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(Note - Pombo is the same rancher/congressman who introduced a bill in Congress earlier this year to sell off 20 National Parks.)

"A congressman who wants to drill in the gulf and weaken the Endangered Species Act offers another bill that puts treasured land at risk of development.
St. Petersburg Times Editorial
November 22, 2005

"It could be the biggest land scam ever... A bill by Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., would allow anyone to claim ownership of public land for as little as $1,000 an acre under the guise of mining it. Instead of digging for gold, however, the owner could develop the land. Millions of acres are at risk, often near the nation's most treasured natural areas. Not only would taxpayers lose the use of their land, they would also subsidize the purchase."

Continuation of Editorial

"The House has ALREADY APPROVED the measure - which alters an antiquated mining law - even though some representatives probably didn't know what they were voting on because it was hidden in a budget bill. For Pombo, this completes his land-grab trifecta. He is also pushing to open Florida's Gulf Coast to offshore drilling and to allow private land protected under the Endangered Species Act to be developed with little federal interference."

"While the mining law has been used to rip off taxpayers for more than a century, Pombo's version would make it even worse. Since 1872, mining interests could claim ownership of public land for the purpose of extracting minerals at little cost. It led to abuses such as the mining company that extracted $10-billion worth of gold ...that cost a mere $10,000 ... Congress put a moratorium on the practice in 1994. Pombo's bill would not only end the moratorium, but make it easier to claim land with no intention to mine. Under the bill's language, anyone could acquire public land for as little as $1,000 per acre and use it for "sustainable economic development." Opponents of the bill say that could be defined as condominiums, ski resorts or casinos."

Originally posted to JPZenger on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 11:39 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Recommended (none)
    and I don't know why this doesn't catch more attention from the DKos crowd.  

    This administration is already a reprise of guilded age corruption.  I guess we will have to have our own version of the Teapot Dome scandal before people realize that Republicans always treat the people's land and resources like GOP private property.

  •  Can it still get blocked? (none)
    Can the Senate block this? If these criminals cheating the public for private crony gain get it through, can we immediately block it via the court system?

    Putting private monetary gain before the interest and security (hey, the drinking water!!) of the people has to run contrary to numerous established laws. The oiligarchs that decided they wanted to drown the government of the people and for the people need thrown out of office, because they sure as hell are not representing the people of their districts - just the wallets of god knows who!

    •  This along with lots else is going to conference (none)
      committee where the differences between the Senate budget bill (which does not have this) and the house version get resolved.  Then the new bill goes back to both houses for a vote (as I understand it).  Usually those bills pass, so what happens in committee (and who is appointed to the committee) matters.  I suppose input from people not on the committee might influence those on the committee so contact both your Senators and Reps.
  •  Senate is the Safety Net (none)
    The measure passed the House, but was apparently not included in the Senate version.  I believe the matter is in "conference" to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions.  The best bet is to call or write your Senator.
  •  Reminds me a lot (none)
    of the "Sagebrush Rebellion", James Watt's lever to sell off massive acreage.  Failed miserably when ranchers discovered that'd have to pay taxes on land they'd used cheap.

    The Senate won't go along; eastern states would be the big losers because their lands are not subject to the 1872 Mining Law.

    "If you get an outfit, you can be a cowboy, too..." : The Smothers Brothers.

    by wozzle on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 12:44:20 PM PST

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