Among other things, the Saint Simons Land Trust has sent out the following message:

On March 27, the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance announced that it was investigating the “potential abuse of syndicated conservation easements.” In such transactions, a syndicate will obtain inflated appraisals of land, resulting in inflated charitable deductions. The participants are essentially profiting “from gaming the tax code,” according to the Senate Committee’s press release, and depriving the federal government of billions in revenue.

This kind of abuse is in direct opposition to the work of the St. Simons Land Trust. “We purchase property in arms-length transactions,” says Executive Director David Pope. “We obtain appraisals from qualified local appraisers, whose business depends on their honesty and good reputation. We operate on gifts from donors, not on fees generated by tax shelters.”

The national Land Trust Alliance, of which the SSLT is an accredited member, endorses the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act that “preserves the good reputation of our nation’s land appraisers and conservationists. It stops bad actors from profiting. It safeguards taxpayers. And it provides Congress a concise and sensible solution that’s ready for passage,” according to the Alliance’s President and CEO, Andrew Bowman.

“We welcome the investigation by the Senate Finance Committee,” says Pope, “and hope for the passage of legislation that will firmly deal with those who abuse the system.”

REALLY? That is not what the easements for the Reserve on Sea Island, the Old Stables Corner and Cannon’s Point are about? If not, then why have the plats for Cannon’s Point and the Old Stables Corner not been vacated and the land zoned for conservation? Why does the easement for the Old Stables Corner specify that if the St. Simons Land Trust decides to sell, the Owner of the adjacent commercial property will have first refusal? Why has the SSLT agreed to clear out the natural vegetation under the oaks so the commercial establishments will not be obscured? Why have they not objected to the clear cutting of the little remaining swamp along the north side of Sea Island Road.

In my book, manicuring and monetizing the environment for the exclusive use of resort guests and horseback riders is not conservation. I call that pimping Mother Nature.

Kisor vs. Wilkie

This is the case before the SCOTUS which promises to rein in the administrative state—i.e. rule by hired “professionals” who tell citizens what to do. For some reason, people who call themselves conservatives have decided the administrative surge has been engineered by people they consider liberal. That the administrative cadre has been aiming for agency autonomy ever since the technocrats were touted as America’s saviors has escaped the perception of people who were content to be represented by non-governmental corporations (eleemosynary, commercial, industrial, educational). That the authoritarians had captured all those entities to the detriment of natural persons escaped their notice as long as only select natural persons were disempowered.

A Perfect Picture

Dear James Holland,

Thank you for catching this beautifully composed picture mixing the old and the new—and the shape of things to come. You have a little bit of everything in this image: the old style family farm compound on the right, the corner of the airport property in the upper right hand corner, the wooded area along the historic canal that the Future Land Use Map identifies as industrial, parts of two suburban developments at the top and bottom, and the muddy clearing in the middle that looks like some kind of wound or disease creeping toward the old family compound—and Hannah’s Dead End Oak Hammock Retreat in the lower center.


Environmental Conservation is a Scam

I have been aware since the nineteen eighties that I have little in common with environmentalists, mainly because of their essentially exclusive interest. That is, environmentalists are essentially the heirs of segregationists. They focus on the characteristics of the environment, rather than the characteristics of people, to restrict public access and interaction.
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