Thursday, December 09, 2010
BS Alert by Brett Narloch
Issue: Property Rights
The federal government has proposed another land designation in North Dakota, encompassing much more land area than the Northern Plains National Heritage Area. We've already detailed the harmful effects that it will have on landowners in North Dakota, now landowners will have to deal with more federal programs. And don't think this program will come and go. It will last for 2 to 3 decades.
The Dakota Grassland Conservation Area has been designated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as part of its goal to conserve 12 million acres of privately held land in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana. Essentially what US Fish and Wildlife wants to do is purchase conservation easements from private landowners and then allow them to continue using the land for grazing. Development will be strictly limited.
Here's the kicker... the federal government is going to use $588 million to buy the easements!
At a time when the national debt has become the focus on many political leaders across the country, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to spend more than half of a billion dollars to allegedly save some ducks.
Let's do some simple math. There are approximately 8 million ducks in the so-called prairie pothole region each year. If we divide $588 million by 25 years, that equals roughly $23.5 million per year. Divide $23.5 million by 8 million ducks and we see that the cost of this program to US taxpayers will be roughly $3 per duck per year.
At this point, I'm not sure what's worse, the distortions this will cause to the land market, the sheer waste of taxpayer dollars at a time of historic debt levels, or the implications this will have on property rights.
Below this article, you'll see just how big of an area we're talking about.
This is yet another federal program that landowners are going to have to babysit for the next few decades. That's BS.