Our public lands face the biggest threat We The People have ever seen
Intrinsic Exchange Group 88 FR 68811
It’s not often that public land user groups can find anything in common. How we envision public land management is fundamentally different and typically aligns with our interests in public lands. But at the end of the day, we can find common ground in keeping public lands public, even though motorized use advocates have sat on opposite sides of the aisle from most other user groups. Whether intentional or unintentional, our disconnect along these lines must be mended to save the very essence of public lands.
The Biden administration has proposed an array of new rules that will fundamentally transform our public lands and systematically root out the multiple-use mandate. These new rules coincide with each other, providing a pathway to monopolize the means of production on public lands through large corporate investors like Black Rock and Vanguard.
Months ago, the Bureau of Land Management proposed a new rule that would offer “Conservation Leases” prioritizing conservation and overshadowing the traditional multiple-use mandate established by the U.S. Congress. This administrative action would place conservation “on par” with the multiple-use mandate established in the Federal Land Policy Management Act, and allow opposing interests to acquire land use rights for conservation similar to timber, grazing, and mineral operations.
last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission published a new rule proposed by the New York Stock Exchange that will amend the NYSE Listed Company Manual to include Natural Asset Companies on the New York Stock Exchange. According to the new rule, “Natural Asset Companies are corporations that hold the rights to the ecological performance of a defined area and have the authority to manage the areas for conservation, restoration, or sustainable management.” They derive their value from natural assets including land, water, air, forest, minerals, and renewable energy.
The new SEC rule to consolidate the means of production on public lands
The rule was proposed through the New York Stock Exchange by the Intrinsic Exchange Group (IEG), a group started by the Rockefeller Foundation and international environmental organizations. The IEG has pioneered the Natural Asset Company investment model and provides the guiding principle for Natural Asset Companies that will now become federal policy.
Under the proposed rule, Natural Asset Companies with a license agreement with the asset owner (government or private entities) will obtain ecological performance rights to the natural assets or ecosystem services in a designated area. Ecosystem services are the benefits that humans derive from ecosystems.
These aspects of Nature are essential to life on Earth and are often categorized into four main types:
- Provisioning Services: Direct products from ecosystems, such as food, water, timber, and other raw materials.
- Regulating Services: Benefits obtained from regulating ecosystem processes, including climate regulation, pollination, water purification, and disease control.
- Supporting Services: Services necessary for the production of all other ecosystem services, such as nutrient cycling, soil formation, and habitat maintenance.
- Cultural Services: Non-material benefits people obtain from ecosystems include recreational, spiritual, and aesthetic values.
Although not specified in the new rule, Natural Asset Companies use various mechanisms to convert Natural Assets to financial capital, which will greatly impact how public lands are managed.
Natural asset companies leverage ecosystem services to create value, and the conversion of this value to financial capital could involve various mechanisms:
- Sustainable Resource Harvesting: Companies may extract natural resources sustainably, ensuring the continued provision of services like timber or fish without depleting the resource. With the new rule, companies will be prohibited from using natural resources without replenishing them.
- Eco-Tourism and Recreation: Natural asset companies can generate revenue by offering eco-tourism services and providing access to natural areas for recreation, wildlife observation, and other activities. Under the new rule, eco-tourism is encouraged. This will allow Natural Asset Companies to privatize recreation on public lands.
- Carbon Credits and Climate Services: Companies may participate in carbon credit schemes, benefiting from the ecosystem’s role in carbon sequestration and climate regulation.
- Biodiversity Offsetting: Some companies engage in biodiversity offsetting, where they invest in conservation or restoration projects to compensate for the ecological impact of their activities.
- Water Stewardship: Companies can implement water stewardship practices, ensuring the sustainable use and protection of water resources, and potentially engaging in water trading markets.
- Certification Programs: Obtaining certifications, such as organic or sustainable forestry certifications, can enhance market access and command premium prices for products.
- Conservation Banking: Participating in conservation banking involves preserving or restoring natural habitats to generate credits that can be sold to developers or industries to offset their environmental impact.
- Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES): Companies may explore PES schemes where they receive payments for maintaining or enhancing ecosystem services, often from public or private entities that benefit from these services.
- Green Finance and Impact Investing: Natural asset companies can attract investment through green finance and impact investing, where investors seek financial returns alongside positive environmental outcomes.
By strategically managing their operations to enhance ecosystem services and participating in various market-based mechanisms, natural asset companies can derive economic value from the natural assets they control.
Intrinsic Exchange Group website
According to the IEG’s website, a natural asset company is established by:
Identifying a natural asset and working with the asset owner to identify ecosystem services and ecosystem restoration.
Asset owners could include private land owners, non-governmental organizations, and federal, tribal, state, county, and city governments.
Form the NAC as a new corporation and license rights for ecosystem services.
NACs can be formed by the asset owner or entity that obtains ecosystem rights through a license agreement and could include National Parks, wilderness areas, conservation easements, and other areas on state, federal, and private land.
Convert Natural assets value to financial capital.
Converting natural asset value to financial capital for natural asset companies involves several strategies and mechanisms that recognize the economic value of ecosystem services and environmental sustainability.
In general, the new SEC rule works like this…
- Identification of Assets: The process begins with the identification of natural assets associated with public lands. These assets encompass various elements, including but not limited to, roads, forests, water bodies, and other ecological features.
- License Agreement: Once the assets are identified, the owner (which may include the federal government or other entities) and the Natural Asset Company (NAC) enter into a license agreement. This agreement grants the NAC specific rights to manage, maintain, restore, and derive revenue from the identified natural assets.
