Congressional Authority usurped!!!!!
(To seize another's place, authority, or possession wrongfully)........
This page explains the problem, and connects the dots.
How the Forest Service used an unlawful MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between "The Nature Conservancy" and the TAXPAYER FUNDED Forest Service to usurp Congress.
This page connects the dots; and covers the investigation, or in my opinion the farce of an investigation and the final Senate Finance Committee Hearing Summary, in other words "its findings" dated, June 8, 2005.
This is about removing barriers and opening back-up our Public Land to We The People that the BLM, NFS and even the United Nations admit they have control over. They claim control over 700 million acres that started out as 9.1 million acres 30 years ago; only a small percentage of that 700M acres is specifically for those of us traditional outdoorsmen/women for recreation.
Am I surprised/ No, I am totally shocked that there is not public outcry concerning the matter of constraints existing between We the People and Public Land across this nation. Ignorance is bliss of course; so the public doesn't know. If they knew there would be the same outcry; as the outrage against the "public domain" decision by the US Supreme Court.
UPDATE - THE NEW OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: President-elect Obama announces choices for Interior and Agriculture posts President-elect Obama said, Its time for a new kind of leadership in Washington thats committed to using our lands in a responsible way to benefit all our families. That means ensuring that even as we are promoting development where it makes sense, we are also fulfilling our obligation to protect our national treasures. It means ensuring that we are using our farmlands not only to strengthen our agricultural economy, but to grow advanced biofuels that will help make the United States energy independent and create jobs. That is the kind of leadership embodied by Ken Salazar and Tom Vilsack, and I look forward to working with them in the years ahead. .............END OF UPDATE
Recreation Permits The Recreation Permits menu is on the left. Why isn't all public land open to the public? If you scroll to the bottom, it will give you their links containing where you "CAN" go for recreation. The environmental zealots who now run the majority of public land control groups believe that as humans, we are the problem and that the main agenda of the micro-managing groups is to keep us on the Reservation; in other words, keep humans in tightly managed areas of recreation.
To quote: Peter F Colwell* Tim F Scheu** in "Public land use constraints: Lot and house configuration" "The public sector constrains the size and shape of lots and buildings via zoning ordinances and subdivision regulations. Zoning ordinances utilize setback requirements, open space ratios, minimum lot area and floor-to-area ratios. Subdivision regulations utilize street and sidewalk spacing requirments."
It makes me angry when I think that "the public" can vote out of local public office some guy who got approval for the building of 100 acres of low cost housing surrounding his Championship Golf Course. Sounds ridiculous doesn't it; but "the public" can't vote anyone out of "the government" (read BLM, NFS) who constrains "the public" off of millions upon millions of acres of Public Land for traditional recreational purposes.
Why? because Congress is no longer taking an active role in micro-managing public land; the environmental zealots and their millions of environmental minions are.
How did this happen? Below; you will find disturbing facts that reveal how We The People lost access to and use of our Public Land.
It has been 30 years in the making and started with the EPA Act. That was the beginning; and to date there is no end in site. In this spiderweb you will learn about a corrupted non profit organization whose interference into the duties of Congress allowed them to rewrite law concerniing Public Land. There are three huge players; THE NATURE CONSERVANCY, The Endangered Species Act (conglomerate of bureaucracy created to protect all species on earth) and the We The People; the taxpayers. All are non-profit groups as far as the government is concerned. I'll start with THE NATURE CONSERVANCY.
One of the richest special interests groups in the world (TNC) is dictating specifics to our government in the way of "code books" of the NFS when it comes to writing public land laws. All of this reminds me of the "money for food" scandal of the United Nations. I believe it is that big.
"The Endangered Species Act, for instance, is authorized by a number of United Nations administered treaties, not on the enumerated powers of Congress given in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. These treaties include the Convention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation in the Western Hemisphere and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Likewise, the RAMSAR Convention of Wetlands is the pattern for much of the federal wetlands regulation even though the Clean Water Act does not even specifically mention wetlands." INTERNATIONAL DOMINATION OF U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND PRIVATE PROPERTY
Follow the money, you will find it is not thousands of rare U.S. species being saved, it is the Environmental-Special-Interest-Groups themselves.
