Environment: 5,000 Fewer Billboards

With a blast at "creeping ugliness," Interior Secretary Walter J. Hickel this week banned all roadside commercial billboards from 470 million acres of public timber and grazing lands under his jurisdiction. About 5,000 signs, mainly in the Western states and Alaska, will come down as the owners' current permits expire. Another 800,000 billboards—expressly forbidden by the Highway Beautification Act of 1965—seem to be immune. Although the Senate has passed legislation to compensate billboard owners for removing these signs, further action has been held up in the House Public Works Committee.


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