Wednesday, September 05, 2007

114 Groups & Leaders Write Congress About National Heritage Areas

The National Center for Public Policy Research on Tuesday delivered to the Congressional leadership, as well as the members and leadership of the natural resource committees, a letter signed by 114 organizations and leaders calling on Congress to stop creating and funding national heritage areas.

The letter says:
Dear [Elected Official]:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. City of New London ignited a national outcry against government abuse of property rights. The "bridge to nowhere" and other wasteful programs triggered angry protests against the practice of earmarking.

National heritage areas are the Kelo decision and earmarks rolled into one.

National heritage areas are preservation zones where land use and property rights can be restricted. They give the National Park Service and preservation interest groups (many with histories of hostility toward property rights) substantial influence by giving them the authority to create land use "management plans" and then the authority to disburse federal money to local governments to promote their plans.

As a March 2004 General Accountability Office report on heritage areas states: "[National heritage areas] encourage local governments to implement land use policies that are consistent with the heritage areas' plans, which may allow the heritage areas to indirectly influence zoning and land use planning in ways that could restrict owners' use of their property."

The proposed "Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area Act" provides a good case study on how heritage areas can be self-perpetuating federal pork and influence projects.

The chief lobbying organization for this heritage area, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, received a one million-dollar earmark in the 2005 federal transportation bill at the behest of Members of Congress sponsoring legislation to establish this heritage area - an earmark that was granted before the organization was even incorporated. A million-dollar earmark thus was issued to help create a steady stream of future pork, at the expense of the rights of local landowners.

We believe zoning and land use policies are best left to local officials, who are directly accountable to the citizens they represent. National heritage areas corrupt the principle of representative government and this inherently local function by giving unelected, unaccountable special interests the authority to develop land management plans and federal money with which to finance their efforts.

Once established, National heritage areas become permanent units of the National Park Service, and as such, permanent drains on an agency that currently suffers a multibillion-dollar maintenance crisis. According to the GAO, "sunset provisions have not been effective in limiting federal funding [for National Heritage Areas]: since 1984, five areas that reached their sunset dates received funding reauthorization from the Congress."

Supporters of new heritage areas have the public will precisely backward: Americans want stronger property rights protections and less pork-barrel spending - not more earmarks to programs that harm property rights.

Please do not support the creation of additional national heritage areas or federal funding for heritage area management entities, support groups, or groups that lobby for or advocate the creation of new heritage areas.


David Ridenour
Vice President
National Center for Public Policy Research

J. William Lauderback
Executive Vice President
The American Conservative Union

John Berthoud
National Taxpayers Union

Paul Poister
Executive Director
Partnership for the West

Larry Pratt
Executive Director
Gun Owners of America

William Niemeyer
City of West Alton, MO

Ryan Ellis
Executive Director
American Shareholders Association

Peter Flaherty
National Legal and Policy Center

Steve Snow
Loudoun County, VA

Carol W. LaGrasse
Property Rights Foundation of America

Tom DeWeese
American Policy Center

Rachel Thomas
Property Rights Advocate
Huachuca City, AZ

Rose Ellen Ray
Treasurer, Citizens for Property Rights
Loudoun County, VA

Paul Driessen
Senior Policy Advisor
Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise

Maxine Korman
Korman Ranch
Hinsdale, Montana

Gerald Hobbs
Public Lands for the People

John Grigsby
Vice President
Taxpayers for Accountable Government

Don Parmeter
Executive Director
American Property Coalition

Leo Schwartz
Virginia Land Rights Coalition

Pat King
Anvil Ranch
Tucson, AZ

Tom Borelli, Ph.D.
Portfolio Manager
Free Enterprise Action Fund

John and Connie Morris
Members, Tongue River Watershed Alliance, and MT and WY Farm Bureaus

Brad VanDyke
Rural Utahns for Local Solutions

Jerry Hamilton
Environmental Coordinator
Formation Capital Corporation

F. Patricia Callahan
President and General Counsel
American Assoc. of Small Property Owners

Erich Veyhl
Maine Property Rights News

Dane vonBreichenruchardt
U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation

Mark Williamson
Founder and President
Federal Intercessors

New Mexico Federal Lands Council

New Mexico Wool Growers, Inc.