That is a powerful statement but it is my opinion; if you disagree, prove me wrong, and I will be the first to apologize and publish the error of my theories. However; the evidence is just too compelling once you connect the dots I have provided below. Once greed has managed to cause the accumulation of fantastic amounts of money and power, our laws themselves become contaminated against American taxpayers. The taxpayer and the species end up left out in the cold and Americans find signs that read "Public Land, DO NOT ENTER".
Several things need to happen here; the first is mentioned here. There is an unlawful relationship called a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) that leads one from The Nature Conservancy, through the ESA and then to our taxpayer funded Forest Service and other government agencies. Though the link to the budget is not part of the MOU, it makes interesting reading.
Click here for quick reference to the Forest Service Budget waste page
Here's a thought, if the F.S. does something to their regulations, code books, etc, the environmentalist don't like, the environmental non-profits file lawsuits that eat up the Forest Service budget. Next time (by golly) the lawmakers with check with the environmentalist first before passing regs or rules without checking with them first.
The really sad part is that the $billions upon $billions raised/collected and scammed by "The Nature Conservancy" could have been used in 1000 other ways that Congress, on both sides of the political isle, and the groups themselves could have been very proud of. The juicy Washington Post reports at the bottom of this page represent a long series of newspaper investigative reporting done by a couple of Staff Writers (for the Washington Post) into the corruption of THE NATURE CONSERVANCY.
The Washington Post began reporting for this series of articles on THE NATURE CONSERVANCY in 2001. This was interrupted by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and war in Afghanistan, and again by the U.S. invasion of Iraq.This author wondered at the time why none of these creeps went to jail?.....
Staff writers David B. Ottaway and Joe Stephens visited Conservancy operations and sites in Maine, Virginia, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Texas. They interviewed Conservancy President Steven J. McCormick four times and spoke with scores of staff and senior officials at local, state and national levels.
The reporters also conducted hundreds of interviews with former Conservancy employees, representatives of other environmental groups, federal environmental officials, academic and legal nonprofit specialists and tax experts inside and outside government.
The Post obtained thousands of pages of internal documents and e-mail communications between Conservancy officials. A number of current employees, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing their jobs, were interviewed.
The reporters also reviewed thousands of pages of documents obtained elsewhere, including court and property records in Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, Texas and Wyoming.
NOW!!!!!!!!!! "THE NATURE CONSERVANCY AT IT AGAIN
HR 7, The Charitable Giving Act of 2003
The House Ways and Means Committee will mark up HR 7, The Charitable Giving Act of 2003, as early as Thursday, September 4th. Washington insiders say HR 7 is in danger of being hijacked by powerful land trust organizations. The Nature Conservancy and others are lobbying to add amendments to HR 7 that would discount capital gains taxes by 50% if a landowner sells his property to wealthy land trusts or to government agencies. The landowner would not realize any tax savings if he sold to legitimate charitable organizations such as churches, private schools or other private individuals. Most likely, a land trust would expect to buy property for substantially less than market value, say 50%.
(When published in 2003 readers were urged to ...) Contact members of the Ways and Means Committee immediately and ask them to vote against any amendment that would give tax breaks, estimated as high as $948 million, to wealthy land trust organizations. Or call 1-800-648-3516 and ask your Representative to help stop the amendments."
(It's hard to tell if after it passed the House, it actually went through the Senate in 2003 or if it's still in the "works"?) When I have more time and more sources; I will post the truthmy findings.
Now, that we have introduced THE NATURE CONSERVANCY is, let's connect the other dots.
The "Threatened and Endangered Species System (TESS)" is a HUGE government spiderweb of bureaucracy that we truly believed was honorable and going to save future generations from our past environmental errors which allowed many species to become extinct. Looking below and on the website given, you will see just how HUGE the spiderweb became.
But how many species have they actually saved? None! Why?
