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Seizing Private Land Is Next Step in Fight Against Climate Change

Posted on Friday, December 15, 2023
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by Outside Contributor
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Power plant using renewable solar energy with sun

The dream of net-zero carbon emissions—and its vision of blanketing hundreds of millions of acres of American land with wind turbines and solar panels—is running up against the reality that most of the land in America is still privately owned and many Americans don’t want these massive industrial installations near their homes.

But that may prove to be a temporary impediment.

“There is a major effort under the Biden administration to consolidate power over land and resources, because whoever owns the land and resources of a nation, controls the people,” Margaret Byfield, executive director of American Stewards of Liberty, a property rights nonprofit, told The Epoch Times.

As a former Nevada rancher, she became embroiled in a decade-long fight with federal agencies over control of her land, which she ultimately lost.

Today, she sees another land grab coming in the form of the Green New Deal and the renewable energy industry.

Analysts speculate that in order to meet net-zero goals and build out a renewable energy infrastructure, enormous swaths of land will have to be converted for industrial use.

Bigger Than Texas

“With current siting practices, an area the size of Texas is required to accommodate the wind and solar infrastructure we need to reach nationwide net-zero emissions by 2050,” said Katharine Hayhoe, chief scientist of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a renewable energy advocate.
 
Reaching the goal of net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050 would require consuming more than 250,000 square miles, or 160 million acres, of land, according to TNC’s May report.

However, the authors are optimistic that land consumption could be reduced to an area the size of Arizona if the renewable industry follows TNC’s “impact reduction” procedures.

These grand schemes are being held up by the fact that 70 percent, or 1.3 billion acres, of the land in the contiguous 48 states is currently privately owned, and its owners often refuse to allow solar panels, wind turbines, power lines, and carbon pipelines to be installed.
 
According to the Renewable Rejection Database, compiled by journalist and author Robert Bryce, more than 600 communities across the United States have so far blocked or banned large solar and wind projects and other renewable energy ventures that they believe will damage local environments.
“It’s about property values, it’s about maintaining the character of their neighborhoods in their towns, in their counties,” Mr. Bryce told The Epoch Times. “And this is something that has been happening from Maine to Hawaii.”

Eminent Domain

For the net-zero industry, however, centralizing land rights may solve this problem.
A 2020 report by Vanderbilt Law School faculty J.B. Ruhl and James Salzman states that “the multi-faceted infrastructure goals of the Green New Deal will be impossible to achieve in the desired timeframes if the existing federal, state, and local siting and environmental protection statutory regimes are applied.”

“Business, labor, property rights, environmental protection, and social justice interests will use them to grind the Green New Deal to a snail’s pace,” the report reads.

“This Essay is a call to arms for the need to design New Green Laws for the Green New Deal.”

The authors advocate for “more streamlined, top-down, preemptive processes, as well as extensive use of eminent domain powers” to speed the development of wind and solar projects.

In line with this view, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., America’s largest bank, said in an April letter to shareholders that governments, corporations, and nongovernmental organizations must unite behind a “massive global investment in clean energy technologies.”

“We may even need to evoke eminent domain,” he wrote.

This belief is resonating with government officials, both at the federal level and also within left-leaning states.

In November, the Democrat-controlled Michigan Legislature passed a law that aims to take the control of land use from local communities and give it to state officials for renewable energy projects.

According to Michigan’s new law, permits for solar farms with a capacity of 50 megawatts or more; wind facilities with 100 megawatts or more; and energy storage facilities with a capacity of 50 megawatts or more and a discharge capacity of 200 megawatts or more will now be under the control of the Michigan Public Service Commission.
 

This will remove the impediment of local resistance to large-scale renewable energy projects.

According to a statement from Michigan state Sen. John Damoose, a Republican who opposed the law, those who pushed it “knew communities wouldn’t want to be packed full of wind farms and solar panels, so they had to introduce more bills that give the state the power to overrule local communities.”

More Eminent Domain

In addition to government authority, private companies are also seeking the power to take land in the name of net zero.
 

