January 15, 2013 by Land Report Editors
Filed under Agriculture, Auctions, Cattle, Farming, Federal Policy, Georgia, Minerals, New Mexico, Newsletter, Oklahoma, Public Land, Recreation, Residential Property, South, Southwest, Texas
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announces his plan to leave Washington and return home to Colorado. The Supreme Court agrees to hear a dispute between Texas and Oklahoma over water rights. And the State of Texas, on a completely different matter, asks the Nation’s highest court to intervene in yet another water fight, one that involves Texas and another neighbor, New Mexico.
So much for a slow start to 2013. Our January newsletter features these news items and as well as others, including Land Report 100er Louis Bacon’s timeless gift to establish the Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area in Southern Colorado.
Dan Ashe was sworn in as the 16th director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on June 30. President Obama had nominated Ashe to head up the nation’s principal federal agency dedicated to the conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats last December. Thanks to his father’s 37-year career at Fish and Wildlife, Ashe is in fact a lifelong veteran of the service. After receiving his Master’s degree from the University of Washington, the Atlanta native spent 13 years working on Capitol Hill before joining Fish and Wildlife. He subsequently served as the service’s assistant director for external affairs from 1995 to 1998, as the chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System from 1998 to 2003, as science advisor to the director of the service from 2003 to 2009, and, most recently, as the service’s deputy director for policy.
Said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, “Dan Ashe has served with distinction and integrity in the Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 15 years. He has worked tirelessly to prepare the Service to meet the resource challenges of the 21st century, and his leadership and vision have never been more necessary. I’m excited to work with him to foster innovative science-driven conservation programs and policies to benefit our nation’s fish and wildlife and its habitat.”
Said Ashe, “I’m humbled by the trust that the Secretary and the President have placed in me, and most of all, by the responsibility of leading the finest wildlife conservation organization in the world. As director, I will strive to create an atmosphere where we can bring to bear our collective imagination, our tenacity, and our commitment to public service to address today’s challenges to the future of our nation’s fish and wildlife heritage.”
Read more HERE.
July 1, 2011 by Land Report Editors
Filed under Auctions, Bankruptcy, Cattle, Conservation, Developers, Energy, Farming, Feature, Federal Policy, Land Report Top 10, Minerals, Newsletter, Public Land, Recreation, Residential Property, Timber, Water
There’s a lot of ground to cover in the July edition of The Land Report newsletter: auctions, equities, timberland, and several political developments affecting landowners, ranging from the passage of key legislation by the Texas Legislature to the appointment of Dan Ashe to head the federal agency that many landowners know on a firsthand basis, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
From a research standpoint, a new frontrunner has emerged atop The Land Report Top Ten, which features the country’s leading investment quality land listings. Count on The Magazine of the American Landowner to follow the $100 million listing of Wyoming’s Walton Ranch by Ranch Marketing Associates in the months ahead.
P.S. Our award-winning quarterly magazine is available in a print version via subscription.
The second session of the 111th Congress is already under way, and landowners have a lot at stake. With that in mind, The Land Report turns to Scott Jones to get the inside scoop on Washington’s next steps. Since 2003, Jones has been the CEO of the Forest Landowners Association (FLA), whose members own and operate some 40 million acres of forestland in 48 states. Founded in 1941, FLA offers education, information, and national grassroots advocacy with the goal of sustaining forestlands from one generation to the next.
With so many bold initiatives taken on by the Obama administration, what are the chances of a climate bill passing this year? Would it benefit forest landowners?
American voters believe that a climate/cap-and-trade bill may cost jobs; as a result, I would not be surprised to see the climate portion of the energy bill removed. If crafted properly, an energy bill could benefit private forest landowners by creating new markets for wood. However, the definition of “woody biomass” still needs to be fixed for landowners to truly benefit from the stripped down version of the bill.
The federal estate tax dropped to zero this year. Do you expect it to return to 55 percent with a $1 million exemption as scheduled in 2011?