When searching for what species the billions upon billions of dollars has been saved from extinction; this is what I found:
**Note I'm putting the below in "green" for emphasis, but please don't miss the point, that all these thousands of environmental groups are still spending billions of dollars a year to save species when they already know what they are purporting to do can't be done. please go to the actual URL for the rest of the story.
"Lastly you cannot actually save a species. Since species depend on many factors both biotic and abiotic, you must save habitats containing entire sets of interacting organisms.
Many of us worry that people misunderstand this because of the focus on endangered species.
To save a species, you must save its entire habitat and all of its parts. Unfortunately this is increasingly difficult because biologists are discovering that the size of the preserve must be very large for many organisms, and the growing human population is placing increasing pressure upon natural areas for resources. Humans compete very successfully with other organisms all over the world because we want lumber from the trees and prairie soil for farming, but we destroy the forest and prairie as we obtain these resources. The deer are bad, but humans have been much worse. Human activities are resulting in a tremendous cascade of species extinctions.
As Pogo the Possum (aka. Walt Kelly) often said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
Date: Fri Jan 12 11:32:02 2001
Posted By: Joseph E. Armstrong, Faculty, Botany, Illinois State University
Area of science: General Biology"
Just so we are clear, Mr. Armstrong states that "Human activities are resulting in a tremendous cascade of species extinctions." Now that we know that we are the enemy, what do we do to get all those pesky humans off the land so we can save all the endangered species and their entire habitats and all of its parts?
Now that's a tall order at first glance. The conclusion was to make it harder and harder for humans to have access and use of the western lands. That was simple; all the laws were put in place as of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA). All the environmentalist had to do was use the laws already on the books, just stretch them a bit (gave some of them whole new meanings) and the land could be controlled by the environmentalist, not Congress. I'm not saying Joseph E. Armstrong was the brains behind the movement; I'm sure he wasn't, a select few of his words represented what the environmental movement was trying to do in "all environmental circles" so quoting him directly simplified my description of the entire environmental movements strategy.
Just so you won't think I'm picking on Mr. Armstrong; do this little search to see just how weird it can get. I went to Answers.com and typed this in the search line: "list of environmental organizations". Scrolling down past the U.S. in the Intergovernmental Organizations section, going on down to the Private Organizations (Environmental NGOs) section, I look for the United States group again. Right there in alphabetic order I spotted a goodie....... a link to a group called Negative Population Growth Couldn't believe my eyes; had to check this out. Then that link let to the twilight zone; you will have to go look yourself; I'm not devoting any of my web-space to any of those weirdos.
OK, couldn't help myself, found some more twilight zone stuff here.. Only this time it's for real. "The Rewilding Project is brought to us from the United Nations. A relevant tentacle of Agenda 21, the Rewilding Project is designed to restore a major portion of the planet to its 'original' state before man came along and messed it all up." By Jackie Patru
So how does this all fit together? Here is the problem, the environmentalist zealots are using existing laws to push for the even more "out there" twilight zone stuff. What they haven't been able to accomplish using U.S. law, they are using United Nations treaties that the U.S. is part and parcel of. Some zealots entered civil service of The Department of the Interior 30+- years ago as Rangers and have worked their way up in the ranks to positions of authority so are now able to enforce code book revisions that are unconstitutional and unlawful. They are trampling on the rights of every American who has rights to his/her public land.
Here is further explanation of how the spider web is spun. The Bureau of Land Management administers public lands within a framework of numerous laws. The most comprehensive of these is the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA). All Bureau policies, procedures and management actions must be consistent with FLPMA and the other laws that govern use of the public lands."
From their website we learn FLPMA Act of 1976, How the Stage Was Set for BLM's "Organic Act" ". . . the public lands be managed in a manner that will protect the quality of scientific, scenic, historical, ecological, environmental, air and atmospheric, water resource, and archeological values; that, where appropriate, will preserve and protect certain public lands in their natural condition; that will provide food and habitat for fish and wildlife and domestic animals; and that will provide for outdoor recreation and human occupancy and use . . ."