A test case is currently playing out in western states over carbon-capture pipeline projects, in which private companies are attempting to take people’s land by eminent domain, insiders say.

Two companies, Summit Carbon Solutions and Navigator CO2 Ventures, have been attempting to construct carbon sequester pipelines through five western states.

Navigator’s carbon capture project, called Heartland Greenway, would capture 15 million tons of CO2 emissions per year from ethanol plants and pipe it off to where it could be buried thousands of feet underground.

Summit’s proposed project is larger, projected to capture 18 million tons of CO2. It would connect to more than 30 ethanol plants in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, and North Dakota, where the CO2 would ultimately be sequestered.

These companies would have received federal subsidies of $50 per sequestered ton of CO2 under the Trump administration.

Under President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, these subsidies were increased to $85 per ton, in addition to what pipeline owners would receive from the ethanol producers.

“It’s a big boondoggle, and there is a ton of money to be made,” South Dakota state Rep. Karla Lems told The Epoch Times.

“But the real kicker is that they have to do this pipeline through private property.”

The way it has been achieved is by companies declaring themselves “common carriers,” which historically has been a designation for railroads, water companies, and natural gas pipelines.

This designation allows private companies to take privately owned land by eminent domain.

According to Ms. Lems, more than 150 landowners in South Dakota were served papers by Summit condemning portions of their land, thus allowing the company access to it.

“My biggest concern is that we are setting a precedent,” she said. “This is eminent domain for private gain.

“They’re coming in and they’re saying: ‘We need an easement through your property, and you will give it to us, one way or another, because we are a common carrier and we have the right to eminent domain.’”

The companies did try to negotiate with landowners, Ms. Lems said, “but basically, they have that big stick of eminent domain in their back pocket, and they’re not afraid to use it.”

If the pipeline succeeds, “solar and wind are right behind them.”

Navigator, which is 84 percent owned by asset manager behemoth BlackRock, has put its project on hold because of local resistance and reportedly hasn’t made attempts to take land by eminent domain.

But Summit is continuing to push forward with its pipeline plan.

In a letter to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, 22 state representatives said that “the ‘Green New Deal’ that has been thrust upon South Dakota because of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals does not fit with our Bill of Rights.”

“The false narrative that says ESG [environmental, social, and governance] scores tied to the ‘net-zero’ carbon score will repair the damage caused by capitalism goes against the very nature of our founders,” the state legislators wrote.

“Companies that stand to benefit from these projects do so at the expense of the property rights of individuals.”

Many lawmakers in state governments support the project, and ethanol producers say they need the carbon credits that the pipeline will give them in order to continue to operate profitably.

But critics of the project question why local industry and landscapes must be reconfigured to meet the global warming goals of the Biden administration and others.

“It’s crazy the amount of political pressure to get this done,” Ms. Lems said.

“Why do we have to go along with the World Economic Forum rules? Let’s form a coalition that says we’re not going to follow those rules; they make no sense.”

Critics of the net-zero agenda point out that all the money being spent and the land being acquired in the name of net zero can’t succeed in reducing global temperatures.

Property Rights and Political Freedom

In addition to the land acquisition for net zero, the Biden administration announced its 30×30 program in a January 2021 executive order. The order states that 30 percent of America’s land and water should be set aside for “conservation” by 2030.

While supporters of this plan have characterized it as “voluntary” and “grassroots,” opponents have deemed it a federal land grab and are concerned that it’ll include new government mandates over private property.

According to Ms. Byfield, America’s founders wanted private ownership of land and property because property rights and political rights go hand in hand.

The East Coast is largely privately owned, but land in the west, which was developed under a different set of beliefs, is about 50 percent federalized,” she said.

“Our founders wanted a separation of power, which meant the people, the citizens, the small landowners, the middle class, would own our natural resources.

“And we’re now moving to the consolidation of power, and the people have the least amount of power.”