- Acquisition of Ecological Performance Rights: The NAC is required to conduct an annual Technical Ecological Performance (EP) Study. For roads, this would involve assessing their environmental impact and condition.
- Formation of NAC: With the license agreement and Ecological Performance Rights acquired, the NAC is officially formulated as a distinct entity.
- Listing on NYSE: The NAC takes steps to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). This listing opens avenues for public investment, allowing individuals and institutions to become stakeholders in the NAC.
- Investment: Investors, driven by the NAC’s commitment to sustainable practices and potential financial returns, invest in the company. These funds become instrumental in supporting the NAC’s operations and initiatives.
- Conservation and Local Programs: The NAC allocates its funds strategically. As per the proposed rule, at least 50% of the funds are dedicated to conservation efforts. The remaining 50% is directed towards local programs.
- Development of Management Plans: To ensure alignment with existing federal management decisions, the NAC develops detailed management plans.
- Charging the Public: As part of revenue generation, the NAC may implement fees for specific uses of the assets, such as roads.
- Oversight and Accountability: The proposed rule emphasizes the role of an Independent Reviewer in evaluating the NAC’s annual Ecological Performance Reports (EPR).
- Stewardship of Natural Assets: The NAC, by acquiring Ecological Performance Rights, takes on the responsibility of stewardship for the identified natural assets.
Under the proposed rule, the motorized use of existing roads would be affected in several ways, and access restrictions may be applied based on the objectives of Natural Asset Companies managing public lands. Although the new rule does not directly mention roads, I will establish mechanisms for corporate investors to influence the use of roads from corporate boardrooms.
Access restrictions on existing roads may be justified on conservation grounds. NACs, committed to maintaining and restoring natural assets, could enforce limitations in areas deemed to be ecologically sensitive. Such restrictions may be implemented to align with conservation goals outlined in the Environmental and Social Policy of the NAC.
The proposed rule encourages NACs to engage in eco-tourism, attracting visitors to experience natural assets. In the case of roads, eco-tourism would demand sustainable access alternatives like guided tours and non-motorized uses. Recreation on public lands will turn into an asset by requiring royalties for recreation within the designated area where the NAC operates.
NACs, in pursuit of their ecological and social goals, will become exclusive stakeholders in aspects of nature that dictate the success of multiple uses. They will ultimately determine the outcome of management plans, modifications to existing road infrastructure, and the use of natural resources. In some cases, modifications may involve the creation of separate routes or areas designated exclusively for non-motorized activities, limiting the use of existing roads for motorized access, and requiring fees to enter public land.
NACs are encouraged to provide ongoing disclosure, including information about access restrictions, through press releases and other communication channels. The proposed rule underscores the need for NACs to conduct Technical Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Performance (EP) Studies. Access restrictions may be informed by the findings of these studies, and NACs are expected to enforce these restrictions as part of their commitment to responsible land management.
The proposed rule acknowledges that NACs must comply with regulatory requirements and work with relevant authorities. Access restrictions may be applied in collaboration with government agencies overseeing public lands. Regulatory bodies might stipulate guidelines for motorized use (travel management) in alignment with broader conservation and land management goals.
Natural Asset Companies can leverage various mechanisms to monetize the use of roads.
- Eco-Tourism and Recreation Fees: Implementing fees for public use of roads in ecologically sensitive areas for recreational or eco-tourism purposes.
- Carbon Offset Programs: Establishing carbon offset programs where companies or individuals pay for the carbon emissions associated with road usage.
- Conservation Easements: Offering conservation easements to entities or individuals interested in preserving the natural features surrounding roads. In exchange for payments, the natural asset company could agree to restrict certain types of activities in perpetuity.
- Educational Programs and Guided Tours: Charging fees for educational programs, guided tours, or workshops conducted along the roads.
- Wildlife Viewing Permits: Implementing permits for wildlife viewing along roads, especially in areas teeming with wildlife.
- Roadside Services and Amenities: Offering eco-friendly services and amenities along the roads, such as sustainable accommodations, nature-based activities, and electric vehicle charging stations.
- Biodiversity Offsetting: Collaborating with developers or other entities that may impact biodiversity in other locations.
- Research and Monitoring Partnerships: Partnering with research institutions or environmental organizations to conduct ecological research and monitoring along the roads.
- Voluntary Donations and Memberships: Encouraging voluntary donations from road users or offering memberships that provide exclusive access to certain areas.
A complete corporate takeover of public lands
These moves by the Biden administration will forever change federally managed lands. These lands will no longer be public, as management decisions will be made in corporate boardrooms that are void of constitutional limitations. These large and wealthy investment firms will ensure our natural resources stay shackled by their extraordinary financial incentives.
The new rule will invite foreign investment in ecosystem services on America’s natural resources and natural processes. Investment firms like BlackRock will then benefit from the qualities that nature provides humans by obtaining rights to the qualities of nature that make life on Earth possible. This places international investors in a position to monetize the air you breathe, the visual qualities of nature you enjoy, the backroads we travel, and will give nature legal rights.
If this rule goes through, we will forever lose our public lands to special interest groups in the United States and abroad. These special interest groups will leverage their corporate influence to fully monopolize the means of production in the United States and they will make it fashionable and lucrative.
Read the official documents
Federal Register notice
Self-Regulatory Organizations; New York Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the NYSE Listed Company Manual To Adopt Listing Standards for Natural Asset Companies
Securities and Exchange Commission