The above quoted part of FLPMA gave the environmentalist all they needed to take control of all public lands. All they had to do was ignore the part about "...and that will provide for outdoor recreation and human occupancy and use ..." And ignore it they did. In fact, they used all the other directives in the FLPMA to restrict and regulate access to public land away from the public.
It didn't happen quickly, but looking at the population shift toward those 12 states where the majority of Public Land is located, you can follow a pattern to see that the environmentalist were on a mission to pass as many laws, get as many activist judges to rule in their favor (using part of FLPMA) and even convince Presidents that Executive Orders were needed to control the land in the west. Between 1976 and 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, humans are crowding in by the millions. Millions of people move west
With all these new laws going their way; while the main stream media mostly ignored it, the West was being gobbled up and controlled by the millions of acres at a time. It was all in the name of environmental protection, species protection, etc. Then every conceivable environmental concern group that one could imagine grouped themselves and became non-profits and began accumulating money and power. All they needed now was a way to "become the law" of environmentalism. Here's how they did it. The Congress of the United States either didn't know, didn't understand or was busy on other projects when THE NATURE CONSERVANCY began influencing the writing or changes to the Forest Service Code Books FSCB. The FSCB doesn't sound like a powerful document, but it is linked to all the environmental laws you can think of. The best way to see just how big the involvement is........ is to use the search engine below and poke around (get lost) in the bureaucracy spider web.
ITIS will search the following resources and return any relevant links:
Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Data Portal
National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Entrez Life Sciences Search
The National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) BioBot
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora Search
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) Search
Threatened and Endangered Species (TESS) Search
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Search
Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Search
What I have below is a page or two of what I was mailed (hard copy) from the Virginia National Park Service and scanned to place here so I could highlight in yellow the important point; which is the connection between the Global Rank System created by THE NATURE CONSERVANCY and how it controls the environmental laws of this country, the United States of America. How it keeps humans, you and I from having access to our recreational activities on OUR Public Land.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Threatened and Endangered Species System (TESS) Listings by State and Territory as of 08/06/2003
Displays one record per species or population.
Includes experimental populations and similarity of appearance listings.
The range of a listed population does not extend beyond the states in which that population is defined.
Includes non-nesting sea turtles and whales in State/Territory coastal waters.
Includes species or populations under the sole jurisdiction of the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Go to the Threatened and Endangered Wildlife and Plants Page Go to the TESS Home Page Virginia -- 71 listings Animals --- 56
In case you missed the massive search engine above, here is one for the state of Virginia. Status Listing and Listings by State and Territory Can be found at: https://ecos.fws.gov/tess_public/TESSWebpageUsaLists?state=VA
LEGEND FOR TES LIST:
SPECIES: The term species includes any subspecies of fish, wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment of any species or vertebrate fish or wildlife, which interbreeds when mature. (Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended through the 100th Congress)
RANGE: The geographical distribution of a species. For use here range is expressed as where a species is known or expected to occur on or near the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in terms of landform (feature name, physiographic province), political boundary (county name), or watershed (river, or stream name).
HABITAT: A place where the physical and biological elements of ecosystems provide a suitable environment and the food, cover and space resources needed for plant and animal livelihood. FSM 2605- 91-8, pg 10 of 13
(Author note: The next paragraph identifies the unlawful MOU between "The Nature Conservancy" and taxpayer funded Forest Service used to usurp the Congress. This Global Rank system determines what recreational activities are allowed on what Public Lands based on the species themselves and determine the regulations required to save such species from human use/access to public land.)
GLOBAL RANK: Global ranks are assigned by a consensus of the network of natural heritage programs, scientific experts, and The Nature Conservancy to designate a rarity rank based on the range-wide status of a species or variety. This system was developed by The Nature Conservancy and is widely used by other -agencies and organizations as the best available scientific and objective assessment of taxon rarity and level of threat to its existence. The ranks are assigned after considering a suite of factors including number of occurrences, numbers of individuals, and severity of threats.Back to Top of Page
G1= Extremely rare and critical imperiled with 5 or fewer occurrences or very few remaining individuals; or because of some factor(s) making it especially vulnerable to extinction.
