House GOP Probes Biden Administration’s Opening of Public Lands to Potential Foreign Ownership

Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee have launched an investigation of the Biden Administration’s proposal to open public lands to private ownership, which includes the possibility of foreigners buying such land.

According to Fox News, the effort is being led by Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), who informed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the investigation’s launch. The proposed rule change from the SEC would allow for a new type of public company, referred to as Natural Asset Companies (NACs), to trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

The purpose of NACs, developed by the Intrinsic Exchange Group in conjunction with the NYSE, is to allegedly “protect, restore and grow the natural assets under their management to foster healthy ecosystems.”

“The Committee is deeply concerned with the potential impact NACs may have on the management of federal lands, effective conservation of wildlife habitat, and responsible development of natural resources,” the Republican members declared in a letter to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler and Haoxiang Zhu, director of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets.

“Most notably, the proposed rule would allow private investment interests to control and manage national parks and other publicly owned lands — an unprecedented power-grab and usurpation of federal authority,” the letter added. “This possibility is alarming, but, when coupled with the proposal’s arbitrary designations and ill-defined terms, it may prove calamitous to the statutory multiple-use mandates of federal lands and responsible development of America’s natural resources.”

Currently, under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, Congress ordered the Department of the Interior (DOI) to open its public lands for a variety of uses, which may include energy development, mining, recreation, and grazing for animals. But far-left environmental groups have since demanded that such land be opened up for conservation, which has led to the creation of NACs.

However, if such lands can now be purchased more freely due to the publicly-traded companies as a result of NACs, the risk of foreign countries or entities buying up such land in the United States is greatly increased.

“Allowing foreign interests to fund companies that will control public land and explicitly prohibit domestic mineral production is a surefire way to increase our nation’s critical mineral dependance while weakening America’s economic competitiveness, our national security and that of our allies,” the Republicans noted in their letter. “This is unacceptable.”

The House Republicans’ efforts come amidst a broader wave of state lawmakers and governors passing measures to restrict the ability of foreign citizens, companies, and other entities from purchasing American land. It has been documented that multiple foreign entities, especially Chinese ones, have been attempting to buy up farmland and other real estate located in close proximity to American military bases, most likely for espionage and surveillance purposes.

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

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