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David Riggs, Ph.D.
Director of Land and Natural Resource Policy
August 21, 2000
The Clinton Administration was revealed today as favoring special interest projects to the detriment of people, property, and the environment. The Washington Times reported today that the Administration decreased the Interior Department’s fire preparedness and prevention funds to increase land acquisition funding – this as fires rage across western lands burning over 5 million acres in the U.S.
It’s ironic that the federal government seeks to increase what it already can’t manage. This year’s fires are not acts of God, as some have claimed. A century of federal land mismanagement has resulted in a buildup of excess wood levels in the nation’s forests, creating a high risk of large, intense, unmanageable, and highly destructive forest fires.
As if the Administration’s mismanagement was not enough, Congress may compound matters if it passes the Conservation and Reinvestment Act, a bill that would increase government land ownership through the creation of a $45 billion dedicated land acquisition fund.
The fact that the federal government places a higher priority on increasing the governmental estate – extending local, state, and federal land ownership beyond 42 percent of the U.S. – rather than on managing what it already owns, epitomizes poor political management from Washington. Extending federal management over more resources will surely bring great harm to people, property, and the environment.
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