There do not appear to be enough votes to bring the death tax back to life in 2010. Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-MA) recent election created a political barrier to retroactive death tax reinstatement. Unless legislative action is taken, the tax is scheduled to permanently return at a rate as high as 55 percent in 2011. But this is an election year, so anything is possible. Polls indicate 65 to 70 percent of Americans want the tax repealed.
Name one other issue landowners should follow closely.
The Clean Water Restoration Act is definitely legislation every landowner should keep an eye on. It seeks to expand the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act by redefining “navigable waters” as “waters of the United States.” The consequences of this bill are enormous, and it has already created a firestorm in the Senate. Strong opposition convinced Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) to delay introducing the bill on the House side. Oberstar now intends to move the bill through the House by the end of 2010.
The current issue of The Land Report takes an in-depth look at Obama Administration and the American Landowner. Since that issue came off the press, the President has already been faced with a crucial task: nominating a replacement for Supreme Court Associate Justice David Souter. His choice? Federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor.
Next Monday, July 13, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin her confirmation hearings. Landowners will be paying particular attention to Judge Sotomayor regarding property rights, in particular, Kelo v. City of New London, the controversial 2005 decision that sparked a national uproar. What will her stance be? Insight can be gleaned from her role in an important test of Kelo that took place in 2006: Didden v. Village of Port Chester.
According to The New York Times:
The case arose from a meeting in 2003 between Mr. Didden, who owned property in Port Chester, N.Y., and an executive of a company that had been designated by the village to develop a 27-acre urban renewal area that included part of the property. What happened at that meeting, Mr. Didden said, amounted to extortion.
Mr. Didden had made arrangements to put a CVS drug store on his lot. At the meeting, the executive, Gregg Wasser, demanded $800,000 as the price for permission to proceed with that project, Mr. Didden said in court papers. The alternative, Mr. Wasser said, according to the papers, was to have the village condemn Mr. Didden’s property so that Mr. Wasser’s company could put a Walgreen’s in the same place.
“Here is a private person standing in the shoes of the government with the power to condemn or not condemn,” Mr. Didden said. “The $800,000 wasn’t going to rehabilitate a public park or build a soccer stadium. It was going into his pocket.”
Mr. Didden refused. The next day the village condemned his property.
As The Times points out, when Didden’s appeal reached the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, his case was rejected with a terse, unsigned decision. The response has not been favorable:
The ruling in Didden is not popular among some property rights and constitutional law professors. Eight of them filed a brief in 2006 unsuccessfully urging the Supreme Court to hear an appeal.
“This is the worst federal court takings decision since Kelo,” said Ilya Somin, who teaches property law at George Mason University and helped write the brief. “It’s very extreme, and it is significant as a window into Judge Sotomayor’s attitudes toward private property.”
Read more at:
“Issue of Property Rights Is Likely to Arise in Sotomayor’s Confirmation Hearings,” New York Times, June 15, 2009
After analyzing George Bush’s legacy with respect to landowners, scutinizing the inclinations of lawmakers in the 111th Congress, and studying key members of President Obama’s cabinet, it’s time for The Land Report to look at the Commander-in-Chief himself. Read more
While a few of President Obama’s cabinet nominees remain to be confirmed, others — such as Ken Salazar (pictured) — will exert enormous influence on landowners and have been hard at work since hours after the inauguration. Read more
Change. If Barack Obama delivers on his simple campaign pledge, that’s what’s coming to Washington. But George W. Bush offered change of his own — particularly on laws and regulations affecting landowners.
The 111th Congress, with the strongest Democratic majority in years, was seated on January 6 and already the body is at work on legislation of significant importance to landowners nationwide. Read more
Landowners in the West will have one of their own heading up the Interior Department in the new Obama Administration. According to published reports, Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) will be named the 50th Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior later this week by President-elect Barack Obama. Read more