G2 = Very rare and imperiled with 6 to 20 occurrences or few remaining individuals; or because of some factor(s) making it especially vulnerable to extinction.
G3= Either very rare and local throughout its range or found locally (even abundantly at some of its locations) in a restricted range; or vulnerable to extinction because of other factors. Usually fewer than 100 occurrences are documented.
G4 = Common and apparently secure globally, though it may be rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
G5 = Very common and demonstrably secure globally, though it may be rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
GH = Formally part of the worlds biota with the exception that may be rediscovered.
GX = Believed extinct throughout its range with virtually no likelihood of rediscovery.
GU = Possibly rare, but status uncertain and more data needed,
G? = Unranked, or, if following a ranking, ranking uncertain (ex. G3?).
G_Q = The taxon has a questionable taxonomic assignment, such as G3Q.
G_T = Signifies the rank of a subspecies or variety. For example, a G5TI would apply to a subspecies of a species that is demonstrably secure globally (G5) but the subspecies warrants a rank of TI, critically imperiled.
STATE RANK: The following ranks are used by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to set protection priorities for natural heritage resources.
Natural Heritage Resources (NHRs) are rare plant and animal species, rare and exemplary natural communities, and significant geologic features. The criterion for ranking NHRs is the number of populations or occurrences, i.e. the number of known distinct localities; the number of individuals in existence at each locality or, if a highly mobile organism (e.g.. sea turtles, many birds, and butterflies), the total number of individuals; the quality of the occurrences, the number of protected occurrences; and threats.
SI - Extremely rare; usually 5 or fewer populations or occurrences in the state; or may be a few remaining individuals; often especially vulnerable to extirpation.
S2 - Very rare; usually between 5 and 20 populations or occurrences; or with many individuals in fewer occurrences~ often susceptible to becoming extirpated.
S3 - Rare to uncommon; usually between 20 and 100 populations or occurrences; may have fewer occurrences, but with a large number of individuals in some populations; may be susceptible to large-scale disturbances.
S4 - Common; usually >100 populations or occurrences, but may be fewer with many large populations; may be restricted to only a portion of the state; usually not susceptible to immediate threats. S5 - Very common; demonstrably secure under present conditions.
SA - Accidental in the state.
S#B - Breeding status of an organism within the state.
SH - Historically known from the state, but not verified for an extended period, usually> 15 years; this rank is used primarily when inventory has been attempted recently.
S#N - Non-breeding status within the state. Usually applied to winter resident species
SR Reported for Virginia, but without persuasive documentation that would provide a basis for either accepting or rejecting the report.
SU - Status uncertain, often because of low search effort or cryptic nature of the element.
SX - Apparently extirpated from the state.
SZ - Long distance migrant, whose occurrences during migration are too irregular, transitory and/or dispersed to be reliably identified, mapped and protected.
These ranks should not be interpreted as legal designations."
(The only thing the author of this web page can agree with on the above documents is the last line that the ranks should not be interpreted as legal designations,) but clearly they are being used by the Jefferson National Forest Service in Virginia against me in my application for a special uses "digging permit".
Back to Top of Page
While I was researching for this particular subject, I found this book that I'd like to take a look at; perhaps when your head stops spinning, you might want to consider it too. FYI, I have no monetary interest of any kind in this book; just wish I had written it myself.
by Robert Higgs; Carl P. Close, ISBN#: 0945999976, 467 pages
The huge bureaucracy created by the rise in environmental regulation since the 1970s has created more waste and failure than innovation and success, say the contributors to this eye-opening book. Re-Thinking Green: Alternatives to Environmental Bureaucracy exposes the myths that have contributed to failed environmental policies and proposes bold alternatives that recognize the power of free-market approaches and the drawbacks of regulatory processes. Examining some of today's most hotly debated environmental issues -- including oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), global warming, endangered species, land use, and air quality -- Re-Thinking Green show how environmental quality can be enhanced more effectively by relying less on government agencies that are increasingly bureaucratized and unaccountable, and more on environmental entrepreneurship and the strict enforcement of private-property rights.
