Bush’s Land for School Plan: Not Making the Grade

The Decider (a.k.a. our charming president) apparently has decided to follow the adage, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." We aren't referring to Iraq. Nope, we're talking about the Bush administration's plan to sell public lands to pay for rural schools. This hugely unpopular suggestion was booed off Capitol Hill last year, but according to a New West article, it's time for round two:

The new measure is identical to last year’s, but with four key changes largely aimed at criticisms lobbed by conservationists who blasted the administration for selling off public lands for what they said was inadequate funding by the administration.


Officials removed some 27,000 acres in 242 different parcels of National Forest land from the auction block in states like Arizona and Montana after determining they had qualities that had been overlooked. In addition to the $400 million intended to be generated for rural schools, and equal amount would be dedicated to buy desirable lands and protect habitat. That money would be divided based on the income generated from the sales, in response to criticism that states were losing public lands only to see that money flow to other states.  The proposal also calls for a national advisory committee to review each parcel.

With a Democrat-controlled Congress it seems likely this plan won’t pan out. But that will still leave rural schools—which have already cut back on activities and staff—in a bind. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) and other members of Congress, meanwhile, are working to come up with an alternative. Sounds like a good way to get things done—which makes us wonder: Is Bush trying to push this decision onto the next administration?  How decidedly un-Deciderly.