Thursday, January 20, 2011

We are and should remain "The Natural State"

I am proud to live in "The Natural State." I love to boast to all my friends about how Arkansans care about the environment, evident by our state slogan.

There is an effort in the Arkansas House to change that defining phrase. A bill sponsored by Rep. David Sanders, R-Little Rock--House Bill 1005--proposes changing the state's slogan back to "The Land of Opportunity," its former nickname.

The initiative was discussed in the Government Affairs Committee. Thank goodness, legislators didn't act. According to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, there are concerns about the cost of changing the name even though the change would not mandate changing license plates or by tourism.

Sanders claims there is no cost claims. He says the effort is about a vision.

Our state's vision is my concern as well. I like the message provided by "The Natural State." Our uniquely natural environment is our best opportunity, one that is enviable. I would hate to see our state mirror other states whose focus is strictly economic development over that of the environment. I would never want to see the Arkansas legislature turn its back on the environment in favor of concrete and asphalt and border-to-border building as has been done elsewhere.

Costs must be measured beyond dollars and cents. In my view, this is one change that isn't needed. And it is certainly is one we can afford.