Public-Private Partnerships –

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are complex, joint undertakings between Public (Federal Agencies) and private entities, such as international Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other Quasi-governmental (QGAs) entities.

PPPs confuse the authoritative role of Federal agencies, blur geopolitical boundaries of State and Local Governments and inject  powerful, corrupt, well-funded, multinational environmental groups into local, natural resource policymaking by creating a false legal standing and the mirage of legitimate, external interest.

The USDA Agriculture Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) provides grant programs to eligible parties – including NGOs – for the purchase of Conservation Easements (CEs).  Land Trusts, often the recipient of CEs through NGOs, are given substantial contractual enforcement rights against local landowners – rights that often result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs and draconian management burdens to ranchers and farmers. Particularly problematic examples of NGOs CE enforcement litigation are found in:

Many State-sponsored Conservation Plans such as the Lesser Prairie Chicken Rangewide Conservation Plan (RWCP) sponsored by Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (a QGA), infer an additional, 3rd-party layer of enforcement rights to NGOs, QGAs and other well-funded, extremist environmental groups. While well intentioned, such conservation “partnerships” create a murky nexus between federal and state agencies, NGOs and those industries coerced into “voluntary” mitigation funding.

Although Federal funds are often used in PPP programs, the long-term, insidious implications for the tax base, impacts to private-property, and reduction in land-management liberties are not well understood by local governments, property owners and citizenry alike. Cloaked impacts include affects to adjacent properties through endangered-species introductions, encroachments from arbitrary “viewshed” programs, limitations from imposed buffer zones, encumbered (or denied) access for subsurface mineral development, and a myriad of other lurking, unexamined impacts.

Time will demonstrate the big losers in PPP transactions to be private landholders who enroll lands in mitigation, ranchers and farmers who experience ever-constricting controls on their decision-making, and local governments experiencing reduction in land values, implications for the tax base, and declines in land productivity resulting from the transition of working lands to non-productive, conservation pursuits.

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