Kevin Stocklin is a business reporter, film producer and former Wall Street banker. He wrote and produced “We All Fall Down: The American Mortgage Crisis,” a 2008 documentary on the collapse of the mortgage finance system. His most recent documentary is “The Shadow State,” an investigation of the ESG industry.

Reprinted with Permission from The Epoch Times – By Kevin Stocklin

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anna hubert
anna hubert
6 months ago

How is the fight against climate change going in China Africa or India We never hear anything Somehow we are supposed to be Atlas bearing the burden of the world Is China doing its share I wonder And should China supplant America does anyone think they give two figs about the environment? Party would be over

Jackie
Jackie
5 months ago

The Democrat Party and the environmentalists are so worried about the climate and the planet – HA – they don’t give a crap!! This whole environment issue is ridiculous!! These afore mentions people have invested in companies that will profit from the mandates the federal government put out!!! They are only in it for the money!!!
As for the planet, we have done mountains of work to clean up our environmental crap in this country but with China, India and Russia not working on it at all, well, regardless of how much we do in this country to fix the environment, it doesn’t seem to do much good if the rest of the world is still with their ‘make money, to hell with the environment’ attitude!!! And while they are making money and being productive, we are having our land taken away (or purchased by foreign countries), our freedoms taken away, our liberties taken away by some arrogant, power hungry, money hungry people who may not even know what they are talking about!!!

Sallo
Sallo
6 months ago

This just brings up a whole scenario/domino effect–because who needs land? Who needs food? I assume the population who can’t be fed will succumb to “eminent domain” as well, somehow..

Goblyn
Goblyn
5 months ago

There are ways to stop the”eminent domain “ crap. We the people have our rights under the United States Constitution. That is another reason for the 2nd and 4th amendments. The people can and will fight the government to protect what is theirs.

David Millikan
David Millikan
5 months ago

Why the darkening of certain paragraphs? Why trying to hide the Truth? Why CENSORSHIP so people can’t read the whole article? Just more Fascism by Dictator Beijing biden and Big Tech (ATT).
The COWARDS don’t want you to know the TRUTH that they are corrupt Communist Thieves that STEAL every thing American from Americans from our Rights to our land.
Big Tech are COWARDS just like Dictator Beijing biden and his Communist democrats.
Only the uninformed will have their land stolen from them for the Global Warming lie. It’s also another way to kill our farmland and make sure we have NO FOOD for a political lie.
Dictator Beijing biden copying Europes Fascist policies by stealing land from farmers by eliminating food production.
The STEALING of Farmland for the FANTASY WORLD Global Warming lie doesn’t grow FOOD. Another ploy for population control.

Gary
Gary
5 months ago

Power and control… are now ‘green’.

David Millikan
David Millikan
5 months ago

Don’t forget that when Clinton was in office that H. clinton wanted to charge Americans for the air they breathe and how much sunshine you used from the Sun. NO BS. It’s all documented from TV news, Newspapers, Radio and Talk Shows. They pushed that Communist garbage in Bill’s second term.
Do see how their scams and lies work now? Can’t miss it.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
5 months ago

They’ve been going back & forth on a “CO2 soil injector pipeline” in Iowa which would criss-cross the whole state using eminent domain to take away lands, many of which have been passed on through generations (makes you wonder what an Iowa governor endorsement is worth). And the left don’t mind a little strip-mining if its for lithium like the Thacker Mine in Nevada.

Sandra
Sandra
5 months ago

Government leaders have been installed worldwide and not by the people through honest elections. The arrogant leaders through globalist organizations has decided to rule over the people instead of serving the people. We are quickly becoming a communist one world order ruled by the rich. If we don’t take our countries back to sovereign nations ruled by the people we will be destroyed. Every time a politician breathes it is to take a freedom or right away from the majority.

BillBoy Baggins
BillBoy Baggins
5 months ago

I fear a third world war is brewing, one that will include an American civil war, the likes of which will dwarf the first one.

