Article from DemocracyNow.Org

Page 2

Why, then, is Rick Perry so keen on selling off our public land to individuals and foreign companies? Rick Perry is so proud of Texas he is selling it.

Recently, Texas Parks & Wildlife warned that budget cutbacks ordered by Perry might require the sale or closure of 18 state parks. Also, Parks & Wildlife transferred 12,000 acres of the Black Gap Wildlife Area in Big Bend to the General Land Office so it can be sold.

This land is some of the most beautiful and important in our state. It includes Rio Grande River canyons considered among the wildest in America. A portion of the Rio Grande that runs through Black Gap has been designated a Wild and Scenic river by the federal government. And Perry's going to sell it.

Texas land is rough, tough, and ours. The Perry Administration is acting like a bunch of spoiled children who inherited a vast and wonderful estate. But rather than working the land to earn money, they are simply selling it off for short-term pocket change. Perry is squandering Texas' resources. His people are mismanaging those resources they are not squandering.

Closing state parks, selling state park land. It is another example of how little Perry cares for this state. Much like Perry's highway boondoggle, the Trans Texas Corridor. That plan contemplates selling more than a half million acres of Texas to a Spanish company, Cintra.

This parks crisis is not the fault of Texas Parks & Wildlife. I have spoken with officials there. They face an impossible task: managing Texas parks with too little money and no interest from Perry and his allies in the state Legislature.

I sympathize with the folks at Parks & Wildlife and hope that the growing statewide furor over the sale of public land and the closing of state parks helps get them the resources they need.

Since questions were first raised about the Black Gap sale, the lone bidder for the property has been turned down. But according to the General Land Office, the property remains for sale.

We ask that all of Black Gap be returned to Parks & Wildlife and taken off the real estate market. To their credit, Parks & Wildlife officials are willing to consider alternatives that will keep Black Gap open to all Texans.

Tell Governor Rick Perry and Jerry Paterson at the General Land Office to preserve Texas.

Parks make money for Texas. They bring jobs. They boost local economies. We ask that Governor Perry use a portion of the Texas Enterprise Fund, flush with tens of millions of dollars, to bail out our state park system.

Rather than use the Enterprise Fund to make millionaires out of Washington D.C. lobbyists and Tom DeLay cronies, the money ought to be invested in our state land for the benefit of all Texans.

We're talking about the soul of Texas. By selling our land and closing state parks, we are denying future generations what our parents and grandparents left to us. That is a disgrace.

Texans are organizing to stop the plundering. In Fort Worth, citizens are fighting the sale of Eagle Mountain Lake to private developers.

We have produced a brief film about Black Gap — "God's Country: For Sale" — that we will make available to organizers and activists throughout the state. It is available at YouTube.com, with links available at DriveDemocracy.org and at the Texas Progress Council.

The film tells the story of one place. But it's a story that's relevant to all our public land.

Watch the film and Tell Governor Rick Perry and Jerry Paterson at the General Land Office to preserve Texas.


Best,

Glenn Smith and Matt Glazer
DriveDemocracy.org