had been receiving signals that some of our arguments were resonating with the commissioners, particularly with respect to the projected cost savings of closing the base ... Not only did I become more optimistic, but I was confident that our odds had improved significantly. I am pleased that those signals were accurate and that we can celebrate today.
This is a terrific opportunity to shine a spotlight on important issues surrounding Black Hills National Forest, including forest health and wildfire prevention. Ensuring appropriate forest policy is essential not only to preserving South Dakota's wonderful natural resources, but to our tourism and economy as well.
Over the past several days I have followed closely the devastating and heartbreaking effects of Hurricane Katrina on our fellow Americans and I have asked myself how I can help. I hope this information is helpful to those who wish to help, and I join all South Dakotans in sending my thoughts and prayers to the victims of this disaster.