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Land Grab

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block.

Did you know that Congress passed legislation authorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund to spend 9 billion dollars to buy private land?  The Department of Interior doesn’t have the money to take care of the millions of acres they own now.  This “land grab” bill, 700 pages in length has gotten almost no attention.  The federal government already owns almost 1/3 of the land in our country.  Look at a map of our Western states.  The federal government owns almost half of the land in the West.

I thought we would favor private property.  The government should not be using our tax money to buy our land from us.  We should be using private land to feed our cows, drill for oil, mine for gold.  Our government already has way too much land. 

Much of the land the government owns now could be put to much better use.  Lease it out to private business and raise our infrastructure.  Two weeks ago, the Trump Administration opened 57,000 acres of federal land for lease by ranchers and energy companies.  The sage-grouse lovers were really angry.  Let them scream.  That grouse doesn’t own the land.  The American people do.

The Democratic House voted for the “land grab” bill – not surprised.  But the Senate did also.  Now the only chance to kill this ridiculous legislation is for a Presidential veto.  President Trump has not vetoed any bills since elected.  This is his chance.          

In the days of Newt Gingrich leadership in the House he said, “Congress shall allow no net loss of private property to the Feds.  For every acre the government plans to purchase or seize, it must sell off at least one acre in return.”  That is the rule we should insist on now.

I thank Steven Moore a fellow at the Heritage Foundation for alerting me about this land grab socialism.

John Block was Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1981-1985, where he played a key role in the development of the 1985 Farm Bill.  If you would like to review his radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to


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