Front Porch Blog

Who Should Decide Land Use? U.S. Government Already Does

It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that the federal government has no business in land use regulation, that decisions about what should be built and where must be made at the local level, where people understand their landscapes and have a strong vested interest in doing the right thing.This view has lots of political support. Initiatives as diverse as reshaping the federal flood insurance program and enhancing the Endangered Species Act have foundered amid accusations that they would produce, in effect, unacceptable federal control over local land use decisions. This view is wrong, at least according to Bruce Babbitt and Roger G. Kennedy. In new books, they say the federal government has long played a powerful role in local land use decisions. But its influence has been disguised — as tax deductions for mortgages, as highway programs or as logging concessions. If development has scarred American landscapes and shredded ecosystems — and it has, Mr. Babbitt and Mr. Kennedy argue — much of the damage has been done with the connivance of the federal government.

News notes are courtesy of Southern Forests Network News Notes





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