How, by 1990, 25 years of regulations enforced by the EPA had cost the U.S. economy an estimated 22% of the manufacturing output it otherwise would have produced
Why entrenched businesses often support environmental regulations to hobble their competitors
Why, despite the $529 million spent every year by federal and state agencies on endangered-species protection during the 1990s, they didn't come close to fulfilling the requirements of the Endangered Species Act
How the Endangered Species Act antagonizes property owners instead of rewarding them for conservation
The growing challenge in Africa to the "environmental colonialism" of Western organizations
How private developers on South Carolina's coastal barrier islands are protecting sensitive shorelines more effectively than the government ever did
Why property-rights approaches to conservation show great promise for protecting offshore resources and other sensitive habitat
Why Portland, Oregon's "smart growth" plan is predicted to triple the amount of traffic congestion and to increase air pollution and housing prices
How, in response to Congress's efforts to rein in overzealous federal regulators, the EPA has adopted an aggressive strategy of "regulation by litigation."
Why current environmental policies are not only ineffective and costly, but harmful to our legal and political traditions
"Sustainable development": how this pleasant-sounding term masks a dangerous policy agenda -- including mandatory birth licenses, the abolition of private land ownership, and the forced resettlement of human populations in order to "re-wild" parts of the planet
Population Baloney: why people's conduct, not their numbers, causes poverty or prosperity -- and why population growth is often associated with rising standards of living
How support for the Kyoto Accord has been fueled by Big Business interests that would benefit relative to their competitors from greenhouse-gas restrictions
How market-based tools would mitigate any serious harms that may be caused by global warming more efficiently than Kyoto-style restrictions
The perverse incentives that undermine efforts to protect threatened species in the United States - and some promising new approaches, such as giving property owners an interest in protecting sensitive habitat
How both biodiversity and native African traditions have been disturbed by the imposition of Western conservation strategies
Why special-interest groups are able to manipulate environmental bureaucracies to their advantage, often to the detriment of environmental quality
How private-property rights can do better than government regulation in preventing and resolving problems such as offshore oil leaks and spills
How the EPA has repeatedly distorted its performance in implementing the Clean Air Act
"Forces readers to re-think both the accomplishments of environmental policy and the policy strategies that will be most effective. The diverse policy studies in this book illustrate how government regulations often generate unintended results." -- W. Kip Viscusi, Professor of Law and Economics, Harvard University
Why free-market incentives and property rights protect the environment better than costly and intrusive government regulation "A devastating critique of current policies and a menu for improvement." -- Paul H. Rubin, Emory University
Back to Top of Page
The following two links are to pages that still have some of the story posted on their web-pages; the links from those pages no longer work but this author is locating and replacing them with links that do work
Nature Conservancy Faces Panel Review
By Joe Stephens and David B. Ottaway, Washington Post Staff Writers, Thursday, July 17, 2003; Page A19
... and... "Washingtonpost.com > Nation > Special Reports > The Nature Conservancy" The senators also want to examine all audits of Conservancy operations from the past five years. The committee seeks details of land sales to government agencies, including appraisals and any profits banked by the Conservancy. In particular, the letter asks for a list of grants and contracts involving three nonprofits: the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; the National Forest Foundation; and the National Park Foundation.
Below are links (some may be broken links) that I would like to see the Washington Post Staff Writers restore so readers can get back to the story both THE NATURE CONSERVANCY and THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITEE would like to see go away. To borrow a phrase, the "drive-by media" never picked up and ran with the scandal, so here it sits, dots all connected, etc. with nowhere to go.
Developers Find Payoff in Preservation (The Washington Post, Dec 21, 2003)
"You make virtually risk-free easy money," Kahn's Web site says. He explained in one Internet posting how an investor paid $2.4 million for a golf course and reaped $4.8 million "in pure tax savings."
