Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Are endangered species endangering property rights?
Such stories have circulated through legislative meetings in recent days to support bills that sponsors hope will reduce endangered species’ alleged impact on land use, reflecting the long-simmering friction between Utah’s rural communities and federal wildlife management. "This is an absolute takings, no question," Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, told a House committee Friday. His HCR7, advanced by the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality Committee, asks the feds to not designate any private land in San Juan County as sage grouse habitat. Conservationists argue the federal Endangered Species Act is flexible enough to balance property rights with species recovery when landowners and local officials work within the law’s framework. Utah lawmakers are also discussing Noel’s HB112, which would require county assessors to take into account the presence of federally protected plants and animals when evaluating a land’s taxable value. Noel says property owners are entitled to some relief when endangered or threatened animals such as the Utah prairie dog rears its head in an alfalfa field, proposed subdivision or golf course. "It’s your worst nightmare to have one of these show up on your property," Noel told colleagues in a recent committee hearing. Under HB112, which is awaiting action on the House floor, that relief could come in the form of a reduced evaluation, thus lowering the tax burden...more