On October 15th, 2010, advisors for the Council of Elders met in Chiloquin, Oregon to discuss RRI’s second project on federal subsidies. The retired federal agency land managers and other experts discussed the current status of federal land management regulations. The group shared examples of how public trust resources are being squandered through current land use policy, with excessive tax benefits available to private individuals and organizations using public land for personal gain.
The problem identified was outdated federal land management regulations, inadequate fees for leasing of public lands, and corrupt and lax management and enforcement by agencies. The group estimated that under our current regulations for federal leases and subsidies, taxpayers have forfeited approximately $600 billion in uncollected revenues. The advisors believe that federal lands should only be leased at fair market values and no less. The health of our lands and public safety should also be considered. Our federal lands have a capacity to generate substantial revenues needed in this time of a $1.4 trillion federal deficit. As key policies to review and reform, we discussed a review of Department of Interior regulations governing oil and gas regulation, mining, grazing and water subsidies.
If you would like to know more, share your experience, or recommend an elder, please contact Huey Johnson.