Land-Trust Boom A Boon for Habitat (The Washington Post, Dec 21, 2003)
"They also have sparked a land-trust boom. The number of private, nonprofit land trusts swelled from 887 in 1990 to an estimated 1,300 today (*2003). The largest, the Nature Conservancy, has assets of more than $3 billion and ranks as the world's richest environmental group. It is the eighth-largest American nonprofit of any type."
Conservancy Abandons Disputed Practices (The Washington Post, Jun 14, 2003)
The 52-year-old Conservancy, best known for its ads featuring the voice of actor Paul Newman, is the world's richest environmental group, with $3.3 billion in assets. The charity has 3,200 employees and operates in every state and 30 countries. It owns 2 million acres, much of it held in 1,400 nature preserves. ......
Under the program, the Conservancy bought raw land, attached development restrictions and then resold the land to state trustees and other supporters at greatly reduced prices. Buyers then voluntarily gave the Conservancy charitable contributions roughly equivalent to the discounts, sums that were written off from the buyers' federal income taxes. The deals generally allowed the buyers to build homes on the land.
12 Home Loans at Conservancy (The Washington Post, Jun 13, 2003)
"Petterson said this week, in response to questions, that the Conservancy has extended a dozen housing loans to employees since 1993. All were home mortgages, except for $4,000 extended to help an employee rent housing in Indonesia, he said......Interest rates ranged from zero to 6.02 percent, according to Conservancy records. Ten loans required no monthly payments. Of those, five were interest-free."....... "The Conservancy in 1999 began drilling for natural gas in Texas, under the last native breeding ground of the Attwater's prairie chicken, which it calls the most endangered bird in North America."
Charity Hiring Lawyers to Try to Prevent Probe (The Washington Post, May 16, 2003) "We . . . are working to identify firms that can help us gain access to key offices on the Hill," said one memo, bearing McCormick's name and e-mailed on Monday to the organization's executives in the United States and abroad. "We have launched a proactive effort to reach out to all critical members of Congress, key legislative staff and federal agencies."
Nature Conservancy Suspends Land Sales (The Washington Post, May 13, 2003) Under the program, the charity buys raw land, attaches some development restrictions and then resells the properties to supporters at greatly reduced prices. Buyers give the Conservancy cash payments for roughly the amount of the discount, a sum that is then written off the buyers' federal income taxes.
Back to Top of Page
Charity's Land Deals To Be Scrutinized (The Washington Post, May 10, 2003) Alerted to the possibility of questionable practices at the Conservancy by a recent series of articles in the Post, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-IA), the committee's chairman, and Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), its ranking Democrat, are drafting a letter to organization officials asking for further clarification. One article focused on the Conservancy's practice of buying ecologically significant parcels of land and placing development restrictions on them, thereby reducing their price. The organization then sells land at the lower price to a trustee or donor, who, in turn, makes a donation to the Conservancy that is roughly equal to the difference between the initial market value of the land and the discounted selling price. In a number of cases, the new owner, who benefits from a tax deduction on the charitable contribution, has then developed the property using guidelines designed with his or her plans in mind.
Nonprofit Land Bank Amasses Billions (The Washington Post, May 4, 2003) "Yet the Conservancy has logged forests, engineered a $64 million deal paving the way for opulent houses on fragile grasslands and drilled for natural gas under the last breeding ground of an endangered bird species." .... "Some of the charity's scientists have complained that the organization has drifted from its stated commitment to the "best available science." One scientist complained in an internal 2001 Conservancy study: "Science is not understood or supported by senior managers and state directors. [The] entire focus is on land deals." Said another: "I am not convinced [the Conservancy] is science-based, as we claim."
$420,000 a Year and No-Strings Fund (The Washington Post, May 4, 2003) "McCormick ultimately provided information showing that his compensation and benefits for 2002 totaled about $420,000." "He used the loan to buy a new $1.7 million house in the Reserve, an upscale subdivision in McLean."...."Other Conservancy documents obtained by The Post revealed a pool of cash known as "the President's Discretionary Fund." Those funds, memos show, paid for ads in six major national markets featuring nature scenes and Paul Newman's voice." ...."McCormick also used the (Discretionary) fund last fall to dole out $600,000 to losing participants in a United Nations environmental competition. In August, at a South African conference, he announced the Conservancy would give $30,000 to each of competition's 20 runners-up. McCormick told The Post his announcement of the gifts was a spur-of-the-moment decision."
