Emerson Opposes Plan to Sell Portions of Mark Twain National Forest

MARCH 17, 2006 - Posted at 4:47 p.m. CST

WASHINGTON - Southeast Missouri Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson joined U.S. Senators Jim Talent and Kit Bond today in writing USDA Undersecretary Mark Rey in opposing a legislative proposal to grant the Bush Administration the authority to sell portions of the Mark Twain National Forest.  The legislative proposal, released yesterday by the Forest Service, did not change the formula for how much Missouri schools would gain from the proposed land sale compared with other states.

"We support funding for rural schools, but the Forest Service has failed to prove how the proposed land sale will benefit Missouri," Emerson, Bond and Talent wrote.  "Additionally, the way this proposal is structured, Missouri would sell 21,56 acres of Mark Twain National Forest, while collecting only $2.64 million in revenue for our rural schools.  In contrast, many western states are scheduled to sell far fewer acres, while receiving substantial returns."

The Mark Twain National Forest is a series of land tracts throughout southern and central Missouri covering 29 counties in the state.