Sunday, October 28, 2007

Welcome to the State of Tex-Ass

An email was recently sent out to the TOS membership urging opposition to the impending sale of the Christmas Mountains in West Texas. The area in question is 9,200 acres of pristine habitat contiguous with Big Bend National Park. The National Park Service has expressed interest in acquiring the area, but Jerry Patterson, our Texas Land Commisioner, refuses to allow them time to make a proposal. Why? Because he disagrees with the prohibition of firearms in our national parks! Apparently he's opposed to any transfer of the property that wouldn't allow future hunting there.

Yup, it's unbelievable.

Well, almost unbelievable. In a state like California or Oregon I would use the word impossible. But this is Texas, where the state has repeatedly tried to raise education funds by selling public lands. And deer hunting is treated like a sacrament here.

Personally I really doubt this is about funding Texas schools and some bureaucrat's idiotsyncratic conviction that the second ammendment should apply everywhere. I suspect it's just another swindle. Since when does a government agency work so hard to divest itself of public property? I smell corruption.

From the TOS email:
"The property was donated to the state in 1991 by the Virginia-based Conservation Fund and the Pennsylvania-based Richard King Mellon Foundation on the condition that it remain protected from development. The state was bound by deed restrictions and could not sell the land without the approval of the fund. A spokesman for the Mellon Foundation states that if the sale goes through, the state should not look to their foundation for any future help. In the past they have donated many thousands of acres to state parks and wildlife, such as the approximately 40,000 acres in the Chinati Mountains."

The full story can be found here, along with a picture of the jackass - or in this case Tex-ass - who would sell off our natural treasures like unwanted junk at a yard sale...and claim to be doing it on principle!

That a state agency could legally sell off public lands donated to the state by conservation organizations is a travesty. A sealed bid land sale is scheduled to begin on the 31st of this month. It would be a sad commentary on Texas and its people if the sale is allowed to proceed.


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