Burn, Baby, Burn


As the May forest fire started by the U.S. Forest Service burned down more than 18,000 acres of forest and 400 homes in New Mexico, members of the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Conservation and Reinvestment Act. The bill, which President Clinton promises to sign if it passes the Senate, allows the government to spend up to $3 billion a year for the next 15 years to buy additional land for parks and conservation programs.

The bill not only assumes a level of competence that the New Mexico debacle undercuts, it ignores a $5 billion maintenance backlog on lands the federal government already owns. Apparently, owning more than 60 percent of Nevada is not enough to, in the words of Al Gore, "ensure that our children and grandchildren will be able to experience the majesty of the untouched forest."