Let us use some common sense here

Published July 1, 2000

Summary:  In this speech by the Hon. Cliff Stearns (R-Florida, 6th District) addressing the House of Representatives states that we should preserve freedom and not follow the dictates of the Earth First! organization by buying more lands for the federal government.  


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Mr. Chairman, I thank my colleague for yielding time to me.

I hate to say is this, but listen to this quote. This is from the co-founder of Earth First! This is what he says: “It is not enough to preserve the roadless, undeveloped country remaining. We must recreate wilderness in large regions, move out the cars and the civilized people, dismantle roads and dams, reclaim the plowed lands, clearcuts, and reintroduce the extirpated species.”

They want to get rid of the people, get rid of cars, bring back the species, get rid of everything. In short, as humans, we do not even have a right to this land. Now the CARA bill is simply making their work easier.

We can come on the floor and say this is a great bill, but frankly, we are not at the point where we can authorize more money because we are not even taking care of the land we now have. That is embarrassing. Almost one-third of the land in America is owned by the Federal government. If we add local and State government lands together, that percentage reaches 42 percent. Should half of us move?

The CARA bill will not only fund the LWCF trust fund, the key vehicle for land acquisition, at $900 million, but most of the trust funds created by the other titles can also be used for land acquisition. That totals almost $2 billion. That means that State and local governments will have unprecedented amounts of Federal money to buy more private land. We can couple this with the Clinton-Gore acquisition plan, right?

The second reason I am against this is because this bill allows the government to circumvent our existing programs, conservation needs. Both the National Park Service and Forest Service have reported billions of dollars in backlogged maintenance requests. So why are we adding more money when we have this huge backlog of maintenance requests?

Mr. Chairman, as summer approaches, our parks will again swell with families and individuals enjoying our parks. But look closer and we will see crumbling facilities, deteriorating paths, families being turned away because the parks are unable to handle them.

I encourage my colleagues, let us use some common sense here. Vote against this bill.