From the July 2000 Idaho Observer:

Craig supports CARA

Congress to reinvest your money into federal control of public land

SANDPOINT -- The letter above is the first page of a two page letter from Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) to Oldtown resident Gary Tucker. Tucker was interested in Craig's position on the matter as he is justifiably concerned that the Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999 is just another mechanism for the federal government to wrest control of public lands under the guise of environmentalism.

According to Craig, CARA has three main objectives.

Aside from the usual rhetoric of protecting the environment for the sake of the children, Craig makes an admission that foreshadows the real engine behind this draconian land use control vehicle. “The bill sets up a formula to distribute Outer-Continental Shelf royalties to an off-budget fund to finance different programs,” Craig wrote.

Money. On the horizon (just off the coast) is a big pot of money for which a formula exists to give out money that will be used to finance government projects on public land. The bill will have private sector support from parties lobbying for the priviledge of pulling money out of the pot. The bill already enjoys overwhelming bipartisan support as members of Congress will be responsible for determining which special interest groups will be awarded monies from the public pot.

Craig also alluded to the royalties being off-budget -- a curious admission. “I do have a major problem setting up a multi-billion dollar off-budget trust fund to finance federal land acquisitions.”

To his credit Craig acknowledged that the federal government mismanages the land it has and “ought to manage its land better before it acquires more land.” He stated this fact and the fact the those of us out west are already struggling under the yoke of federal control of public land “would be reason enough to oppose this legislation.”

He should oppose CARA. There are no provisions in his job description to be a party to federal “land acquisitions.”

Craig does, however, justify this potential orgy of government spending and special interest pandering because, “It is important to establish parks and other recreation facilities in areas which do not enjoy the same wide open spaces we do in the West.”

“Do I have the right to take money from you and give it to somebody else?” asked Taxpayers United for Freedom Chairman Bill Denman.

The answer to that question is obviously “no.” Denman believes that people comprise the government and, therefore, government does not have the right to do something ordinary people haven't the right to do.

You can call the senator at: (202) 224-9377 to tell him what you think of CARA.

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