Washington Bill Watch - Days of Danger: April 2 thru April 10th

Michael Hardiman
for eco-logic

The House and Senate are both poised to vote within the next ten days on bills which have been hijacked by leftwing environmentalists for their own ends.



Senate Bill S. 476, the "Faith Based Initiative."

TAX FAVORITISM for the Nature Conservancy and other land trusts! ALSO, billions in grant money for leftwing environmental groups!

S.476, Sections 106 and 107.

It is a 25% tax cut on capital gains of land sales - but only if the land is sold to an environmental group or to a government agency! Private parties, or non-environmentalist charities such as churches, orphanages, private schools and social service centers are left in the dust! AND it includes sales of WATER RIGHTS! S. 476 is the "Faith Based Initiative" and is supposed to help religious-based organizations to help people - but Sections 106 and 107 work AGAINST charities for the benefit of multi-billion dollar land trusts! The Nature Conservancy, for example, has nearly three BILLION dollars in assets. This special advantage for the Nature Conservancy would be devastating to family businesses attempting to keep property in private hands through sale to relatives.

It will take more land off the tax rolls, damaging the tax base of rural communities in public lands dominated regions of the country. And this proposed tax advantage does not apply to churches, orphanages, private schools, social service centers or other non-profit charities when purchasing land! ONLY land trusts and government agencies! WORST OF ALL - even though it is technically a tax break for the SELLER of the land, all it will benefit is the BUYER! The land trusts can and will reduce their offers for land purchases, thus eliminating the benefit for the seller. ***** FINALLY - the Environmental Protection Agency has ruled that environmental groups qualify as faith based religious organizations, and so will be eligible for grant money if this becomes law! *****

ACTION ITEM: Tell your Senator, no matter who it is, two things. ONE - the Nature Conservancy already has billions of dollars in tax-free assets and doesn't need more special advantages. TWO - environmental groups should not be able to stick their hands in yet another taxpayer financed cookie jar. VOTE NO on S. 476, the Faith Based Initiative bill which has been hijacked by the greens.



The "Energy Security Act of 2003." There is no bill number - the bill's sponsors intend to move quickly to a vote and will not assign a bill number until next week.

INCREDIBLY, the "CARA" (Condemnation and Relocation Act) legislation is rearing its ugly head once again! CARA is a massive, unprecedented land acquisition and condemnation trust fund, which also includes billions in grant money to leftwing environmental and animal rights groups. First introduced in 1998, it was defeated in the 105th Congress (1997-98), 106th (1999-2000) and 107th (2001-2002) Congresses due to exceptional efforts from grassroots property rights and taxpayer advocacy organizations. And, once again it is Congressman Willy Tauzin of Louisiana who is sponsoring the CARA Land Grab. Tauzin is leading the attack against fiscal responsibility and property rights, so he can funnel a load of your tax dollars back to his political cronies in Louisiana.

It is Tauzin in the House, joined by Liberal Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee in the Senate, who are leading this year's attack. Here is their plan. They will not introduce CARA as a separate bill. No public debate, no hearings, no separate votes on CARA - forget it - they know that they will be buried under an avalanche of opposition. They plan to attach it as an amendment to the Energy Bill behind closed doors as it moves through Congress. This is completely irresponsible!

America is under attack from terrorists and needs to increase domestic energy production to make us less dependent on foreign oil. For example, the millions of barrels of oil underneath the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) should be made available for environmentally responsible extraction. But Rep. Tauzin's main concern is lining the pockets of his cronies in Louisiana with cash, and Alexander aims to keep his leftwing environmentalist buddies afloat with taxpayer grant money. ACTION ITEM: Tell your Congressman - keep the energy in the energy bill - more oil, gas and other energy production for America. DO NOT let the energy bill get hijacked with the CARA Land Grab!



HR 51 (Cox, R-CA), HR 57 (Dunn, R-WA) - the bills differ slightly, but both propose permanent repeal of the estate tax, also known as the Death Tax. The Death Tax is a major factor in breaking up family businesses. The Nature Conservancy and the other multibillion dollar land trusts just love the Death Tax, because it allows them to hover like buzzards over family ranches and farms. They dangle conservation easement tax breaks in front of families when they have their backs against the wall financially, due to owing the Death Tax because of a death in the family. Think twice, and look very carefully at the fine print before making a land trust a co-owner of your land! Senate companion bills are S 96, S 169.

