It's no surprise that President Bush would propose placing more than 300,000 acres of National Forest Service land for sale. Let's face it – he doesn't have a stellar track record for being an environmentally friendly president.
Although it is commendable for President Bush to make an effort to support rural schools, one must consider why our country's natural lands, and in turn its natural inhabitants, must be sacrificed.
Under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, these schools have been receiving federal funds since 2001 to make up for the decline in timber sales over the years. The 2007 proposed budget allows these payments to continue for another five years. However, the president thinks selling all these acres of land, netting $800 million, is still needed.
According to the proposal, these areas "are isolated from other contiguous National Forest System lands, and because of their location, size or configuration are not efficient to manage as a component of the National Forest system."
Just because these areas are isolated doesn't mean they don't serve a purpose. Our country's National Forests are home to many species and help preserve the natural ecological balance. The Forest Service has very limited authority to sell National Forest System land. This is for a reason. Although these schools may need money, everything possible should be done to preserve the land.
If President Bush proposes selling land now, what makes you think he or a future president won't try to do the same in the future?