About Wilderness Under Siege

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Several bills in Congress aim to strip wilderness protections and undermine the Wilderness Act and Antiquities Acts, which are important wilderness designation tools.

Among the threatening legislation are bills that would:

  • Give the U.S. Border Patrol control over public wild lands near the Mexican and Canadian borders
  • Destroy the Antiquities Act, which the president uses to designate monuments
  • Open the Arctic to drilling

Learn more about these and other Wilderness Under Siege bills, and help us stop them in their tracks.

The Great Outdoors Giveaway

The granddaddy of the attacks on our wildlands, The Great Outdoors Giveaway (HR 1581), would eliminate the Forest Service’s roadless rule.

The roadless rule protects more than 58 million roadless acres of national forest land and 6.7 million roadless acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wilderness study areas. This Great Outdoors Giveaway gives corporate polluters and developers more access to public lands, though they already have access to 76 percent of all national forests and Bureau of Land Management lands.

Learn more about the Great Outdoors Giveaway.

The Border Patrol Takeover Act

This bill (HR 1505) gives the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “operational control” of federal lands within 100 miles of the Mexican and Canadian borders. This includes national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands.

The bill exempts the DHS from having to comply with dozens of environmental, public land management and religious freedom statutes. Under this bill, some of our nation’s most iconic places could be at risk, including:

  • North Cascades National Park in Washington
  • Big Bend National Park in Texas
  • Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania
  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota
  • Glacier National Park in Montana

Learn more about the Border Patrol Takeover Act.

End the National Monuments acts

Eight different bills have been introduced that have the sole purpose of damaging the Antiquities Act. Passed in 1906, the Antiquities Act is an important tool for wilderness protection. Republican and Democratic presidents have used it for more than 100 years to protect iconic places, such as:

  • The Grand Canyon in Arizona
  • Muir Woods in California
  • Devil’s Tower in Wyoming

The Antiquities Act gives the president authority to designate national monuments. These eight bills would gut the Antiquities Act and threaten its role as a designation tool.

Learn more about the End the National Monuments acts.

Drill the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Act

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is under attack again. The Drill the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Act would open up the Arctic Refuge to oil and gas drilling. It would undermine the protections now afforded to “America’s Serengeti Plain.” The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most environmentally sensitive areas in the country to oil and gas development. And the case for drilling in the Arctic Refuge has been repeatedly debunked. Yet, as this bill shows, some members of Congress continue their fight to open up this area to drilling.

Learn more about the Drill the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Act.

The Motorize our Wilderness Areas Act

The Motorize our Wilderness Areas Act might be the nerviest all sneak attacks on the Wilderness Act. This act is a Trojan horse — on the surface, it seems to give hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists more access to wilderness areas they enjoy. However, this bill contains within it a provision that would open pristine, designated wilderness to motorized use. This would actually do the opposite of the bill’s intent — it would limit recreation opportunities and open untouched backcountry to development.

Learn more about the Motorize our Wilderness Areas Act.

Mining the Grand Canyon for Uranium Act

This bill, HR 3155, would open up uranium mining near the Grand Canyon. This could cause a rush to stake mining claims in environmentally sensitive areas and give large mining corporations unfettered access to one of our most iconic National Parks.

Learn more about the Mining in the Grand Canyon for Uranium Act.

30 Million Acre Giveaway Act

The 30 Million Acre Giveaway Act, HR 2852, requires that the federal government give away 5% of unappropriated public lands to each western state. “Unappropriated lands” is a term that includes national forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. This act would give away roughly 30 million acres of federal public lands, including national forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, to developers and others who may profit off public lands. The 30 Million Acre Giveaway Act would be a bonanza for western land developers and a big hit to American taxpayers, who would lose their public land for the private gain of a few. 

Learn more about the 30 Million Acre Giveaway Act.