Posted by: Ann Corcoran | December 15, 2011

Is Gingrich Green?

That was the title of the front page article of a newsletter I wrote in January 1995.

The newsletter, Land Rights Letter,* was created by me in response to my battle, and the battle of my neighbors, to save our farms from the so-called “preservationists” and the National Park Service who wished to expand the Antietam National Battlefield in Washington County, a battle which began in 1988.   The newsletter which lasted into the mid-1990s was geared to help other landowners across the country (and unite grassroots activists) who were fighting for their property rights against assaults from avaricious government agencies at all levels of government.

Unfortunately the article is not on-line (those were the days when newsletters were printed on paper!), but I reported that Gingrich was such a mixed bag on environmental issues it was impossible to answer the question precisely.

He had supported and sponsored many bills considered good ones from the standpoint of the environmental lobbyists (including one that would make the Endangered Species Act even tougher on property owners) and previously he had voted for the massive federalization of Alaska (Alaska Lands Act of 1979) the primary reason we can’t get at that oil now, yet by 1994 he received a zero score from the League of Conservation Voters—considered the defining voice in Washington then (and probably still now) on the voting record of members of Congress on environmental issues.

I quoted Myron Ebell, then the Washington Representative of the American Land Rights Association and now Director of Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, here, on the new speaker (or was he still speaker-to-be in January 1995?).

Mr. Ebell told this writer in late 1994 and we reported in that January 1995 issue of Land Rights Letter

“Whatever Gingrich’s real environmental leanings are, he’s smart enough to see where the Republican tide is rolling.”

Fast forward to yesterday!  Read Richard Falknor at Blue Ridge Forum on Gingrich and try to decide for yourselves if Newt Gingrich is Green, how Green?  Does it matter to you? And, ask, can we afford to wonder where our candidates will be on pressing issues if elected the next President of the United States.  At least with Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, what you see is what you get.

* I found one article on-line that I wrote in 1993 at Land Rights Letter and it makes me laugh (again!).  The big environmental funders—the wealthy foundations like Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Richard King Mellon Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts and so on—hired an investigator to see if they could find the funding source for the budding property rights movement in the US.  Of course, we grassroots folks were coming together across the country on our own dimes.  We even held a couple of big property rights conferences in Washington DC known as Fly-in for Freedom in the early 1990s.

And, darn, what did their investigators learn—we were a true grassroots movement with no financial backing and they would have to find some way (some other “silver bullet”) to destroy us and that would be very hard if they couldn’t link us to some big industry money.   And, silly them, when they held an Environmental Grantmakers Conference (see the EGA website I linked, it’s where the big environmental money gathers) and reported on their investigation of us, they taped it—we got the tape.

Sorry to digress, but it was lots of fun.  We grassroots folks were all talking regularly so when their “investigator” started calling around pretending to be a woman with a fishy property rights problem we figured out someone was checking us out.  I remember having lunch with her in Union Station knowing all along she was working for someone, but we didn’t know who exactly until the EGA report came out!


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