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July 7, 2004, by retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist and manager Jim Beers.  Go HERE for biography.

The following news item has me confused.

"The Washington Post reported last year that the Nature Conservancy had
repeatedly bought land, added some development restrictions, and then
resold the properties at reduced prices to its trustees and other
supporters. The buyers made cash gifts to the Nature Conservancy roughly
equal to the difference in price, thereby qualifying for substantial tax
deductions -- just as if they had given money to their local charity.

The Conservancy said the sales prices were proper because the
development restrictions reduced the market value of the tracts. In the
wake of the news articles, however, the Conservancy announced that it
would no longer conduct such deals with its board members and trustees."

Setting aside the crooked behind-the scenes actions of environmentalists
that, like their bureaucrat cousins, think first and foremost of feathering
their own nest; what is this stuff about "development restrictions" reducing
"the market value of" land?  I thought conservation easements and wetland
easements and development easements, and historic easements and use
easements and all the other "do-good" easements were merely protections for
"treasures" and that if anything they made the land more valuable.  That is
what we used to tell North Dakota farmers and what we told westerners
unlucky enough to have some iddy biddy bunch of some variety of some
"Endangered" plant or animal on their property.  "Sign here and the
brown-rooted phase of the Beers County bluegrass will be saved forever and
lots of folks will want to but your place just to look at this particular

Now we find out that The Nature Conservancy has been reselling lands they
buy to save the planet to their own bigwigs at a marked-down price because
they put "development restrictions" on the land.  Wow.  One of our premier
environmental organizations selling land to it's managers on the cheap after
they buy it with government help and ask for tax breaks because they are
like The Blues Brothers, on a mission for you-know-who.  Then they use as a
defense that the land is worth less because of the restrictions (i.e.
easements) that they and their bureaucrat "partners" are selling everybody
else.  The next thing you know someone will tell us that some Endangered
mouse doesn't even exist and that Endangered owls that we "saved" by
decimating rural communities, timber companies, and uncounted families are
still decreasing.  Maybe we have been "looking up" to the wrong people and
listening to the wrong sermons.

Jim Beers
6 July 2004






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