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Old 01-12-2009, 02:04 PM
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Grumpy Grumpy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Kennewick, WA
Posts: 583

The second paragraph is important!! Still 2 more hurdles to get over. Start making phone calls!!!!!
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In an unusual weekend session, the Senate cleared a procedural hurdle Sunday, January 11 toward passing an omnibus bill that would designate large tracts of new wilderness nationwide.

Senators voted 66-12 to invoke cloture on a motion to proceed to the bill (S 22), with the next step another procedural vote on Wednesday, followed by a vote on passage to be held Thursday or Friday. Sponsors have been trying to pass similar legislation for the past several months. The major obstacle to passage has been Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, who used procedural tactics to block or delay votes.

The package combines more than 160 public lands bills introduced in the 110th Congress. Senator Coburn said the bill would authorize wasteful spending and block energy production on some federal lands. He also objected to what he said was a larger trend for Democrats to block the minority from offering any amendments.

Coburn said he will continue to throw up procedural hurdles every step of the way. He said that he planned to go to the floor to talk about amendments that he would like (but is not being allowed to) offer. The bill would designate more than 2 million acres of new wilderness areas, in addition to scenic rivers, historic sites and expansions of national parks. It would authorize new water projects and allow three water settlements in Western states.

Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, is backing a provision that would withdraw about 1.2 million acres in his state from oil and gas development. He said this action will be a legacy for the late Senator Craig Thomas, who occupied Barrasso’s seat until he died in 2007. “There are certain places that are so special and so pristine that they need to be protected for future generations,” Barrasso said.

The bill would also codify a National Landscape Conservation System that President Bill Clinton established by executive order. The goal is to improve management of federal land that is already protected. A number of Republicans say this will lead to new restrictions on land use, though supporters say this is not their intent.

Several environmental groups oppose a section that would allow a new road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, providing airport access to the remote village of King Cove. The road has been a priority for the Alaska delegation and Republican Governor Sarah Palin. In a letter to Senate leadership on Friday, however, environmentalists urged support for an amendment Coburn offered to remove this part of the bill.

“The proposed road is not needed,” the groups wrote, arguing that the airport is already accessible by hovercraft.

Some of the bill’s largest new wilderness protections include:

• 517,000 acres of wilderness in Idaho’s Owyhee-Bruneau Canyonlands.
• About 256,000 acres of wilderness in Washington County, Utah, including in Zion National Park.
• Almost 250,0000 wilderness acres in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
• 128,000 acres of wilderness around Mt. Hood in Oregon.
Dave Walters
Tri Cities Peak Putters
Land Use Coordinator

It's a Scout thing
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