The Defense Bill soon headed to the Senate after passage in the House has been loaded with damaging provisions to public land, Wilderness, and our bedrock environmental laws. Once again, “must-pass” legislation is being used as a vehicle for harmful public-land riders that include:
• terrible public land giveaways
• an exchange of federal land sacred to the Apache to a foreign-owned mining company
• a rewrite of livestock-grazing laws that gives ranchers even more freedom to despoil public land
• a giveaway of 70,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest to Sealaska Corporation, notorious for scorched-earth logging practices, and
• provisions harmful to the integrity of Wilderness.
The few gains for Parks and Wilderness in the bill are far outstripped by provisions that would have negative, long-term impact on public land protections.
This is a Defense Bill—yet 449 pages of it are dedicated to actions that will give away, sell off, weaken protections on, or facilitate development of public lands. Wilderness proposals in the bill would allow for helicopter use and habitat manipulation in Wilderness. Others would be worthy of support as stand-alone bills, but not as part of kitchen-sink legislation that harms our natural heritage.
Call, email, or fax your Senators as soon as you can: tell them to remove Title 30 (public lands’ provisions) from the Defense Bill. This is no way to pass major public land legislation. The bill will likely be voted on Thursday, so please contact your Senators TODAY! Thank you.
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WILDERNESS WATCH is America’s is leading organization dedicated to defending and keeping wild the nation’s 110 million-acre National Wilderness Preservation System. Our work is guided by the visionary 1964 Wilderness Act.
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