Boucher: Selling national forest land would damage local economyI feel soiled.
By Charles Owens, Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLAND, Va. — A proposal by the Bush administration to sell about 5,700 acres of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in Southwest Virginia would hurt local tourism and economic development efforts, U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., warned Monday.
“At a time when tourism is so important to us, the last thing we should be doing is selling national forest land,” Boucher said.
Boucher said many residents in Bland and Wythe counties are beginning to speak out in opposition to the president’s plan.
“I have recently held town meetings in both Bland and Wythe where people have attended and expressed strong opposition to selling national forest land,” Boucher said. “ The residents are aware and very much opposed.” (link)
First, to my knowledge nobody here in Bland County is disturbed by the sale of a few acres of the government's (our) forest land, regardless what Boucher says he's hearing. After all, 70% of Bland County is national forest. We'll survive. And much of what isn't national forest is abandoned business property that we all wish someone would buy. And develop.
Secondly, he hasn't been talking to Bland County Administrator Jonathan Sweet, who said when he learned of the sale:
"It's not necessarily a negative thing," he stated Tuesday morning. "It could add more land to our tax base. The more it adds the better." (link)So. Who do you believe? A foreigner who (semiannually) visits the area and expects his favorite rocks and bushes to remain undisturbed - in perpetuity - and who is beholden to powerful environmental lobbying groups up in DC, and is oblivious to the economic crisis in his district, or a local man who has the best interests of his constituents at heart?
Having been dumped on too many times by Rick Boucher, I'll choose the latter.
Somebody bring me a shovel.