You remember the Bush Administration's ill-conceived plan to sell off 300,000 acres of public land in order to fund rural school programs? Well, we're happy to report that the proposal has been scrapped, thanks to opposition by both environmentalists and sportsmen's groups, including the National Rifle Association.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, it's one in a series of setbacks for those keen on selling public lands.
Also dead is an accompanying administration proposal to require the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the federal government's largest landowner, to dramatically boost its land sales to raise $350 million over the next decade.The Sierra Club's Barbara Boyle tells the paper the proposed sale would have been "like mortgaging your house to pay for the groceries. It's taking an asset and getting rid of it for a very short-term goal."
The demise of the proposals marks the second recent defeat for efforts to sell substantial public holdings.
Last year a House committee under the leadership of Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-Tracy) drafted budget language that would have forced the federal government to sell potentially millions of acres next to mining claims that stud Western public lands. That died after sports groups and westerners complained.