Teddy Bear News

Congress Working on Expanding Wilderness
Author: teddygirl | Thursday December 06, 2007

The following is from the Campaign for America's Wilderness, an organization that is working to achieve lasting protection for threatened wild lands.

IN THE HOUSE - VA Wilderness Bill Passes

On October 23rd, the House of Representatives passed by a unanimous voice-vote a major piece of wilderness legislation. Sponsored by Representative Rick Boucher of Virginia’s 9th Congressional District, H.R. 1011, the Virginia Ridge and Valley Act of 2007, will protect approximately 54,000 acres within the Jefferson National Forest through the designation of wilderness, wilderness additions and wilderness study areas, as well as the establishment of new National Scenic Areas.

Supported by a bipartisan group of Members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation, the legislation also has the backing of local County Boards of Supervisors, businesses, faith groups, the Virginia Board of Tourism, local hunters, and the International Mountain Bicycling Association. All of the new wilderness and National Scenic Area designations are endorsed by either the U.S. Forest Service or the Board of Supervisors of the County in which they are located.

The Senate is expected to take up S. 570, the bipartisan companion bill to H.R. 1011, in the near future. This measure was introduced by Virginia’s two Senators, John Warner (R) and Jim Webb (D).

IN THE SENATE - Preparations to Move Omnibus Package of Environmental Bills

In an effort to overcome a logjam of parks, forestry and wilderness bills waiting for Senate Floor consideration, Senator Bingaman recently introduced two comprehensive measures that incorporate a number of these bills that have been held up through a procedural motion by one Senator. S. 2179, the National Forests, Parks, Public Land, and Reclamation Projects Authorization Act, and S. 2180, the Natural Resource Projects and Programs Authorization Act, were introduced on October 17. Senator Bingaman intends to bring these measures to the Floor for a vote by the full Senate in the near future.

S. 2179 contains the provisions of the Wild Sky Wilderness Act (S. 520/H.R. 886) and other House-passed bills that were either un-amended or had only minor changes made during consideration by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. 2180 incorporates various Senate bills, as well as House-passed bills that were substantively amended by the Committee, and includes the provisions of S. 647, the Lewis and Clark Mount Hood Wilderness Act.

For more information, visit Campaign for America's Wilderness' website.

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