Legislation for the Benefit of One

What follows is by no means the worst excess of our Congress.  But it is an interesting demonstration of how Congress attempts to disguise legislation that is intended to help just one important contituent.  The program looks moderately innocuous:

[T]his year's farm bill contains a special-interest provision you've
probably never heard of "” the Qualified Forestry Bonds program. This
provides federally funded tax-credit bonds for forest purchases that
meet the following four criteria:

The forest must be adjacent to U.S. Forest Service Land;

Half of the parcel must be turned over to the U.S. Forest Service;

It must include at least 40,000 total acres; and

It must be subject to a "native fish habitat conservation plan approved by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service."

Well, it looks like it might be some land acquisition scheme by the US Forest Service, though by my observation they really aren't staffed or resourced to manage the land they already have.

But here is the truth of it:

But this farm-bill provision offers a lesson on how things are
sometimes done in Washington. Only one parcel of land in the entire
United States meets the criteria set for the Qualified Forestry Bonds
program. You see, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved
exactly one "Native Fish Habitat Conservation Plan,"
covering a 1.6-million-acre parcel that reaches from western Montana
into eastern Washington State. And that parcel is owned by the Plum
Creek Timber Company, the single largest private landowner in the
United States.


  1. Dan:

    Yeah, I saw that one coming a mile away. 40,000 acres of forest with a "native fish habitat conservation plan approved by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service," adjacent to a National Forest? With land holdings like that, there just had to be a railroad involved.

  2. M. Hodak:

    The rest of the story would be, I guarantee, quite interesting:

    Which representatives sponsored the bill and stood in support? How much did they get from Plum Creek? It's all legal, I'm sure, but to quote Bob Dole's famous plaint, "Where's the outrage?"