Landowners in and around Fort Hood have been receiving millions of dollars from Texas A&M to participate in a secretive Pentagon program whose goal is to protect endangered species.
According to The Dallas Morning News, “the program – which does not disclose the landowners’ identities, the amounts they receive or precisely where their properties are located – aims to provide ranchers with expertise and financial incentives to expand habitat for the endangered golden-cheeked warbler.”
To date an estimated $4.4 million has been doled out by the Aggies, specifically, Texas A&M’s Institute of Renewable Natural Resources.
Critics are vocal:
Despite complaints that the program is a boondoggle for the landowners, some federal officials are pushing to replicate it at other military sites and in federal highway projects. The program’s effectiveness has been questioned by several military officials, federal wildlife authorities and an independent consulting firm, which recommended that the Army cancel it.
But supporters are many, including Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, who helped start the project when she was the state’s agriculture commissioner.
Read more at:
Pentagon Bird Deal Criticized, Dallas Morning News, February 10, 2009.