House passed bill threatens wild lands

Nov 20, 2013

US Capitol Building

Dept. of Education

A bill passed by the House of Representatives today will, if signed into law, hurt wild lands and western communities, according to The Wilderness Society.  The following statement can be attributed to Dave Alberswerth, senior policy advisor for The Wilderness Society.

“Today’s vote on H.R. 1965 is another attempt to give more favors to the oil and gas industry. It replaces commonsense planning in Alaska with unnecessary mandated drilling, throws out effective reforms to the Bureau of Land Management’s oil and gas leasing program, and penalizes communities that would be affected by reckless drilling. For example, if this bill became law, communities and other stakeholders challenging leasing decisions would first need to pay $5000 to exercise their rights and keep their water and air remains free of pollution from oil and gas operations on public lands.  

“On top of all of that it would make oil and gas drilling the main purpose of Bureau of Land Management lands – sacrificing prime wildlife habitat, fantastic hiking and biking trails, and potentially millions of acres of wild but unprotected public lands to oil and gas drilling.

“This proposal has appropriately drawn a veto threat from President Obama, and it is clear that this legislation would be disastrous for wild lands. The House should focus on bills with bipartisan support, rather than favors for the oil and gas industry.”