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.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

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

  1. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    this is a good point that i think George Wuerthner talked about regarding the CRP — why not buy the land instead of paying several times over to lease it ? a status that usually leaves the land up for exploitation anyway – as was the case when Bush tried to open the CRP lands up to grazing to alleviate the high costs of feed/commodities. as is – the program seems like little more than another Ag subsidy, Ag gets the check to rest the land, then when it needs it – gets to utilize it anyway – with a tenuous window of “conservation” benefit provided.

  2. You can bet it would be said that buying the land would be “socialism,” contrary to the good old formula of endless subsidies that typifies and has typified American, rugged individualist “capitalism” for 80 years, and some argue longer than that.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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