|CARA is the second major effort in recent
years to take off-budget and place into land
acquition trust funds the royalties generated
from Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil
production. These trust funds would give
federal and state land agencies automatic
funding while avoiding traditional
congressional review. It appears to be heading
for the same fate as another similar attempt,
the American Heritage Trust Act (AHTA),
proposed in 1989.
AHTA had tremendous support from the
government agencies that stood to gain
guaranteed millions of dollars annually from
the bill. Also anxious to feed at the trough were
the “non-profit” land trusts, which could turn
millions in profits each year by selling property
at inflated prices to state and federal entities
flush with land acquisition cash.
However, the bill was stopped by a
combination of institutional objections from
congressional appropriators and a growing
private property rights movement. It was
during the 1989 AHTA battle that we realized a
private property based scorecard was
necessary, and in 1990 LPPV was created.
As of February 2000, there have been no
votes yet on the floor of either house of Congress
on CARA. On the House side, it has been
approved by one committee but faces scrutiny
by another. In the Senate, it has remained
bottled up so far, and has not yet moved out of
its original reference committee.
This legislation is so vast and so threatening
that we decided to break with the usual
procedure of requiring a floor vote before
“scoring” a bill.