Vote On CARA Expected this Week in House Resources Committee


DATE: July 24, 2001

BACKGROUND: HR 701, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA), is scheduled to be debated by the House Resources Committee July 25 and probably will be considered by the full House this summer. HR 701 is basically the same as last year's bill, which passed the House 315-102 but did not pass the Senate. CARA calls for almost $47 billion from Outer Continental Shelf oil revenues to be spent over 15 years for the federal government to purchase private land for parks and recreational uses.

TEN SECOND RESPONSE: Why should the federal government buy more land when it can't properly manage and maintain the land it currently owns?

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: A recent audit showed the Department of Interior alone has a backlog of maintenance of up to 13 billion dollars. Last year over 8 million acres of forests burned in National Forests partly because of poor forest management. It seems it would be better to let states and private individuals who are closer to the lands manage them.

DISCUSSION: CARA calls for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund ($900 million per year) -- half of which would be given to the states for wildlife conservation, coastal protection or to purchase land for parks. While many are in favor of the funding, private property rights activists worry that the bill would allow government to condemn private property and force owners to become "willing sellers." Even some environmental groups, such as the Alabama Sierra Club, fear that the size of CARA funding will cause other conservation programs to go unfunded.

ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION: For examples of federal land mismangement, go to National Policy Analysis #340: "Devolution to the States is Working for Welfare; It Can Work for Public Lands," by Gretchen Randall, at

For an analysis of CARA, go to National Policy Analysis #240, "Bill Would Fund Parks, Hockey Rinks to Rescue Oceans," by David Ridenour, at


by Gretchen Randall, Director of Energy & Regulatory Affairs, The National Center for Public Policy Research

Contact the author at: 773-857-5086 or
The National Center for Public Policy Research, Chicago office
3712 North Broadway - PMB 279
Chicago, IL 60613