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ANOTHER MICKEY MOUSE DISPUTE

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Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado said it best: "The U.S. Senate has no business refereeing every Mickey Mouse dispute around the country."

The pun was intentional but no apologies are in order since Campbell was enunciating an important principle. He spoke during a hearing this week by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee, which is reacting to the proposed Disney's America historical theme park in northern Virginia. Actually, the subcommittee is overreacting.Like some historians and environmentalists, the subcommittee worries that the theme park and adjacent developments would pollute the air, cause traffic congestion, and take away from the serenity of the Manassas battlefield and other historic sites in the area.

But the proposed development would take place on privately owned land located five miles away from the Manassas national battlefield. No federal land would be directly affected. No park structure would be visible from any point on the battlefield. Disney officials have pledged to abide by federal environmental and transportation regulations and to preserve the integrity of the national parkland.

Consequently, this matter can and should be dealt with by state and local officials on the basis of existing zoning laws. Federal officials have no monopoly on wisdom and morality. The Senate subcommittee should butt out.

If the federal nannies won't mind their own business, plenty of other states would be happy to get the Disney historical theme park, which would create 20,000 new jobs, $238 million in new wages, and $47 million in new state revenue each year.

But if any other states are interested in this plum, they evidently had better be states in which the know-it-all federal government is not a major landlord.