This just in by email from Mr. Jones:
Washington, D.C. - Third District Representative Walter B. Jones (R-NC) has joined Reps. Ric Keller (R-FL) and Ben Chandler (D-KY) and other lawmakers in voicing his strong opposition to the Administration's fiscal year 2007 budget proposal to sell 304,000 acres of national forest in 41 states in order to fund a five-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act.
Congressman Jones joined the lawmakers in signing a letter that will be sent to House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle and Ranking Member David John Spratt detailing their opposition to the sale.
"I strongly oppose the Administration's proposal to sell these extensive tracts of our national forests, including 10,000 acres in North Carolina," Congressman Jones said.
"This proposal would set a dangerous precedent if enacted," the letter states. "Congress should not develop the habit of selling treasured public lands to the highest bidder as a means of temporarily plugging gaps in the budget."
"Our national forests provide recreation for millions of citizens a year in the form of hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, swimming, boating, skiing and enjoying the serenity of the outdoors," the letter continues. "The forests are also important for watershed purposes and provide habitat for thousands of species."
"We urge you to craft a budget that protects our public lands and finds alternative funding sources for any extension of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act," the letter concludes.