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Forever Wild Talking Points

Below are twelve talking points to be used when you call members of the Legislature. Those groups in favor of re-authorizing Forever Wild have been blasting them with phone calls but so have we, and we are starting to have a strong impact. We can’t out spend them so we have to out last them! We must keep up a steady drum beat of opposition and let our Legislators know that we will not go away, that we are recording their votes and that we will remember whether they responded to the needs of the people, the conservatives who elected them, or to the liberals who want to just use them and will not vote for them anyway.

Study these points carefully so that you can defend your position if challenged. Then pick out a couple of these talking points and use them as the basis of your first day’s calls. Then the next day, pick out a couple more and use them as the basis of those calls and so on. Activate your CALL LIST and your email list and keep calling, and calling and keep the pressure on.

The only way to stop these big government take-over is to “take away their money.”

The Senate is very important but the House is also still in play. The Forever Wild Bill has NOT been passed out of the House Rules Committee yet, so we also need to focus on the members of the House Rules Committee. At the end of this document is a list of people who are the most critical for you to call. Please use this list first! Then call ALL of your own district Senators and Representatives and any others you think might be important.

I know that this process takes both time and money but remember, we can either fight and defeat them now…. or we can fight them for the next twenty years and probably lose in the end.

Talking Points for Phone Calls

(1) What part of “ALABAMA IS BROKE” do these Legislators not understand? Especially in these times of economic crisis, when we do not have money to waste, we need and want smaller, more efficient and less intrusive government. Have these politicians already forgotten their campaign promises and why we elected them?

(2) Forever Wild is already funded through October 2012. (So, what is the rush?) Why are the supporters of Forever Wild pushing so hard to fund it early? Who is profiting from this program and what are we NOT being told?

(3) If the Legislature does nothing, Forever Wild will still get nearly four million dollars a year, (two and a half percent of all future incoming trust fund money) for so-called maintenance expenses. Therefore, none of their presently owned property is in jeopardy. Or if they choose to use that money at a later date to purchase additional land- instead of for maintenance - that much money will buy 1875 acres of new land, (at an average cost of two thousand dollars per acre), every single year thereafter, or, as in the case of the “Walls of Jericho,” where the average cost was 750 dollars per acre, this would amount to 5,333 acres of new land purchased every year. That is a tract eight miles wide by one mile deep.

(4) Just how much of the state do these folks want to take? When is enough - enough?

(5) We must also consider the impact of Forever Wild purchases on our local and our state government’s tax bases and its negative effects on the taxpayers. Remember none of these Forever Wild properties pay taxes. Therefore, every acre placed under their control is removed from the tax rolls. This means that the remaining property owners must pay higher taxes to make up the short fall or local services and needed government functions such as police and fire protection must be curtailed.

(6) “At a time when, according to Gov. Bentley, the state is cutting funding for (1) state parks, which are already open and easily accessible to all our citizens and which by the way, bring in much needed tourist dollars, (2) forest protection which would keep these state parks, private property and Forever Wild lands from burning down, and (3) other public property which all taxpayers can presently enjoy, why is Forever Wild so important that you would defund these programs which benefit everyone and fund Forever Wild for the use of a few?

(7) In 1992 when Alabama voters approved this program, they did so with the understanding that Forever Wild was a twenty year program that would be thoroughly re-evaluated at the end of the twenty years; otherwise, the money would revert to the Alabama Trust Fund.
This is the exact wording of the Forever Wild Amendment as stated on the 1992 ballot: “providing that, after the state's 2011-12 fiscal year revenues directed to said land trust shall be paid to the Alabama Trust Fund, with the exception of 2.5% of such revenues needed to continue funding of the stewardship account or as provided by the Legislature,” (Money to purchase additional land was to terminate in 2012 unless the re-evaluation was done.) Why has this re-evaluation not been done? And why is this re-authorization being pushed through over a year early?