Beth Machens
Board of Aldermen
City of West Alton, MO

Janet M. Neustadt
Board of Aldermen
City of West Alton, MO

William J. Richter
Board of Aldermen
City of West Alton, MO

Deborah Anderson
City of West Alton, MO

Susan Silk
City Clerk
City of West Alton, MO

Charlotte Meyers
Assistant Administrator
City of West Alton, MO

Ora B. Anderson, Jr.
Planning and Zoning Commission
City of West Alton, MO

Ray Ponciroli
Board of Aldermen
City of Portage, MO

Paul M. Weyrich
National Chairman
Coalitions for America

Tom McClusky
Vice President of Government Affairs
Family Research Council

Jay Lehr
Science Director
The Heartland Institute

Jim Martin
60 Plus Association

Bill Moshofsky
Vice President
Oregonians In Action

Niger Innis
National Spokesman
Congress of Racial Equality

Gregory Cohen
President and CEO
American Highway Users Alliance

Richard Falknor
Executive Vice President
Maryland Taxpayers Association, Inc.

Linda C. Runbeck
American Property Coalition

Thomas K. Remington
Managing Editor
U.S. Hunting Today

Lew Uhler
National Tax Limitation Committee

Jon Caldara
Independence Institute

Dan Byfield
American Land Foundation

John Taylor
Tertium Quids

Susan Carlson
Chairman and CEO
American Civil Rights Union

Gary Palmer
Alabama Policy Institute

Lenore Hardy Barrett
State Representative

Jonathan DuHamel
People for the West-Tucson

Jack and Patricia Shockey
President and Director
Citizens for Property Rights

Fred Grau
Executive Director
Take Back Pennsylvania

Mike Dail
American Land Foundation

Chuck Cushman
American Land Rights Association

James Stergios
Executive Director
Pioneer Institute

Deneen Borelli
Project 21

Marilyn Hayman
Chairman, Citizens for Responsible Zoning and Landowner Rights

Bruce Colbert
Executive Director, Property Owners Association of Riverside County, CA

Randall and Ruth Lillard
Farmers and Landowners
Madison County, VA

Joyce Morrison
Farmer and Agricultural Environmentalist
Fieldon, IL

Donald Castellucci, Jr.
Councilman, Town of Owego
Tioga County, NY

Milari Madison
Property Owner
Loudoun County, VA

Robert L. Sansom
Farmer and Landowner
Madison County, VA

Mary E. Darling
Sonoita, AZ

James Vadnais
Port Angeles, WA

Floyd Rathbun
Fallon, Nevada

Steven and Peggy Breen
Boise, Idaho

Peggy Bogart
Access Advocate

Dan Goulet
Portland, OR

Susan Freis Falknor
Bluemont, VA

Fred L. Smith
Competitive Enterprise Institute

Matt Kibbe

Mychal Massie
Advisory Council Chairman
Project 21

Steve Baldwin
Executive Director
Council for National Policy Action, Inc.

Caren Cowen
Executive Director
New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association

Randy T. Simmons
Mayor, Providence City, UT
Professor, Utah State University

Donald E. Wildmon
Founder and Chairman
American Family Association

Leroy Watson
Legislative Director
National Grange

Kelsey Zahourek
Executive Director
Property Rights Alliance

Roy Cordato, Ph.D.
VP for Research and Resident Scholar
John Locke Foundation

C.J. Hadley
Range Magazine

Elizabeth Arnold
Grassroots Consultant, Environmental Community Outreach Services, Juneau, AK

Greg Blankenship
Illinois Policy Institute

Bill Wilson
Americans for Limited Government

Jane Hogan
Ontario Hardwood Company, Inc.

Katherine Lehman
People for the USA Grange #835

Howard Hutchinson
Executive Director
Coalition of Arizona/New Mexico Counties

C. Preston Noell III
Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

Dr. William Greene

Leo T. Bergeron
Upper Mid-Klamath Watershed Council

Eugene Delgaudio
Public Advocate of the U.S., Inc.

Leri M. Thomas, Ph.D.
Charter Member
Virginians for Property Rights

John McClaughry
Ethan Allen Institute

Richard O. Rowland
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

James W. Jarrell, Sr.
Board Member
Virginia Bear Hunters Association

Harold L. Stephens
Citizens to Protect the Confluence

Jerry Fennell
Jicarilla Mining District

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow
National Center for Public Policy Research

Judy Keeler
Bootheel Heritage Assoc. (Animas, NM)

Alexandra H. Mulkern
Mechanicsville, MD

Lee Riddle
Brookings, OR

Stephen L. Ralston
Columbia, PA

Mark Pollot
Boise, ID

Billy Jean Redemeyer-Roney

D.J. McCarthy
Civil Engineer

Clifton McDonald
Needles, CA

Kirk and Jeri Hansen
Clayton, ID

Suzanne Volpe
Sterling, VA

Amy Ridenour
Americans for the Preservation of Liberty
A press release, "Hypocrisy Watch: Congress Expands Opportunity for Self-Dealing While Claiming Historic Progress on Government Ethics," describing the project in more detail is available here.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:39 AM

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