January 27, 2018

We can’t see the trees for the forest.

Standard operating practice for this administration is to keep hammering away at the public’s ability to discover and understand the ramifications of each and every action that has been taken by the administration to further their ideology.  It’s almost impossible to keep track of all of it.  It’s a continuous blitzkrieg.  We stand back and observe the ideological narrative: demonize foreigners, enact nativist laws and install fundamentalist ideologues into the courts, undermine the foundations of our democracy, and enrich corporations to whom money is owed or through which the members of the administration will enrich themselves.

There might be a few other branches I’m missing, but by and large we have a general sense of the overarching themes.

Nearly every member of this administration’s cabinet is an unqualified and detestable creature in their own right.  I keep wanting to spend time writing about each one of them individually…it’s truly mind-blowing how awful these people are.  The only one I’ve managed to find time to write about specifically, is Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.  I don’t understand how it has still not been reported that Zinke was involved with Whitefish before the whole Puerto Rico thing.

https://100percenttrue.wordpress.com/2017/10/30/secretary-zinke-did-push-a-big-job-to-whitefish-before-puerto-rico/

Zinke definitely has his hands in the pot and the administration certainly would love to divvy up our public lands for the enrichment of oil/gas/mineral companies.  I’d like to spend time examining this one tree in the forest again.

In this administrations splatter-shot approach to proclaiming new laws through executive order, pushing half baked agendas, and generally weighing down the public with endless daily intrigues and scandals, it is possible that they will reveal their infrastructure bill in the middle of this whole budget/DACA crisis or at it’s very tail-end,  so as to fatigue the public into just not giving a fuck anymore.  Within this framework may be hidden some suspicious looking ideas about public land use.  Or, an executive order may come down at the same time declaring our new direction with public lands usage.

Leaked Documents Reveal the Trump Administration’s Plan to Sell off Our Public Lands

Reported by Politico, Axios, and Mother Jones.  The document is legit.  The administration was approached about this.  Yes, it’s for real.  The administration is highlighting: this is only a draft, it may not appear in final wording as you see it now.  Emhm.

As in all things, the devil is in the details.  It’s why I always insist on source data.

Here it is.

“Politico reported Wednesday that Trump could release his long-anticipated infrastructure plan in as little as two weeks. If it takes aim at public land, Zinke will almost certainly face the brunt of public outrage. After all, it was Zinke who said last month, “No one loves public land more than I. You can love it as much, but you can’t love it any more.”

It certainly seems as if selling public lands to entities for their own use, is written into this document.  I want to point out, that that is not all this document says.  It does not say, exclusively to private institutions.  States and other public entities may also opt to purchase these lands.

This is the phrase in particular that is catching everyone’s eyes:

“Disposition of Federal Real Property: would establish through executive order the authority to allow for the disposal of Federal assets to improve the overall allocation of economic resources in infrastructure investment.” 

Now, whether it is a state or non governmental entity which buys the land, It is necessary for whomever may buy the land, to show that it shall be a profitable venture in order for the sale to take place.  It’s a weighted condition.  Even if a state buys the land, they are probably going to have to support it through leasing it to a commercial entity…possibly the same entities that would buy it for it’s exploitable resource…so, it doesn’t really matter who is on the other side of the contract, the end use will be the same unless…unless that state bothers to show it will itself back the funding or can prove non-extraction activities will sustain it’s profitability and that’s possible.  Problem is, the details of this document heavily skew the opportunity of selling our public lands to private companies.

I’m not going to cut and paste all of the important sections here as it may look like too much to read, I’ll transcribe the relevant parts, which can always be checked from the link above.

If the land is generally perceived as being used in the public’s interest:

  1. grants will be supplied to assist in the selling of land by the federal government.
  2. those grants are tied to showing that the land will be improved upon for public usage, ie: railway, water supply, hydropower, etc.
  3. If it is for public use, 50% of the decision to sell the land thus will be hinged upon securing private funds for the project.  If standard is met, the federal grant to support it cannot exceed 20%* of the entire project cost. *only 10% collectable by any one state.

Non public use:

  1. Grants will be extended to high-risk exploratory ENERGY usage.
  2. Federal funding for 30% of undertaking, 50% of project planning, and 80% of capitol construction.
  3. If this proves to be valuable, the government has the ability to declare a right in some unclarified profit sharing.  Not a first right.  totally not clarified in this garbage document.
  4. Federal technical assistance is available.

Now which angle looks like the better deal to you?  Understand that even if the land is bought for a form of public use, the land will HAVE to be changed, improved, used some how, if you want any federal grants, otherwise…that shit is all on you.  The way it is written it is considerably less likely that any public purchase of the land does not involve a private entity and it is pretty much impossible to buy the land to preserve it.

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