George Bush is now the last remaining hurdle to the establishment of de facto federal zoning along a 175-mile corridor running from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s one of the largest federal land grabs in history.
On April 29, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a massive, pork-laden bill that included a provision creating the Journey Through Hallowed Ground (JTHG) National Heritage Area. Debate was limited to just 40 minutes.
Heritage areas are National Park Service preservation zones in which environmentalists, federal officials and local elitists influence local land-use decisions, frequently in ways that restrict property rights and move property ownership beyond the means of the less well-to-do.
Environmentalists and preservationists love heritage areas, because they can be used to curtail development.
Local elitists like them because they can help keep people they consider to be undesirable out of their communities. Minorities are harmed disproportionately when land-use restrictions cause home prices to soar. (It is perhaps no coincidence that lily-white Waterford, Virginia was at the epicenter of the effort to create the JTHG Heritage Area. Waterford has a rich black history -- and history is apparently where the village would like to keep it.)
Politically well-connected developers like heritage areas because they can be used to establish near monopolies on real estate development opportunities. As the Heritage Foundation’s Ron Utt discovered, that’s precisely what the JTHG Heritage Area would do.
And federal bureaucrats love heritage areas because they allow them to get around little inconveniences to their central planning -- inconveniences such as local elected officials.
House passage of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Heritage Area was hailed by its chief sponsor, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), and by the Journey Through Hallowed Ground foundation, the chief lobby organization behind the effort. Both noted the overwhelming vote in the House, 291-117.
The bill received support across party lines. In the House, supporters included Representatives Alan Mollohan (D-WV), Don Young (R-AK), William Jefferson (D-LA), Rick Renzi (R-AZ), and John Doolittle (R-CA). (Now all these gentlemen can say they have a second thing in common.)
But it is unlikely that support for the land grab was as great as the tally might suggest, as it was buried in an omnibus bill of over 60 other proposals -- some enjoying wide support.
Fox News' Roger Ailes: Administration's Excuses Won't Work, Americans Died For Press Freedom | Katie Pavlich