Lost Coast in California.
The 112th Congress and 2012 was filled with victories and challenges. Indeed, America’s wilderness experienced the good, the bad and the ugly.
In 2013, The Wilderness Society looks forward to continuing to work with President Obama to protect America’s wilderness that belongs to all of us. This year, the Obama administration has an opportunity to build on the work that has already been done to protect our natural heritage. From Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks in New Mexico to wildlife refuges across the United States, we believe that President Obama can seize the day and protect our wild legacy for future generations.
The 112th Congress proved to be the worst Congress ever for wilderness, failing to pass a single wilderness bill. While over two dozen locally driven wilderness bills stalled in Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a barrage of bills that put America’s wilderness under siege.
With the make-up in the House of Representatives roughly the same, we are looking to President Obama to create a natural legacy that rivals that of President Theodore Roosevelt. The Obama administration should take an all-of-the-above approach to conservation, by:
- Designating new national monuments in New Mexico, California, Washington and beyond;
- Creating new national wildlife refuges, like the Maine High Peaks National Wildlife Refuge, and others that serve as critical animal habitat across the United States;
- Protecting Special Areas for conservation in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, such as Teshekpuk Lake;
- Recommending to Congress to designate wilderness the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
- Guiding energy development away from sensitive public lands and to appropriate places through smart policy and leadership within the Department of Interior. This would include both leasing of oil and gas and renewable energy; and
- Urging Congress to reintroduce and pass wilderness bills that stalled during the 112th Congress.
Many challenges and opportunities await us this New Year. But with your help, we can make 2013 a winning year for wilderness and all of America’s wild places!