First wilderness and conservation bills pass important Senate test

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

flickr, DanielleWalquistLynch

One of the first “tests” a bill has to “pass” is to get through the relevant U.S. Senate Committee.

Well, just this week the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources passed 19 wilderness and public lands protection measures. These bills are now eligible for passage out of the Senate and ultimately to become the law of the land!

These same bills were previously approved by the committee during the 112th Congress, but failed to become law along with dozens of other conservation and wilderness bills. The 112th Congress was the first Congress since 1966 to not protect a single acre of Wilderness. It was also the first Congress since World War II to not protect a single new acre of public land as a Park, National Monument, or Wilderness Area.

Of the nearly two-dozen bills, we are particularly pleased to see the following measures move:

  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act (S.23) would designate approximately 32,557 acres of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as Wilderness. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Carl Levin (MI) and co-sponsored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI).
  • Devil's Staircase Wilderness Act of 2013 (S. 352) would designate approximately 30,540 acres of National Forest and BLM lands in the central Oregon Coast Range into the National Wilderness Preservation System. It would also include about 10.4 miles of Wasson and Franklin Creeks into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (OR) and co-sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR).
  • Oregon Caves Revitalization Act of 2013 (S. 354) would expand the Oregon Caves National Monument. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (OR) and co-sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR).
  • Illabot Creek Wild & Scenic River (S. 383) would amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate a segment of Illabot Creek in Skagit County as a component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (WA) and co-sponsored by Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA).
  • White Clay Creek Wild and Scenic River Expansion Act of 2013 (S. 393) would designate additional segments and tributaries of White Clay Creek as Wild and Scenic Rivers. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Chris Coons (DE) and co-sponsored by Sen. Tom Carper (DE).
  • Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act (S. 112) would protect an additional 22,000 acres of Wilderness adjoining the existing Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area and would designate nearly 30 miles of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and 10 miles of the Pratt River as Wild and Scenic Rivers. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (WA) and co-sponsored by Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA). See map below:

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Please ask Congress to pass wilderness bills this year to continue our wild heritage! 

 

TWS Comments_SENR Markup_March 14 2013

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