Recovering $600 Billion by Collecting the Rent on our Public Lands

Thanks to Matthew Koehler for finding this…

Here’s the link. This is the project of the “Council of Elders” of the Resource Renewal Institute here.

Here is the description of the idea:

Council of Elders
The Council of Elders, a project of the Resource Renewal Institute, is comprised of retired and active resource managers, scientists, and environmentalists. The purpose of the Council is to improve today’s resource and environmental management through the lineage of Aldo Leopold, David Brower, John Muir, and other environmental elders of the past. We believe that to address today’s global climate challenges, environmental and resource management must adhere to strict professional standards that have been eroded since their peak in the environmental gains of the 1970’s. By assembling a new council for each chosen area of study, the Council of Elders concept benefits from professional expertise gained over decades on a single environmental challenge. Utilizing retirees greatly reduces costs while protecting and stewarding America’s natural resources with the wisdom of elders.

The Council of Elders aims to:

Document and improve the practices of resource and environmental management agencies
Serve as a non-partisan watchdog of American resource management
Advocate for and create increased transparency and universality of information used in political and resource management decision making
Work to unite state and federal agencies, non-profits, educational institutions, industry, and the public in responsible management of America’s natural resources
Bridge existing organizations with a membership composed of elder experts from a variety of professional fields including academia, government, and the private sector
Mentor active resource managers through regional support network of elder experts
Provide assistance to whistle-blowers

As an elder myself, interested in some of the same topics, I wonder who exactly these folks are.

Yet the document does not mention whom these people are who helped write it. The name on it is Lynn Alexander who is

Lynn M. Alexander, AICP

Lynn is an environmental planner and principal of LMA Consulting. She has worked with a wide range of federal, state and local agencies, special districts, consulting firms and non-profits. Lynn is a long-time member of the American Planning Association (APA) and a certified planner since 1992. She has served on the Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) board of directors and conference committees and has coordinated several conferences and workshops. Recent projects have involved analyses of renewable and natural gas energy projects for state licensing. Lynn holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from California State University and an M.S. in Environmental Management from the University of San Francisco. She is currently working on a second Council of Elders’ project for RRI that focuses on U.S. government subsidy reform.

RECOVERING $600 BILLION BY COLLECTING THE RENT ON OUR PUBLIC LANDS
By Lynn Alexander, for Resource Renewal Institute

Introduction
This paper initiates Resource Renewal Institute‟s second “Council of Elders” project: Recovering $600 Billion by Collecting the Rent. The Council of Elders aims to improve today‟s resource and environmental management through the combined expertise of retired resource management professionals. The paper is organized into five sections: oil and gas, mining, grazing, water subsidies and the Public Trust.

Resource Renewal Institute (RRI) believes the Council of Elders can help bring antiquated land management laws into the 21st century. The Council will examine federal land management policies and identify how governmental support of resource extraction on public land affects the Nation‟s public land resources and U.S. economic well-being.

As a group of experienced former resource management professionals, the Council of Elders has a window of opportunity to contribute our knowledge towards the goal of reforming outdated public land use laws. The articles collected here show that the historic and current practice of subsidizing the development of public resources and land is not only unbalanced, but extremely damaging to our environment and economy – and requires scrutiny.

The Issue: $600 Billion Uncollected Income from Public Land and Resources

The current U.S. fiscal policy governing the lease of public lands for resource exploitation is unsustainable, immoral and a drain on taxpayers. RRI has compiled this reader to show examples of how U.S. economic policies regarding resource management are skewed and need reform. Included is information from a variety of independent sources to illustrate how U.S. energy subsidies benefit wealthy companies and private entities rather than assisting those who need it most.

Despite a record national deficit of $1.47 trillion, our Congress continues to hand out generous subsidies and tax breaks to a wide range of favored interests. We estimate that these federal resource subsidies could amount to approximately $600 billion in federal giveaways.

Note from Sharon.. I am an elder, albeit not yet retired. What’s not a “subsidy”? What would be the basics for federal lands, above which everything else is subsidizing people’s interests? I would submit lands and law enforcement as essential.. all else is subsidizing one interest or another. Other ideas?

The subsidized would then include grazing, campgrounds, hospital water pipelines, trails, microwave towers, fuel treatments, etc. But of course, if they are from Mill Valley, there are “subsidies” for earthquake rebuilding, highways, etc. Where do we start? Where does it end? And most important of all, who gets to judge whose subsidies are simply undesirable and which are “immoral?”

3 Comments

  1. I love that episode of Star Trek. Isn’t that the one where the “elders” were such pansies they would rather die than fight the klingons. Kirk practically spit on them and called them “sheep” for not fighting for their freedom?

  2. Derek- I didn’t mean anything deep by the picture from Star Trek. It was the first one I found on the web. I like the idea of wise elders, I would just like to know who they are if they are going to claim wise elder-hood.

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