Biden Administration Under New Investigation

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – Members of the House Republican party, particularly those on the Natural Resources Committee, have raised concerns regarding a proposal by the Biden administration to allow public lands to be owned privately. This plan, they argue, could pose risks to both energy and national security.

The committee, led by Chairman Bruce Westerman of Arkansas, is particularly worried about a proposed change by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This change involves the introduction of Natural Asset Companies (NACs) on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). NACs are designed to oversee the protection and enhancement of natural assets, aiming to foster healthier ecosystems. The Intrinsic Exchange Group, in collaboration with the NYSE, developed this new corporate category.

The Republicans’ concerns center on how NACs might influence federal land management, conservation efforts, and natural resource development. They fear that NACs could lead to private interests gaining control over national parks and other public lands, which they see as an overreach of federal authority and a threat to the statutory multiple-use mandates of these lands.

Under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, various uses of federal lands, such as energy development, grazing, recreation, and mining, are mandated. Environmentalists, however, have been advocating for these lands to be used primarily for conservation, a goal the Bureau of Land Management is actively pursuing and which aligns with the SEC’s NAC proposal.

The NYSE argues that NACs can encapsulate the intrinsic and productive value of nature, including forests, wetlands, coral reefs, and agricultural lands.

However, the Republicans express apprehension that NACs might lead to decisions about federal lands being made by eco-activists rather than by Congress or scientific experts. They also worry about the potential offshoring of energy production and the possibility of foreign ownership of public lands.

Chairman Westerman and his colleagues are also concerned about foreign influences on American environmental and energy policies, particularly the involvement of foreign investments in public lands, which they believe could undermine U.S. economic competitiveness and national security.

In response, the SEC has stated that its chair, Gary Gensler, will directly address the concerns of the Natural Resources Committee Republicans. This comes after the SEC agreed to delay its decision-making on this matter, allowing more time for stakeholder input, following requests from Republican state financial officers and attorneys general.

The attorneys general, including Utah’s Sean Reyes and Kansas’ Kris Kobach, have called for the SEC to withdraw its NAC proposal, citing legal violations and potential negative impacts on public land use. Utah State Treasurer Marlo Oaks highlighted the national security risks of NACs, pointing to the possibility of foreign adversaries controlling vital resources.

Additionally, Will Hild from Consumers’ Research emphasized the potential dangers of NACs to various American industries and public land usage, highlighting concerns about corporate and foreign control over public lands.

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