Conservation or Control?
Since our initial founding, both the United States and the State have Florida have prospered on a recognition, and consistent defense of, the concept of private property rights. It was no theoretical warning given by founding father, Arthur Lee of Virginia when he said,
“The right of property is the guardian or every other right; and to deprive a people of this, is to deprive them of their liberty.”
The ideas of self-determination, individualism, and self-reliance fostered and demanded by this principle have shaped both our settlement and prosperity. From such beginnings until today, these values remain an integral part of our culture and way of life.
However, across the country, government continues to pursue policies that erode this fundamental right. Among the most serious of these encroachments is the aggressive and continued acquisition and regulatory control of land.
A Policy of Failure in the West
Government land acquisition is most noticeable in states west of the Mississippi River, where approximately 50 percent of all land is owned by the federal government. In states such as Utah, Idaho, Arkansas and, Nevada, federal ownership exceeds 70 percent.1 For decades, western states have seen firsthand how this disproportionate amount of federal land ownership deprives them and their citizens of economic opportunities. This challenge is only growing worse as environmental interests and centralized government work to lock up the land and its resources.