NCA Bills Are Back
Two federal bills to designate the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area have been reintroduced into Congress. Senator Barbara Boxer and Congressman Mike Thompson have reintroduced bills (S.483 and H.R. 1025) to designate 350,000 acres of land in Lake, Napa, Yolo, Mendocino and Solano counties as a National Conservation Area.
Family Water Alliance has opposed this designation since 2007 and our opposition remains. One of the key concerns with the NCA bills is that the money will be used for land acquisition. Land acquisition takes productive land off the tax rolls and only hurts the local rural economies that this designation is aimed to help.
Property taxes paid by the federal government is subject to an annual appropriation by Congress, which leaves rural counties across the west guessing each year if the largest landowner is going to pay what is owed to fund schools, police, and fire.
Many tout this designation as a means to economic growth, but this same region is already home to numerous state and federal land and water designations as well as Lake Berryessa and recreational access has only decreased in the past decade.
As a country and a state we can no long afford to pay be unnecessary land designations in a false attempt to protect land that is not a risk. Land within this NCA designation will be pointlessly limited to conservation only at a time when we should be looking to our public lands for multiple benefits. ■
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