It's the Environment, Stupid.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Public land for sale

G.W. is putting 300,000 acres of federal land and national forests up for sale!

The AP article says: "Forest Service officials say the sales are needed to raise $800 million over the next five years to pay for schools and roads in rural counties hurt by logging cutbacks on federal land. The Bureau of Land Management has said it also plans to sell federal lands to raise an estimated $250 million over five years."

300,000 acres to pay for a very short term span of five years. Well, it won't be a sale that keeps on giving, but hey, every little buck helps. Besides, the 300,000 acres are all spread out - an acre here, 1000 acres there. It's not like its a big ol chunk of trees set for the chopping block. Sounds like some of it is land that'd be developed anyway - like areas close to sprawling sub-urban or other metropolitan areas. Who are the likely buyers for the land? My guess is developers who'll build it up. And the land not near urban areas? Maybe a little natural resource extraction can be capitalized upon in those areas (or exploited - you choose the term).

But if you have a problem with any of the real estate up for bid, the government is taking comments on the matter through March (formality.)

The way the AP article presents it (as I'm sure the Bush Admin pitched it) is that if this sale doesn't happen you could hurt the already hurting communties victimized by harsh federal forest policies that restrict logging to save endangered species.

But once the sale is final, and the land is used up, and the money is spent, then what? Put more land up for sale? No one benefits from these short term fixes. We need a more comprehensive, long term, sustainable economic development plan for our nation. We (as the U.S.) expect other countries to do the same - but I guess that'll be for the next administration to figure out.

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