Wednesday, June 21, 2006

B'ham and Eastern US needs Conservation Funds!

Pat Byington, a Southeast senior associate with The Wilderness Society who also serves on the Alabama Environmental Management Commission, dropped a nice op-ed on The Birmingham News this past Monday. His/her "Federal conservation funding looks like it's on life support" ends with this:

... America's most important and successful conservation funding programs are on life support at a time when they have never been needed more, not only in Birmingham, but in the entire eastern United States. According to a recent U.S. Forest Service report "Forests on the Edge," more than 40 million acres of private forests, primarily in the East, are likely to be developed by 2030. At the same time, enormous tracts of timber company lands are being sold off, like International Paper's recent sale of 6 million acres of Southeast forest.

Let's put those numbers into proper perspective. During the next 25 years, the East will lose to development sprawl an area of private forest land larger than the entire state of Alabama. Gone. Never to return.

Sadly, the two most important tools the public has to battle rampant development sprawl and the permanent loss of valuable forest land are the programs mentioned above that have been zeroed out or slashed to the bone by the U.S. Congress.
It's not too late - these programs can be saved. This month, the U.S. Senate will have its chance to come to the rescue of the LWCF and Forest Legacy programs, as it has done in the past. Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions have been champions of conservation funding over the years. We need their help in Alabama, and especially in Birmingham, now more than ever.

Federal spending is bad according to some. Seems like we can't afford much due to Bu$hCo's poor budget work. They might have been champions in the past yet Jeff especially loves Bush! Peace ... or War!