Deep State Plots to Seize Public Lands in Florida

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by Bryan Jung and W. Douglas Dechert, PJ Media:

The Fifth Amendment has long stood in the way of the schemes of public officials. Since the early days of the republic, federal, state and local governments have felt the need to acquire the private property of citizens. This has spawned almost two centuries of eminent domain case law and precedent requiring reasonable grounds and just compensation for private land acquisitions.

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Inevitably, there has been a long arms race between usurious public servants and the people. Over the past 50 years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has pioneered a litany of highly contested but thus far effective “workarounds” for the deprivation of citizens’ private property rights.

Recently, the EPA has unilaterally interpreted environmental regulations to designate any land near water as “wetlands” and thus decree that owners have no right to drain, build on, or improve their land. Affected landowners are left without compensation for the market diminution of their property values. (Woe to those with a soggy front lawn!)

Assiduous readers can easily research the legal and judicial morass that this bureaucratic overreach has led to so that new techniques have sprung up widely to effect the same purposes. A few weeks ago, it came to our attention that the U.S. Forest Service (an agency of the U.S. Department Of Agriculture) has found a new method of displacing defenseless homeowners.

The state of Florida is home to innumerable lakes and freshwater springs. One such thriving community of approximately 8,000 residents and scores of retail businesses catering to the tourist trade is the somewhat misleadingly named Salt Springs, near Ocala, in North-Central Florida.

According to Lee Szizlak, a Salt Springs resident, a representative of the Forest Service told her, “People in Salt Springs better start selling their homes now because prices will plummet when the springs close in January of 2025.”

Word spread in January that American Land and Leisure, which manages the Salt Springs recreation area in Florida, was informed by the U.S. Forest Service that their contract to lease the area would not be renewed, with no official explanation for the eviction being given thus far.

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