The selling of our National Forests

Important Issue - The selling of our National Forests.

Have you heard about the Bush administration's plans to put our public lands on "blue-light special?" The President's proposed 2007 budget includes provisions to sell off as much as 800,000 acres of our national forests and other public lands to the highest bidder!

Will you join me in speaking out against this absurd proposal? Click below to send a message to your representatives in Congress now!



Honey, I'm cold. Let's burn the couch.;

St Louis Post Dispatch Editorial 2/15

NATIONAL FORESTS: Honey, I'm cold. Let's burn the couch.


President George W. Bush wants to sell off parts of our national forests -- including up to 22,000 acres of the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri -- to fund rural schools. It's the equivalent of a family burning the furniture to keep warm.

The Bush Administration wants to sell between 175,000 and 300,000 acres of national forests in 34 states, including up to 191 acres in Illinois.

It's a mistake economically and environmentally and philosophically. Schools are a continuing expense; land sales are a one-time source of revenue. What will Mr. Bush do when the proceeds from this sale are spent and rural schoolchildren still need an education? Will he sell off another chunk of our forests? A piece of Mt. Rushmore? Naming rights to Old Faithful?

It's also a betrayal of our duty to pass on our natural heritage -- intact, not by the board foot -- to the next generation.

In Missouri, the targeted land is part of the Mark Twain National Forest. The forest is the glory of the Ozarks: 1.5 million acres of woodland, streams and rocky glades rolling across the hills. It contains 78,000 acres of wilderness and national scenic rivers.

It is a paddler's and hiker's paradise and a place that restores the soul.

By and large, the National Forest Service has been a decent steward of the land, allowing logging here and there, chasing out destructive ATV-ers, supporting recreation and preserving its wild nature.

The Mark Twain parcels would be scattered around the forest. Presumably, the buyers would use them for logging or development.

In some Western states, the government is the owner by default of vast tracts of desert, scrub and sagebrush. It may make sense to sell some small, marginal parcels of that for uses that may fuel the local economy. But the Mark Twain National Forest isn't a marginal wasteland. It's an ecological and recreational treasure.

The president hopes to raise $800 million from land sales to support the rural schools program. Rural schools get a share of the revenue from logging on federal land, and that revenue has been declining.

Our public schools require a continuing source of revenue. In other words, taxes.

The T-word, of course, is anathema to the Bush Administration. Rather than raise taxes, Mr. Bush proposes running a deficit of more than $420 billion (not counting the full cost of the Iraq war) in the next fiscal year. We will pass that debt on our children.

Now he wants to submit beautiful pieces of Missouri to the chainsaw and bulldozer. Our children deserve their natural heritage -- not their parents' debt.

Informant: Scott Munson


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