Calling it "political mumbo jumbo," County Executive Habern W. Freeman has vetoed an environmental land-preservation bill that the County Council passed in time for Tuesday's election.
The bill, approved by the council late last month, would have created an environmental land-preservation commission that would coordinate preservation of environmentally sensitive land with the state environmental land trust program.
The bill was set up to protect sensitive areas that might not be protected under other preservation programs, such as the agricultural preservation program.
"It was nothing but political mumbo jumbo," Freeman said Thursday.
"There was no funding attached. And there's nothing in that bill that we can't do already."
Council President Jeffrey D. Wilson and members J. Robert Hooper, D-District D, and J. Frederick Hatem, D-District F, sponsored the bill.
Wilson reacted bitterly to Freeman's veto and statement about the council's intentions with the bill.
"Apparently Mr. Freeman's been having problems adjusting to the fact that he's leaving office," he said. "And it seems he's taken it upon himself to kick virtually ever friend he's made in eight years so he doesn't have to say good-bye to anybody. I'm sorry he found it necessary to take an anti-environmental position in his kicking of me."
But Freeman denied that was the case, reiterating his own accusation that the bill represented pre-election posturing on the part of the council members.
"It just creates another committee," he said. "Like we need another committee. They don't even allude to how they'll fund it if they wanted to buy land. The people who advised me laughed at it. The bill sounds great, but it doesn't really do anything."
Wilson said the newly elected council, which is to meet Dec. 4, could override the veto at its first session.