Oklahoma Congressman Josh Brecheen joined 31 other House members in demanding answers from the head of the SEC about proposed new rules that would allow foreign-ownership of certain private and public lands in the U.S.
Foreign ownership, especially by Red Chinese companies, has been banned in some states and certainly has raised the ire of Oklahoma leaders.
As proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, it would allow investors buy into stock market companies that are trading on the New York Stock Exchange and do so in the name of protecting nature and public lands and making money. If approved, it would let the Stock Exchange offer the new kind of investment known as “natural asset companies.”
The idea is to list companies with environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) commitments to public or privately owned lands, and then put a monetary value to the resulting benefits, such as clean air or wildlife habitat.
To qualify as an NAC, a corporation would need to show how it’s improving the lands in its portfolio, which could include “conservation, restoration or sustainable management.”
The rule states that despite the rising prevalence of ESG in the marketplace, “investors still express an unmet need for efficient, pure-play exposure to nature and climate.”
But Rep. Brecheen and his fellow House members claimed in a letter to the head of the SEC, “this proposal has the possibility to fundamentally change U.S. land access, management, use, and ownership….”
They argue the rule would allow the “auctioning (of) our most prized resources off to the highest foreign bidder, including to hostile regimes that clearly do not have our bedt interests at heart.”
The Republican House members also charged that a 21-day comment period, of which the deadline has already passed, “is simply unacceptable and has resulted in disenfranching those stakeholders who have the most to lose.”
Rep. Brecheen and the others contend the proposed rule leaves many questions unanswered. They wonder “what are the unique listing requirements referred to by the Stock Exchange?” Does the SEC “claim oversight authority of the NACS? By what right does the SEC have to confer “management authority” over federal lands?
The rule would apparently be another green effort of the Biden administration because once NACs are in control of the land they would be prohibited from engaging in activities such as energy production, logging and grazing. Some of ther House members further claim the purpose of the rule is to end all economic activity on the lands.
Wyoming U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman called it a “misguided” rule.
“As if that weren’t bad enough, the rule places no limits on who can buy these lands – China, Russia, Iran, and other bad actors would be free to participate and shut down U.S. energy and mineral production,” reported the Cowboy State Daily.