Testimony of Robert J. Smith on On S. 2543, the National Heritage Partnership Act

Before the Subcommittee on Parks, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate

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Thank you Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee for the opportunity to present testimony to the National Parks Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

My name is R.J. Smith.  I am adjunct environmental scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. CEI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and advocacy institute dedicated to the principles of private property, free enterprise, and limited government.  I am also Director of the Center for Private Conservation, a nonprofit organization that documents and publicizes information on the history of private stewardship and conservation carried out by private landowners and private associations. And I am Director of Environmental Studies at former U.S. Sen. Malcolm Wallop’s Frontiers of Freedom Institute. I am also representing the concerns and interests of hundreds of property rights organizations, wise-use and multiple-use organizations, and small landowners who have been opposing such legislation for over a decade.

S. 2543, the National Heritage Partnership Act, represents an unfortunate shift to an even worse bill than previous such legislation.  It goes beyond the rather informal efforts to bring federal recognition to the existing Heritage Areas and Heritage Corridors created by individual policy bills, to the creation of an organic act for the establishment of a National Heritage Area Program within the Department of the Interior and specifically the National Park Service.  In effect, this bill will create an entirely new federal land management program.