Bush admin land sell-off plan may be DOA

The future looks dim for the Bush administration’s unpopular proposal to sell off 300,000 acres of public land to fund rural schools. A House subcommittee has excluded the proposal from a spending bill; it will be considered by other committees, but has no enthusiastic backers in Congress. Rural schools and roads have traditionally been funded by the logging industry, but with timber sales down, the Bush admin is searching for other short-term revenue. Short-term revenue that doesn’t involve reversing any tax cuts for the rich, that is. The acreage the administration hoped to sell consists of forest tracts that, according to Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, “no longer meet national forest system needs,” whatever that means. Said Florida Audubon President Charles Lee, “Even the conservative Western Republicans are basically saying this is nuts.” Well then!