5/00 H.R. 701: Conservation and Reinvestment Act

May 10, 2000

Dear Representative:

Today, the House will be asked to consider H.R. 701, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act.

On behalf of 200,000 gun owners nationwide, I would ask that you give serious consideration to the possibility that the bill will:

    * encourage the governmental condemnation of large amounts of private property — particularly property which is being used for firing ranges and other “politically incorrect” purposes;
    * provide extensive government funding for the political Left and its agenda; and
    * ultimately reduce the amount of land available for hunting and sporting purposes by creating large new public tracts eligible for wilderness designation.

H.R. 701 expends $45 billion over fifteen years on a trust fund which will be applied to pork projects, government land acquisition, and other purposes. This will be money which cannot be used for tax cuts, debt reduction, or other salutary purposes — but which will be used to seize property currently in private hands. (The “just compensation” provision in section 11 will be cold comfort to a lifelong resident who loses his home or business. Neither does the fact that an acquisition must be part of a large congressionally approved list provide landholders with any significant protection.)

Western states which have suffered under government ownership of 80 to 90% of their lands can readily appreciate the ramifications of this fact. Easterners who have seen the government seize their lands — and then charge them admission fees for access to the natural wonders in their towns and localities — can hardly be more sanguine about the impact of this bill.

While we understand that H.R. 701 enjoys broad congressional support, we would ask that you step back and give consideration, for one final time, as to whether the recent Clinton administration “land grabs” represent the sort of practice which you wish to be replicated on a large scale. Thank you.


Larry Pratt
Executive Director