(8) By the way, you don’t need to worry about hunters being endangered either. There are thousands (I have seen estimates of between five and six thousand) private hunting clubs who lease hunting rights on private property in Alabama, plus untold thousands of farmers and ranchers who actually hunt on their own land. These folks don’t depend on the taxpayers to furnish them with a place to hunt. Imagine that! Does Alabama really need to start a welfare program for hunters? What is next, are we going to buy them guns, ammo and four-wheelers at taxpayer’s expense too?

(9) Since Forever Wild stated in its answer to Senator Sanford concerning “mineral rights” that, Quote:” No mineral rights were acquired in many of the Forever Wild acquisitions.” Then who owns the mineral rights under Forever Wild properties? Did the previous owners have a “sweet-heart deal” where they kept the mineral rights or timber rights or has Forever Wild just sold them? (What is to prevent the rightful owners of the mineral rights from strip mining Forever Wild property for coal, drilling for oil or natural gas, removing subsoil deposits containing chirt, or blasting and crushing granite formations for road building or construction materials? How can Forever Wild possibly claim to be preserving land for future generations when they do not hold the mineral rights? Anyone should understand that, so why have the mineral rights not been purchased by Forever Wild on these tracts?

(10) It appears that properties and easements owned or controlled by the Forever Wild trust are being used as collateral for bond sales and are also being listed as assets by the state of Alabama to improve their bond rating. Why would they mortgage property supposedly preserved for future generations? Why does the Forever Wild trust have a DUN and BRAD STREET ACCOUNT?

(11) In regard to another answer provided to Senator Sanford, it was stated that Forever Wild had provided 224 miles of new trails to Alabama. But they also stated that only 30 miles of trail were associated with hiking/backpacking. If this other 194 miles of trail is not even suitable for humans to walk on, then what are they used for? For people who claim that their land is open to the public this seems like a very small amount of hiking trails. Why are we being misled about public assess?

(12) Recently an individual, who is known to be a hard core environmentalist, passionately discussed with one of our State Senators his desire that Forever Wild re-introduce Buffalo and elk to Alabama. Alabama livestock producers should be VERY concerned about this. Buffalo and elk carry Brucellosis. In states like Montana diseases carried by bison have destroyed their disease free status and greatly harmed local agriculture, so why would the trustees of Forever Wild want to do something so destructive to Alabama’s livestock industry?

(Phone numbers to call in Senate
Especially if you are in their district.)

Del Marsh - 334-242-7877
Scott Beason – 334-242-7794
Arthur Orr – 334-242-7891
Gerald Allen 334-242-7889
Cam Ward 334-242-7873
Paul Bussman 334-242-7855

The House members listed below need to be called ASAP
And told that we DO NOT WANT FOREVER WILD to be re-authorized!!

Also call every House Member and Senator that is in your district and tell them the same thing.

(Secretary- Maggie Harmon, 7673)

Chairperson - Blaine Galliher (R) Gadsden, 334-242-7674

Vice Chairperson - Ron Johnson (R) Sylacauga, 334-242-7777

Ranking Minority Member - James Buskey (D) Mobile, 334-242-7757

Barbara Bigsby Boyd (D) Anniston, 334-242-7692

Craig Ford (D) Gadsden, 334-242-7690

Victor Gaston (R) Mobile, 334-242-7664

Lynn Greer (R) Rogersville, 334-242-7576

Todd Greeson (R) Ider, 334-242-7743

Mike Jones (R) Andalusia, 334-242-7739

Richard Laird (D) Roanoke, 334-242-7744

John Merrill (R) Tuscaloosa, 334-242-7554

Kerry Rich (R) Boaz, 334-242-7538

Oliver Robinson (D) Birmingham, 334-242-7769

Elwyn Thomas (R) Oneonta, 334-242-7762

Randy Wood (R) Anniston, 334-242-7700

Please activate your CALL CIRCLES and email lists.
The Time to make a difference is now!

Ken Freeman
for Take Back Alabama & Alliance for Citizen’s Rights