Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-Calif.) has broached the idea of selling to developers Theodore Roosevelt Island Park on the Potomac River, the memorial to America's greatest conservation president. The House Resources Committee chairman, who will have a key role in drafting budget reconciliation legislation this fall, also has broached the idea of selling 15 other national parks [Metro, Sept. 27].
Mr. Pombo's part in the budget legislation is to find $2.4 billion in revenue. He wants to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil leasing, and barring that, he says, he'll be forced to propose the national park sales. What an absurd argument. The target figure, $2.4 billion, is one one-thousandth of the federal budget. Surely Congress can find $2.4 billion in lard to cut out of the budget. Surely Congress can learn the conservative arts of fiscal responsibility and protecting America's heritage.
Republicans for Environmental Protection
The House Resources Committee should get more creative if its members want to raise more than $2.4 billion. Why limit themselves to the commercial development of Theodore Roosevelt Island and other parks and historical sites? I recommend that they expand their "brainstorming" to include these potential revenue generators:
* Hold a yard sale on the Mall and sell the contents of the Smithsonian museums.
* Offer naming rights to corporations and individuals for federal buildings and military installations.
* Sell Yellowstone National Park to an entertainment conglomerate.
* Open Special Operations training camps with SEALs, Rangers and Special Forces as exclusive fantasy camps.
* Acquire a tax preparation chain and let the IRS operate it.
* Empty the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and the New Executive Office Building and rent the space to lobbyists and corporations.
GEORGE F. FRANKS III