State AGs Blast Biden, Wall Street Plan To Sell Rights To America's Public Lands

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Jan 13, 2024 - 12:00 AM

Authored by Kevin Stocklin via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The current plan by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to create Natural Asset Companies (NACs), which would buy up land rights throughout America, faced heavy criticism from 25 state attorneys general, who in a Jan. 9 letter urged the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to reject the concept.

“What is happening here is clear,” the AGs wrote. “The Commission and the NYSE are seeking to implement a radical environmental agenda through the rulemaking process (and outside the legislative process).”

This type of decision, particularly given its vast economic consequences, must be left to Congress and not the Commission or the NYSE,” they stated.

Hikers walk beside the Delicate Arch at sunset in the Arches National Park near Moab, Utah on April 21, 2018. - The park which has over 2000 arches that were formed over 100 million years by a combination of water, ice, extreme temperatures and underground salt movement. (Photo by Mark Ralston / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

The idea for NACs was developed by an activist eco-organization called the Intrinsic Exchange Group (IEG), funded in part by the Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with the NYSE. NACs would pool investors’ money from around the world to buy the rights to public and private land in the United States and limit its use to “sustainable” endeavors.

Currently, much of the land under federal control is intended for public use, which includes farming, ranching, hunting, fishing, drilling, mining, hiking, and camping, according to its designation by Congress. In many western states, including Idaho, Alaska, and Utah, more than 60 percent of the land is government owned. About 85 percent of the land in Nevada is government owned.

“On the spectrum of serious ESG threats, this is one of the most concerning, and least understood,” Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who co-authored the letter, told The Epoch Times. “I don’t think most people in America even know about it; it was done very quietly.

There are a number of interests—big government, extreme environmental activism,” he said. “It’s about power, money, and who controls what can happen on these lands.”

The proposal to alter the NYSE’s governing rules to allow this new type of company on the exchange currently sits with the SEC, awaiting approval. The original public comment period was set at an unusually short 21 days, running through the Christmas holiday until Jan. 2.

After protests from 32 Republicans in Congress and 22 red-state financial officers, the SEC extended the comment period until Jan. 18. Anyone wishing to comment can do so at

$100 Trillion Per Year

Flowers bloom at the Carrizo Plain National Monument in Calif. in 2017. (Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management)

In its SEC filing, the NYSE explained the concept of monetizing the value of America’s natural assets.

“Healthy ecosystems produce clean air and water, foster biodiversity, regulate the climate, and provide the food on which our existence depends,” the NYSE stated. “These and other benefits derived from ecosystems are called ecosystem services, and in the aggregate, economists estimate their value at more than US$100 trillion dollars per year.”

According to a statement from IEG CEO Douglas Eger, cited in a Rockefeller Foundation press release, “this new asset class on the NYSE will create a virtuous cycle of investment in nature that will help finance sustainable development for communities, companies, and countries.

“Together, IEG and the NYSE will enable investors to access nature’s store of wealth and transform our industrial economy into one that is more equitable,” Mr. Eger said.

The NACs would require accounting and reporting systems regarding the assets they possess, which would be provided by IEG under license. The NYSE would acquire a stake in IEG as part of the agreement to establish NACs on the exchange.

According to the NYSE filing, the intention of the NACs is to buy land management rights, including farming rights, mineral rights, water rights, and air rights, and that “NACs are expected to license these rights from sovereign nations or private landowners.” The question remains, however, how the federal government would sell such rights to a private company.

According to state AGs, the answer lies in a current effort within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to sell “conservation leases” on public lands.

The Bureau of Land Management's Midland Long-Term Visitor Area is another camping spot for people who've fallen through the financial cracks of society and prefer to live off grid, on Feb. 13, 2022. (Allan Stein/The Epoch Times)

“The proposed [NYSE] rule plainly is intended to serve as the funding mechanism for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) recent proposed rule, ‘Conservation and Landscape Health,’ which would authorize BLM to grant ‘conservation leases’ for public lands,” the letter states. “The BLM rule provides that ‘once the BLM has issued a conservation lease, the BLM shall not authorize any other uses of the leased lands that are inconsistent with the authorized conservation use.’

“This means that once BLM issues a conservation lease, productive economic uses such as grazing, logging, or mining will no longer be allowed unless they are consistent with the lease’s environmental purposes,” the AGs wrote.

Now you have a seller—BLM created that,” Mr. Reyes said. “And now you have a buyer, or a vehicle to use private money to buy what the BLM couldn’t do through proper legislation and couldn’t do at the ballot box.

“They’re quietly, almost secretly, trying to bypass all of that,” he said, “and funnel the money directly into owning these sovereign lands and imposing their own political agenda on them.”

Biden’s 30x30 Plan

The plan to create NACs coincides with efforts by the Biden administration to block access to public lands by farmers, ranchers, hunters, and most particularly, oil and mining companies. President Biden’s 30x30 plan, according to which 30 percent of the United States’ land and freshwater areas and 30 percent of U.S. ocean areas would be set aside for conservation by 2030, was announced in a January 2021 executive order.

A coal mine in Wyoming in a file photo. (Bureau of Land Management)

One of the issues facing the NACs is how their assets would be valued, given that for the most part the requirement of “sustainability” would preclude many economically productive uses. One of the reasons the NYSE is seeking an exception to its rules from the SEC is that NACs would not use standard audited GAAP accounting for their investors, but rather see the American institution adopt the United Nations System of Environmental-Economic Accounting.

Coincidentally, in January 2023, the Biden administration created its U.S. System of Natural Capital Accounting, which adopts the same U.N. environmental accounting standards. The Biden administration says that this effort is a “system to account for natural assets—from the minerals that power our tech economy and are driving the electric-vehicle revolution, to the ocean and rivers that support our fishing industry, to the forests that clean our air—and quantify the immense value this natural capital provides.”

Critics of this effort say that it violates the Constitution because only elected officials in Congress have the authority to transfer rights for public lands.

The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released by the Bureau of Land Management back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nev. on April 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jason Bean)

“The attorneys general are absolutely correct when they say that the SEC and the NYSE are trying to implement a radical environmental agenda outside of the legislative process,” Will Hild, executive director of Consumer’s Research, said in a statement emailed to The Epoch Times. “This is the great scam of ESG that is being foisted on the American people, regardless of the harm it does to consumers or entire sectors of the economy.”

The Epoch Times requested comment from the SEC, the NYSE, and the Intrinsic Exchange Group regarding this article. The NYSE declined to comment. The SEC and IEG did not respond as of press time.