975 – the Community Character Act
from Liberty Matters
April 25, 2002 - The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has
scheduled S. 975, the “Community Character Act” for a vote in Thursday’s
(April 25) committee hearing.
The bill is a federal land use plan that would require state and local
governments to “implement land management plans using model smart growth
statutes, outlined in the 2,000 page Legislative Guidebook,” produced by the
American Planning Association during the Clinton administration. S. 975
provides for the following:
* $50 Million to pay up to 90% of
the cost for state and county governments to update their zoning plans, if
they follow federal guidelines;
* Requires local land use plans to
"promote social equity."
* To "conserve historic,
scenic, natural and cultural resources."
* “To guide, regulate, or assist
in the planning, regulation, and management of (a) environmental resources;
(b) public works infrastructure; (c) regional economic development; (d)
current and future development practices; and (e) other activities related to
the pattern and scope of future land use.” In other words, control
* This bill violates the Tenth
Amendment by awarding grant money for state land use planning based on federal
call or fax the Committee members, right away, to voice your opposition!
Sen. James Jeffords, I-VT., ph. 202-224-3542 fax., 202 228-0776
Sen. Lincoln Chaffee, D-RI ph. 202 224-2921 fax., 202 228-2853
Sen. Henry Reid, NV ph. 202 224-3542 fax. 202 224-7327
Sen. Max Baucus, MT ph. 202 224-2651 fax 202 228-3687
Sen. Bob Graham, FL ph. 202 224-3041 fax., 202 224-2237
Sen. Joe Lieberman, CT., ph. 202 224-4041 fax., 202 224-9750
Sen. Barbara Boxer, CA., ph. 202 224-3553 fax. 202 228-1338
Sen. Ron Wyden, OR., ph. 202 224-5244 fax., 202 228-2717
Sen. Thomas Carpenter, DE., ph. 202 224-2441 fax., 202 228-2190
Sen. hillary clinton, NY. ph. 202 224-4451 fax., 202 228-0282
Sen. Jon Corzine, NJ., ph.202 224-4744 fax., 202 228-2197
Sen. Bob Smith, NH., ph. 202 224-2841 fax., 202 224-1353
Sen. John Warner, VA., ph., 202 224-2023 fax., 202 224-6295
Sen. James Inhofe, OK., ph., 202 224-4721 fax. 202 228-0380
Sen. Chris Bond, MO., ph., 202 224-5721 fax., 202 224-8149
Sen. George Voinovich, OH., ph. 202 224-3353 fax., 202 228-1382
Sen. Michael Crapo, ID., ph., 202 224-6142 fax 202 228-1375
Sen. Arlen Specter, PA., ph., 202 224-4254 fax., 202 228-1229
Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, CO., ph.,202 224-5852 fax., 202 224-1933
Fast Facts on the Environment
Bush Administration and House Democrats Oppose Bill to Restrict Federal
April 16, 2002
BACKGROUND: H.R. 3962, the "Good Neighbor Act" was the subject of a
U.S. House Forests and Forest Health subcommittee hearing held April 10, 2002.
Under the bill's provisions, if more than 50 percent of a county's land is
owned by the federal government no new acquisitions of land can be made by
federal agencies unless the federal government sells some of its existing
holdings. The federal agencies affected would be the National Park Service
(NPS), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and
U.S. Forest Service (USFS).
Both the U.S. Forest Service and Rep. Tom Udall (D-NM) spoke in opposition to
the bill at the hearing. Elizabeth Estill, representing the Forest Service,
said in some cases, "we would lose the opportunity to obtain the
land." Rep. Udall claimed the federal government owns less land than it
did in the 1960s and therefore this issue is not a problem.
TEN SECOND RESPONSE: Why is the Bush Administration's Forest Service
advocating more government land control when it's private property owners who
helped elect him?
THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: While this bill would affect only 6 percent of all
U.S. counties, it would help address problems caused by the loss of tax money
to the local economies. The federal government only pays an average of 33
cents per acre in lieu of taxes to the counties while the owners of privately
held land pay between $1 and $3 per acre. The federal government hasn't been
paying its fair share. This is harming the economies of rural counties.
DISCUSSION: Under H.R. 3962, if the federal government owns between 50 percent
and 65 percent of the land in a county, federal agencies are required to get
the governor's approval and hold local hearings in the county before acquiring
more land. If the federal government owns 66 percent or more of the county,
the governor and county elected officials must approve the acquisition of
Rep. John Peterson (R-PA), sponsor of the bill, has disputed Rep. Udall's
figures on federal land ownership, according to Environment and Energy News.
Peterson claimed the NPS has increased its holdings 179 percent since 1964 and
the FWS's holdings are up 285 percent.
Furthermore, the Bush administration has requested $45 million less than was
funded in 2002 for payment-in-lieu of taxes (PILT)- a program that is to
offset the loss of tax revenue to counties for the federal land in these
counties. Many congressional members complain that this loss of income to
counties has led to high unemployment in the rural areas.
by Gretchen Randall, Director
John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs
The National Center for Public Policy Research
Contact the author at: 773-857-5086 or GRandall@nationalcenter.org
The National Center for Public Policy Research, Chicago office
3712 North Broadway - PMB 279
Chicago, IL 60613
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