NEWS RELEASE from the office of Senator John Whitmire

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6, 2007
CONTACT:
Lara Wendler
(512) 463-0115

Whitmire calls on Commissioner Patterson to halt efforts to sell Christmas Mountains

AUSTIN, Texas -- In a letter sent today to Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, State Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston) said it is nuts to sell the Christmas Mountains to the private sector. "As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Legislative Budget Board and a Texan, I am asking my good friend Jerry Patterson to give the Texas Legislature and state leadership the opportunity to determine what is in the best interest for the future of this valuable state asset," said Senator John Whitmire.

"Not only is it ill-conceived to sell off public land to the private sector, it sends a dangerous message to anyone who is considering donating wilderness land or parks to the State of Texas," said Whitmire. "Instead of selling Christmas Mountains because there is no public access, we should be working with the neighboring landowners and using our available measures to solve the issue of access to the land," stated the Senator. "In terms of the resources to make improvements on the land, we have a ready labor pool in our state prison system. Putting our state prisoners to work in Christmas Mountains would be a win-win situation benefiting both taxpayers and our inmates."

"With the number of people moving to Texas every day and the rapid development in our state, we should be protecting our public lands for generations of Texans to enjoy, not selling it to the highest bidder," commented Whitmire. "We can continue to build more malls, office buildings, and condos; but we will never be able to produce more precious, undeveloped land."

"On behalf of all Texans who value our public lands, I urge Commissioner Patterson to reconsider the sale, thank the final bidders for their interest, and remove the Christmas Mountains from the auction block," stated Senator John Whitmire.

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