Boy, the editorial writers at the Sacramento Bee are on a roll. First they pilloried Paul Hoffman of the Interior Department for his rewrite of the National Park Service's Management Policies, then they took on Hoffman's boss, Craig Manson, for defending Hoffman, and now they're railing at U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo.
Pombo, you no doubt recall, on September 9 planted the suggestion in draft legislation that 15 National Park Service units should be sold to generate revenues for the government. Unless, of course, Congress allows oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The Bee, ever happy to investigate shenanigans in Washington, says that legislation also contained a provision to sell off national forest lands.
Sifting through Pombo's "Proposed Recommendations for Budget Reconciliation," the newspaper discovered, way down on pages 235 to 239, language giving the Agriculture Department authority to sell off "checkerboard national forest lands interspersed with private lands."
Fortunately, the Bee notes, the provision to sell the parks and the forest lands were removed from a subsequent version of the document.
"But the idea persists. It could be resurrected and inserted in a must-pass bill," the newspaper adds. "If the Sept. 9 document really was only for 'discussion' and not intended as real recommendations, then we challenge Pombo and other members of Congress to stand up and state unequivocally that they will not support a sell-off of national forest and national park lands."
I'm willing to count hands....