Our country’s focus on requiring sustainability principles in all land use, energy, and transportation policies is putting a choke hold on the American people that has them suffocating and pounding the mat for relief as they wrestle with the consequences of increasing regulatory pressures. The most recent, egregious example of this was the case of the Sacketts from Idaho, who were beat-down by $75,000 a day fines by the EPA for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act.
In areas of California where land owners are in the path of a biodiversity connectivity corridor for example, (read Wildlife Connectivity Schemes Spur More Land Acquisitions by the State of California) land owners are being asked to sell all or portions of their land. In other cases, if private property has a creek, any endangered species, protected plants, non-indigenous trees or is next to a land preserve, or the coast, etc., the owner can be mandated to submit to state and federal regulations by various agencies such as Fish and Game, Bureau of Land Management, California Coastal Commission or EPA under CEQA and ESA mandates and rules.
The landowner can agree to sell the part of the land in dispute to the federal, state government or a NGO trust and set it up as a conservation easement. This land is typically purchased for less than that of an outright purchase and the landowner loses all development rights; often in perpetuity. If the conservation easement allows the landowner to use the land, he must continuously submit to new regulations making it increasingly difficult to live off of the land. If the landowner cannot continue to use the land, he loses all financial benefit that part of the land might have yielded in the future.
The Wildlife Conservation Board has various programs that are supported by its general policy. The WCB is “authorized by statute to acquire, and make grants for the acquisition of interests in real property to preserve and protect fish and wildlife and provide suitable recreation throughout the State.”
Some of these programs include: Rangeland, Grazing Land and Grassland Protection Program, Forest Conservation Program, Land Acquisition Program, Public Access Program, Habitat Enhancement and Restoration Program, and California Riparian Habitat Conservation Program.
The activities of the WCB are generally supported by other agencies which include but are not limited to: Department of Conservation, Department of Boating and Waterways, Department of Parks and Recreation, Department of Water Resources, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, State Coastal Conservancy, California Conservation Corps, California Coastal Commission, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and State Lands Commission.