Image Is a Sensitive Issue (The Washington Post, May 4, 2003) "The report urged the Conservancy to spend $5 million a year on its image, in part to counter World Wildlife Fund ads." ... "Conservancy officials, the memo said, worried that the charity would be portrayed as if it had "systematically colluded with wealthy individuals and corporations to conduct land transactions that manipulate the tax code to the benefit of the affluent." ... ,br. "Conservancy executives feared their organization might be depicted as an "environmental Enron," the memo states."
How a Bid to Save a Species Came to Grief (The Washington Post, May 5, 2003) "Mobil drilled on the property until 1995, when it gave the land to the Conservancy. At the time, an executive called the donation "the last, best hope of saving one of the world's most endangered species." Mobil, a Conservancy official explained, wanted "to place the land with an entity that would act in the best interest of this endangered bird." ....
"In 1999, the Conservancy announced its own intention to drill. It said it had consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, developed a management plan for the birds and would sink its wells far from the birds' primary habitat."
On Eastern Shore, For-Profit 'Flagship' Hits Shoals (The Washington Post, May 5, 2003) "OYSTER, Va. -- With great difficulty, the Nature Conservancy five years ago hoisted an abandoned U.S. Coast Guard station building onto a dolly, slipped it onto a barge and shipped it six miles to the outskirts of this little town on Virginia's Eastern Shore.".......
"For $3 million, the 210-ton Cobb Island Station was then converted into a rustic 12-room inn intended to anchor a high-end tourism venture. The inn was part of a collection of for-profit ventures the Conservancy launched here in the 1990s to convince the dwindling local population that small business could be profitable and preservation-friendly."
STOP THE PRESSES..... HOW CAN A NON-PROFIT HAVE A COLLECTION OF FOR-PROFIT INTERESTS?
The Beef About the Brand (The Washington Post, May 5, 2003)
"LANDER, Col. -- In December 2000, the Nature Conservancy's Colorado science director was asked to sign documents certifying that certain cattle ranches were environmentally sound."
"The director, Jerry Freilich, refused. He knew from his own study that the pounding hooves of cattle could harm the fragile ecologies of the arid West. And he had never visited the ranches in question."
"His boss wasn't pleased. "He grabbed me roughly by the arms and threw me around the room," Freilich recalled. The supervisor, Dave Neary, then allegedly ordered: "You're going to sign right this minute or you're out.""
Nonprofit Sells Scenic Acreage to Allies at a Loss (The Washington Post, May 6, 2003) Buyers Gain Tax Breaks With Few Curbs on Land Use ........ Too many examples to pick the best one from.
Back to Top of Page
Landing a Big One: Preservation, Private Development (The Washington Post, May 6, 2003) "MARTHA'S VINEYARD, Mass. -- Two years ago, the Nature Conservancy triumphantly announced a complex real estate transaction, a $64 million deal in which it acquired 215 acres of rare open sandplain. Conservancy officials hailed it as "an important victory for conservation on Martha's Vineyard," part of a campaign to save the Earth's "Last Great Places.""....
"...as part of the deal, the Conservancy placed restrictions limiting some development on the newly purchased land and then immediately resold half of it to others, paving the way for Gatsbyesque vacation houses on pristine beach and grasslands. Those buyers included a pair of Oracle software tycoons, a retired Goldman Sachs executive and comedian David Letterman.
This author would like to ask the Senate Finance Committee if after all the data they accumulated during the investigation; were they pressured into not sending anyone to jail?
Were the TNC just too rich a special interest group to apply more than just a slap on the wrist?
Just wondering after reviewing The Senate Finance Committee - June 8, 2005 Hearing Summary.
Back to Top of Page