Natural Resources

Fall 2011 Natural Resources Law Class at UB

Lands Held in Trust and the Current Economic Crisis September 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — bartlettrc @ 4:15 am

Is it time we cash in on our lands held in trust?  Throughout history the disposition or selling of land has been used to overcome financial burdens of our government and maybe, given the current state of our economy and the budget deficits, we should take up the policy of selling off public lands again.  A lot may be at stake, such as our ability to preserve these areas for future generations’ enjoyment, to conserve the lands and ensure optimal usage, and to ensure the existence of ecosystems critical to life on our planet, but there is also a lot to gain, such as eliminating the burden of ever-increasing debt on future generations, jump starting the economy (via new federal spending, new private development opportunities, and tax decreases), creating new jobs (which puts food on a lot of tables), and buying time for our politicians to figure out a reasonable, responsible, and sustainable approach to government without a catastrophic shutdown.

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5 Responses to “Lands Held in Trust and the Current Economic Crisis”

  1. adamhayes1 Says:

    While I understand the concept, and perhaps on a small scale the idea could be beneficial to the economy, I worry that this might be too short sighted. The economy is an incredibly important part of human society, and the livelihoods of ordinary citizens depend a great deal upon its health. However, the value of public lands that are left undisturbed, or used as parks, provide a long term benefit that is incredibly difficult to measure monetarily. True, by selling these lands we may be able to stimulate the economy slightly, but you can be sure that when future generations learn of the forests that were lost or the mountains that were carved into ski resorts and highways, they will be saddened by what was lost. Preserving the natural world and learning to adapt to the shifting global economic system that seems troubled for the moment, even it if means some suffering in the coming decades, is worth it; especially if it means that in 100 years, humans will be able to hike the same trails and climb the same mountains that generations have before them.

  2. Many people are taking the suggestion of selling off federal assets quite seriously. Check out this article in today’s NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/30/business/washington-considers-sale-of-spare-properties-to-raise-revenue.html?_r=1&hp

  3. bartlettrc Says:

    I think its a subject that needs examination. There is a challenging balance to strike, but I think its possible to administer a program that allows us to reap some of the benefits while still looking out for our long term interests in conservation and preservation. For example, the land uses could be restricted and management criteria could be enforced. If the option is pursued, the method and program needs to be carefully crafted. It will likely require some creative thinkers to strike a balance between privatization and resource protection.

  4. of course just from a business standpoint, this might not be the best time to get into the real estate market

  5. arthurjamesiii Says:

    The city of Ithaca has been approved to sell off property in order to raise revenue for the 2012 budget.

    http://www.theithacajournal.com/article/20111109/NEWS01/111090360/Ithaca-BPW-moves-sell-certain-city-owned-land?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE


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