Obama’s Federal Land Grab
Three weeks ago, Dan Henninger of the Wall Street Journal wrote about how under the Obama Administration the country is really splitting into two economies, one public, one private. More and more the government is trying to replace private markets in the decision of what gets built, when and how.
Little did he know. As if on cue, the Administration a week later announced it will be starting a full-scale initiative to build wind and solar projects on federal Western lands, with contributions coming from both the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Defense. The Pentagon’s contribution will be 16 million acres. In case you’re keeping score, that’s 25,000 square miles or the size of West Virginia. Who knew they owned that much? Yet the truth is, if you’re going to build wind and solar you’re going to need that much space because both are hugely dilute and can’t be scaled up except by occupying more land.
Although landowning and private property have been foundation of American democracy since the time of the Revolution, in fact there huge amounts of land still belong to the government — much more even than in a place such as the United Kingdom, where large tracts are still owned by “The Crown.” Things began to change in this country around the beginning of the 20th century. Before that, the Homestead Act, adopted under Abraham Lincoln in the midst of the Civil War, had put land west of the Mississippi in the hands of small farmers and property owners. Settlers were promised 160 acres if they lived on the land for five years and made improvements. As riverbeds lands were exhausted, the allotment was increased to 320 acres in 1909 to encourage dry land farming. With this acreage went the mineral rights.

Read more: http://spectator.org/archives/2012/08/17/obamas-federal-land-grab

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