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Republicans unveil effort protecting federal lands from foreign investors, climate activists

FIRST ON FOX: Republicans introduced an effort to block public lands from being listed on a major stock exchange, a proposal backed by climate activists.

FIRST ON FOX: Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate are introducing legislation Thursday that would restrict the federal government from allowing certain climate-focused companies from being publicly listed.

The Protect America’s Lands Act — introduced by representatives Mark Green, R-Tenn., and Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo., in the House and Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., in the Senate — would block the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from allowing so-called natural asset companies (NACs) to list their assets on the New York Stock Exchange. The prospect of these companies being listed has faced opposition from GOP lawmakers, state officials and consumer advocates.

"It should be no surprise that the radical left once again tried to force its woke Green New Deal agenda on Americans," Green told Fox News Digital in a statement. "Allowing natural asset companies on the New York Stock Exchange would have opened our country to a world of risk, allowing our adversaries to block energy and food production. That’s why I introduced the Protect America’s Lands Act."

Hageman added that allowing NACs to be publicly listed "would change U.S. land access, management, use and ownership as we know it.


"As if that weren’t bad enough, as proposed, there are no limits placed on who can buy these lands. China, Russia, Iran and other bad actors would be free to participate and shut down U.S. energy, mineral and food production. 

"The bottom line is that we must take back lawmaking authority from the administrative state before even more of our security, freedoms and rights are taken away."


The legislation comes weeks after the New York Stock Exchange withdrew a proposal submitted with the SEC to allow the listing of NACs, a novel type of company chartered to "protect, restore and grow the natural assets under their management to foster healthy ecosystems."

The NYSE states that NACs "capture the intrinsic and productive value of nature and provide a store of value based on the vital assets that underpin our entire economy and make life on earth possible." Natural assets that could be grouped into an NAC include forests, wetlands and coral reefs, as well as working lands such as farms, according to the NYSE.

The debate over NACs stretches back months to when the NYSE first proposed the rule change with the SEC last year that would have allowed for NACs to be listed on the exchange. NYSE collaborated on the proposal with financial services firm Intrinsic Exchange Group, which first floated the idea of listing NACs as a free market solution to climate change.

But, in January, after receiving widespread criticism from Republican state financial officers and attorneys general, and later Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee, the SEC announced in a filing the NYSE had rescinded the proposal.


"It is hard to overstate the danger that so-called 'natural asset companies' pose to the livelihood of millions of Americans," Will Hild, executive director of watchdog group Consumers' Research, previously told Fox News Digital. "Big woke corporations, including BlackRock and foreign companies from hostile nations such as China would be handed free rein to buy up millions of acres of public land.

"Ranching, farming, energy production and many other critical industries would be denied shared access to public land, eliminating their productive use," Hild added. "Even people who use public lands for recreation and hunting could suddenly find their access taken away."

Green similarly warned Thursday that publicly listing NACs would allow foreign investors to "monetize and control America’s natural resources." 

"This could create a dangerous situation in which our nation's natural resources are owned by mystery investors who can unilaterally stop activities like mining and logging on America’s land … forever," his announcement stated.

Cosponsors of Green and Hageman's bill were listed as Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., and fellow GOP representatives Ryan Zinke, Matt Rosendale, Keith Self, Pete Sessions, Michael Cloud, Lauren Boebert, Doug Lamborn, Russ Fulcher, Jim Banks, Tim Burchett, Andy Ogles, Dan Bishop, Chuck Edwards, Ralph Norman, Mike Bost, Mary Miller, John Curtis, Warren Davidson, Byron Donalds, Ronald Estes, Michelle Fischbach, Alex Mooney, John Moolenaar and Clay Higgins.

The SEC didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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