necessity for adding these people who have an agenda unrelated to reducing the federal deficit.

12-4-2005. This Land May Not Be Your Land. House bill would allow mining claim holders to purchase the federal property. Some fear it would open national parks to development. By Janet Wilson and Tim Reiterman, LA Times Staff Writers.

12-3-2005. Ex-BLM boss in Nevada condemns mining measure. By Scott Sonner. Associated Press Writer. This guy is friendly to the mining industry, but indicates it's not really a mining bill. We know it's a real estate developer bill.

12-2-2005. Six Western Governors tell Senate they oppose the land grab. News release. One of the most interesting facets of this is the "mining provision" could well allow land grabbers to stake real or fake hard rock mineral claims and gain the rights to billions of dollars worth of oil and natural gas for $1000 an acre. Note that for many years oil and gas on public lands has been required to pay royalties to both the state and the U.S. Treasury. Furthermore, the oil and gas companies have no permanent surface rights to the land's surface. So what is being billing as an effort to do a little to reduce the deficit by selling public lands, may really be an attempt to rip-off the taxpayers of many billions of dollars. Funny how this land grab has the support of Pombo, one of the 13 most corrupt members of Congress (note that this is an old photo of Pombo. He's chubby now, no doubt living well).

12-3-2005. Story about it in the Washington Post. Govs Fear Sale of Public Lands for Mining. By Jennifer Talhelm. The Associated Press

12-2-2005. Nation's public lands could soon be up for sale. By Pat Williams. Senior fellow and regional policy associate O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West

11-30-2005. Wyoming's Senator Thomas against Pombo language. Billings Gazette. This is good news, Thomas is a Western Republican friendly toward the mining industry, but seems to be saying Pombo's bill is not really a mining bill and threatens the public lands.

11-29-2005. Greater Yellowstone Coalition identifies how the land grab could affect the Yellowstone Country. GYE.

11-29-2005. Land-grab trifecta. Opinion of St. Petersburg Times.

11-29-2005. Public lands headed for the auction block. News-Tribune. "It seems impossible, but Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives may have come up a revision of the 1872 Mining Act that's as bad as the original."

11-29-2005. Some western GOP senators concerned with Pombo's mining language. By Darren Goode, CongressDaily. Sounds better than it is -- attaching language guaranteeing privatized public land will be open to fishing and hunting before it turns into subdivisions is no fix. What about the habitat, the open space, and the scenery?

11-27-2005. Point: Fixing a hole? Development provision would prove a danger to sanctity of public lands. Rocky Mtn. News. By Roger Flynn (a mining law professor).

11-26-2005. Privatizing the American West. Opinion of the New York Times. " . . . Mr. Pombo's sleight of hand is little more than legislative robbery."

11-25-2005. Editorial. This Land is our Land. San Francisco Chronicle. The Chronicle's opinion against the Pombo/Gibbons public land for  "miners" cheap, scheme.

11-22-2005. Conferees should block Pombo bill's land sale. Opinion of the Great Falls (MT) Tribune.

11-17-2005. Sell public lands? Sell the idea first. Missoulian's editorial. "SUMMARY: Public land-sale proponents wrong to try sneaking their way to success."

11-13-2005. Pombo's latest joke. A Register-Guard Editorial. Unfortunately it isn't a joke.

11-9-2005. The race to kill wildlife and waste the environment (about Pombo and DeLay). Idaho Mountain Express editorial.

11-5-2005. Congressman Pombo irritates Swartzenegger by his efforts to unprotect California coast. San Francisco Chronicle.

11-3-2005. The Earth Needs Protection from Pombo. Editorial in the Mercury News (CA). Free registration.

11-1-2005. 'Pombo's in Their Pocket' Conservation Group Launches TV Ad and Web Site Labeling Rep. Pombo as an Enemy of America's Wildlife Heritage. TV, Internet Ads Target Congressman Pombo, Stress Development Ties. Yahoo News.

10-31-2005. Pombo Time. Editorial in the New York Times on the sleazy California anti-conservationist.

10-30-2005. Editorial: The Pombo mambo. Another day, another anti-environment bill. Sacramento Bee editorial.

10-29-2005. Pombo's public land "fire sale,"  legislation already having effects in central Idaho. Read "Quarrying aid from Congress: Lawmakers may vote on property sale." By John Miller. Associated Press Writer

10-27-2005. Effort to sell off public lands to mining companies clears committee. Wyoming's Cubin votes for it. Casper Star Tribune.

10-26-2005. Pombo Would Sell our public lands to "mining companies." Environment News Service.

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