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ASK THE EXPERTS

Don’t overlook national legislation

POSTED: June 22, 2011 4:00 a.m.

In your June 8 article, "Legislation in the Wings," [by Rep. Amos Amerson] you alerted readers to many significant pieces of legislation that were not passed in the recent legislative session. I appreciated your publicity of these issues, and on a similar note, I would like to remind readers not to overlook the larger national pieces of legislation that have equal impact on our own backyards.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a great example of one of the important issues we are missing out on.

The Fund is used by agencies like the Forest Service to buy green space in and around critical habitats from willing sellers.

Over the years, the fund has helped to create the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area, preserve headwaters and wetlands, and to prevent the rush of new homes, stores and parking lots from gobbling up all of our green space.

Most importantly, the fund is sustained by money from offshore oil leasing, not from taxpayers, and it is the only national public fund we have as Americans to preserve and protect some of the most majestic places our country has to offer.

This year Forest Service employees recommended purchases near the Appalachian Trail, near the Cohutta Wilderness Area. Unfortunately, in the most recent budget agreement from Washington D.C., green space lost out and the fund was gutted, which meant no money for Georgia and many other green spaces around the country.

Just as you urged readers to be aware of the local issues up for debate in the 2012 legislative session, Georgia voters should take this opportunity to show our senators that we care about protecting our beautiful wilderness areas.

Senators Isakson and Chambliss are in a great position to make sure the fund does not fare the same in this budget cycle, and Georgia voters should make sure they stand up for conservation and green space.

Sarah Alexander
Environment Georgia
Atlanta

 

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