HR 67 (Flake, R-AZ) - Disaster Area Exemption Act. Temporarily exempts federally declared disaster areas from the endless environmental regulations and appeals which hold up aid for families and cleanup.

HR 353 (Duncan, R - TN) Dispose of all Bureau of Land Management lands recommended for sale back to private property by the Department of the Interior.

HR 460 (Hayworth, R-AZ) - Study the prevention of wildfires. Senate companion is S 32. Senate:

HR 701 (Paul, R-TX) Will restore to the original owners certain lands that were seized by the federal government in 1940 for military use, and not returned even though they have not been used by the feds for many years. NOTE: You may recall that HR 701 was, in the previous two congresses, previously the bill number of the "CARA" multi-billion dollar land grab bill. Now in the 108th Congress, thanks to Ron Paul, it stands for citizens getting their land back!

HR 849 (Shadegg R-AZ) To authorize the Regional Foresters to exempt tree-thinning projects, which are necessary to prevent the occurrence of wildfire likely to cause extreme harm to the forest ecosystem, from laws that give rise to legal causes of action that delay or prevent such projects.

HR 1005 (McInnis, R-CO and Gibbons, R-NV) PILT and Refuge Revenue Sharing Permanent Funding Act. Will fully compensate counties for losses in tax revenue due to federal government ownership of land (the federal government does not pay taxes to localities).

HR 1014 (Radanovich R-CA) Requires Federal land managers to communicate and cooperate with designated gateway communities, to improve these small communities' ability to participate in Federal land management planning conducted by the Forest Service and agencies of the Department of the Interior.


S 32 (Kyl, R-AZ) - Study the prevention of wildfires. House companion is HR 460.

S 96, S 169 (both Kyl, R-AZ)- The bills differ slightly, but both propose permanent repeal of the estate tax, also known as the Death Tax. House companion bills are HR 51, HR 57. Death should NOT be a taxable event!

S 369 (Thomas, R-WY) Endangered Species Act revisions. Will add a greater role for the states and require more thorough biological evidence of a species being endangered before it can be claimed as endangered. Cosponsors so far include Sen. Hagel (R-NE) and Sen. Craig (R-ID).

S. 372 (Thomas, R-WY) Requires federal agencies to grant state and local governments "cooperating agency" status in the preparation of Environmental Impact Statements or other environmental analysis.

S 511 (Binghaman, D-NM) and Ensign, R-NV) Full payment of PILT funds. Companion bill to HR 1005.



HR 37 (Boehlert R-NY) - Elevate the Environmental Protection Agency to Cabinet status. This bill rewards bad behavior! It elevates the EPA when the EPA dedicates far more effort to protecting its power than protecting the environment.

HR 266 (Ehlers, R-MI) National Invasive Species Council Act. Creates an entirely new federal bureaucracy and establishes an Invasive Species Council. Private citizens are prohibited from being members of the council - only federal employees are permitted. "Invasive species" are not native to an area - like most human beings, for example. Crazy, but true - watch out for this one!

HR 524 - "Crossroads of the Revolution" National Heritage Area - Land Grab extending across much of central and northern New Jersey.

HR 652 (Andrews D-NJ) - To make the Wildlands Project into official government policy - the politically correct name is National Forest Ecosystem Protection Program. Ruin communities in small towns and rural areas through federal land use regulation.

HR 1051 (Bereuter R-NE) Would add land acquisition authority to nine more trails in the National Trails system. This would reward the federal government's bad behavior in seizing property from innocent people and paying them only a few cents per dollar of value.

HR 1130 (Holt, D-NJ) Ban snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park. This may sound crazy, but don't laugh - it has 134 cosponsors, mostly clueless northeastern leftists, like Holt.


S. 230 (Corzine D-NJ) same as HR 524, Heritage Area Land Grab.

S. 324 (Levin D-MI) National Trail Land Acquisition Authority. Companion land grab legislation to HR 1051.

S. 476 (Grassley, R-IA) 25% Tax Favoritism for Land Trusts (see Alert above).

S. 536 (DeWine, R-OH) Creates a National Invasive Species Council. Companion bill to HR 266.


Editor's note: Mike Hardiman was Policy Director for Congressman, now Resources Committee Chairman, Richard Pombo from 1993 to 1999. He is President of Hardiman Consulting, a lobbying and public relations firm based in Washington, DC. He is one of the most knowledgable and effective lobbyists in Washington on property rights and resource use issues. He can be reached at hardimanmike@aol.com.

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