James
James
5 months ago

If you can’t beat them join them. These companies stand to make millions of the dollar. Make them pay for the use of private property, and not just some chump change. Land owners should be made partners. They should get full value for land use, carbon credit money, and residual flow rate income, or part of a significant percentage from solar and wind power. I’d be willing to bet that would be a game changer for these eminent land grabbers.

Jeri
Jeri
5 months ago

Dimwits really are looking for a fight, aren’t they?

David Millikan
David Millikan
5 months ago

Did Dictator Beijing biden tax that volcano in Iceland that recently erupted causing Global Warming? All that carbon dioxide being released. By the way, carbon dioxide causes plants to grow that produces Oxygen for us to breathe. Scientific fact.
So much for the lie that humans cause Global Warming.

Randy
Randy
5 months ago

Please consider the Free Soil Coalition. Named after the “Free Soil Party” of American history, may we rally to this group or others. Rep Steve King (IA) spoke with Frank Gaffney of the fight against the well-monied carbon capture pipelines. We, the people as citizens must stand for truth. How odd the truth is plain: God holds this world in balance. With the same Tower-of-Babel attitude activists are really saying, “We are the same as God, and with our tech will soon replace any such need… in fact we are so capable, even dangerously so, that we will soon destroy ourselves by burning fossil fuels.” Think of all they can do spouting such lies — enslave us to their regulations while they live Free (e.g. covid maskless parties), and confiscate property for the greater “public purpose” of fighting climate change.

Sandra
Sandra
5 months ago

It would appear that Joe Biden is still on the take. He doesn’t do nothing for nothing. Tell the crook to keep his and big business hands off of private property. Tell the WEF to go to h&//. No one needs a bunch of unelected globalist elites destroying our lives for the lie of environmental protection. When they give up their mansions, jets and yachts they can tell us how to live and take our property. The filthy rich are arrogant and corrupt.

David Millikan
David Millikan
5 months ago

Dictator Beijing biden working hard on his Global Warming lie by FORCING Europe’s Disastrous Green Energy Blueprint on the United States. Europe learned that they didn’t have any Energy from Green Energy and went back to Building COAL Plants to PRODUCE ENERGY. They found out they didn’t have any Heat for winter and NO A/C for summer not to mention NO FOOD production. Congress must DEFUND ALL of the Global Warming GARBAGE in the INFLATION INCREASE (decrease) ACT and use that money for BORDER SECURITY.

Harry
Harry
5 months ago

Good reason for a Civil War!

Will
Will
5 months ago

Why is it every time a democrackhead comes into office they jack the country up even worse, they seem to think that things could be better but their common sense on doin the right thing is utterly backwards and has no meaning to it what so ever . In other words they try to fix things that aren’t broke and jack it up even worse in the process ripping off the little guy to line their own pockets . They borrowed 8 trillion dollars for climate change crap and 3 trillion of that money they can’t even account for what they did with it. And then they blame the American people for their foolish spending telling us were at fault . I can not wait to get this fool and his administration out of office once and for all we have a dictator in office who is also a traitor and their names are a Obama and Biden. We shouldn’t have to wait to vote them out of office they should have been taken out a long time ago for their unlawful acts. Trump 2024

CB
CB
5 months ago

Take all that land that Bill gates is buying up and put your useless wind farms and solar fields on. As for me, i will continue to tell every illiterate little Snot nosed Democrat that comes to my door the same thing. When that
a-hole in the white house pays for my $30,000 generator that goes
Along with my free solar
Panels be happy to go
Solar. Until then guess bozo biden will have to put
up with me driving my Prius. My only other question is, how has this crook survived this long?

jimm
jimm
5 months ago

Biden will be gone next year.

Mike
Mike
5 months ago

I don’t know where they get these idiots (Sicentists or not) to say and scare people like thi sarticle. It’s complete BS!

Homer Bedloe
Homer Bedloe
5 months ago

The woman heading this up is named Katharine Hayhoe? Really? Was Pat McGroin busy somewhere else?

John
John
5 months ago

Climate Realism, a site on ‘Rumble’ has some very good studies available. Can only fight these government thugs with good information.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
5 months ago

NO

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