Editorial: Time to Counter Land Trust Abuse Against Farmers

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BookCoverImageBy Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh

Tired of land trust agents frequently abusing the public trust and the rights of property owners, Tom DeWeese, President of the American Policy Center, Martha Boneta, owner of Liberty Farm in Paris, Va., and other major property rights advocates are organizing a property rights rally, conference and an early morning hearing before the Virginia Outdoors Federation on Nov. 6, 2014 in Richmond, Va., at the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

“It’s time to counter the powerful Green voices that are dictating policy and harassing property owners,” said Tom DeWeese in an open letter to the American public.

Farmers are demanding land trust reform to stop abusive practices of land trust agents who often disregard the rights of property owners and use local officials to intimidate and harass farmers with onerous fines and audits. A glaring example is the video showing a Piedmont Environmental Council agent who, in a German Stasi police manner, demands to inspect Martha Boneta’s closets

According to DeWeese, “The Piedmont Environmental Council, an elitist cabal masquerading as a conservation group, has repeatedly overstepped its authority under the Virginia Conservation Easement Act.”

The fact that PEC was successful in bullying for eight years Fauquier County farmer Martha Boneta in spite of the well-publicized and well-documented “transgressions” against her farm is an indication that other “control and power-hungry groups” could violate property rights of Virginians across the commonwealth and of Americans across the country.

Allowing the public trust to be violated in one area is setting a bad precedent for other well-funded groups like PEC to impose their control and will through underhanded venues on farmers, landowners and businesses in general as has been the case around the country.

Preserving private property and the rule of law in our nation is essential to safeguarding liberty.  If the rule of law is no longer respected, the Founding Fathers’ America is in jeopardy. “The first act of a tyrant is to take away your property rights,” DeWeese said.

Virginians and the American Policy Center are calling for:

–          The Virginia General Assembly to enact Land Trust Reforms “to end welfare to the rich in the form of sale of tax credits”

–          The Virginia General Assembly to create Land Trust “fair business practices, consumer protections, and sanctions when Land Trust abuse occurs”

–         The Virginia General Assembly to develop a “framework” to safeguard the public interest against Land Trust agents who engage in malicious and counterproductive business practices

–         Legislation enactment by the Virginia General Assembly to curb and “reign” in abuses of the PEC and other analogous land trusts

I dedicated a chapter to Boneta’s story in my book, “U.N. Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy.”

The glaring, behind closed doors collusion is evident in Boneta’s ordeal, which has stretched for eight years. The Daily Signal ran her story recently.

It is vitally important to protect our property rights in a Constitutional Republic. Unfortunately, the left brainwashed our society into believing that we live in a democracy where the will of the leftist majority is forcing the rest to comply. But we live more and more in a corporatist atmosphere where the international bankers have stripped individuals of their rights bit by bit with the help of “green” legislators and environmentalist NGOs.

As John Adams so eloquently said in “A Defense of the American Constitutions” in 1787, “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”

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