February 2009 Congresssional Update on Wilderness Bills
Author: teddygirl | Thursday April 09, 2009
The following is from Campaign for Americas Wilderness, an organization that is working to achieve lasting protection for threatened wild lands.
When the January newsletter was published, readers were left on the edge of their seats, waiting to see how the Omnibus Public Land Management Act (S. 22) would fare in the Senate after a week of navigating procedural votes.
We have good news... on January 15, the public lands bill had a resounding victory in the Senate, with a final vote of 73-21!
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman worked tirelessly to bring S. 22 to the Senate Floor — we applaud their leadership and perseverance.
S. 22 is a large package of more than 150 bipartisan, broadly supported bills, including 16 measures to protect wilderness across nine states. Many of the provisions have been developed over years of extensive collaboration at federal, state, county, and local levels, in conjunction with elected officials, businesses, community leaders, outdoor enthusiasts, and other stakeholders. Some have been waiting for Floor consideration for almost two years.
With the Senate’s strong suport, we’ve entered the last stages in securing permanent protection for two million acres of federal land, which, when enacted, will mark the single largest addition to the National Wilderness Preservation System in fifteen years.
View the wilderness provisions in more detail.
In addition to the wilderness initiatives, the package would:
* Establish three new units of the National Park System, a new National Monument, and four new National Conservation Areas
* Codify the Save America’s Treasures and Preserve America historic preservation programs
* Designate over 1,000 miles of new additions to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System
* Designates four new national scenic or national historic trails, enlarges the boundaries of several existing units of the National Park System
* Establish 10 new national heritage areas
* Formally establish the National Landscape Conservation System
* Through a number of separate bills, help address critical water resource needs on both the local and national level
* Ratify three extremely important water settlements in the States of California, Nevada, and New Mexico
While Senate passage of S. 22 sets a great tone for the new Congress, the package still needs to clear the House. We are hopeful this will happen in the next few days.
For more information, visit Campaign for Americas Wilderness website.