Sunday, March 05, 2006

Trees For Schools

The U.S. Forest Service is getting ready to sell about 300,000 acres of land in 32 states to finance the Secure Rural Schools Act (SRSA). This is about 200 square miles of land. This land is typically forest land in national forests. Once this land is sold, cut for wood and/or mined, we can never replace it. There must be other ways to fund these schools.

What do we do in five years when we again need money for SRSA? Sell more land? What do we sell when we run out of forests?

Missouri, where I live, doesn't have any large national parks. The closest we come is our national forests and we don't want to lose them. The Forest Service plans to sell 21,000 acres of forest in Missouri.

One doesn't have to be cynical to believe this sale is more about making resources available to business that funding a program. I'm sure the thinking was "Who can argue with selling a few trees in order to educate children?" Certainly not this administration which is always ready to give business a helping hand. By the way, the Forest Service is already looking for more forest land to sell.

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Scottage said...

I must say, I'm not as green-conscious as I am conscious of other, but this is hard to see. I lived in Israel for 7 years, which is indigenously a desert, so trees are at a premium and needed. While living on a Kibbutz for 6 months, I worked in a tree nursery, where we would grow trees from sappling to fairly strong and then transport them around the country and set up irrigation systems to preserve the trees. You should have seen the looks on peoples faces when they would receive trees, often the first in their area. It was amazing, and as such I've gained a real value for trees. I guess someone out there only values natural resources that are black and profitable.

LogicalOne said...

A newspaper article from this past weekend reported that people interested in reviewing the parcels of land were finding the task difficult. Important pieces of land may be sold before people have had a chance to review them and voice concerns. One parcel to be sold was found to be part of a scientific research project at a local university. If the utilization of this property changes when it is sold, such a logging or development, the scientific research currently underway will be seriously affected. I believe the parcels were supposed to have been checked to insure there were no compelling reasons for keeping them, such a containing historic sites, or plant or animals that need special protection, but it doesn't sound like a careful study was made. In Missouri 21,000 acres were found that could be sold. Next door in Illinois only 190 acres were found. That doesn't make sense.