Statement of Wilderness Society President on Senate of Passage Omnibus Public Land Management Act

Jan 15, 2009

WASHINGTON — This is a great day for American wilderness and for America. Today’s action clears the way for protecting some of the country’s most cherished landscapes. If signed into law, this legislation would provide for the greatest expansion of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 15 years.

Americans can rest a bit easier today because the Senate has taken an important step to permanently safeguard some of our unprotected wild areas. Our last untouched public lands face tremendous development pressures. Today’s action will help ensure that these undeveloped landscapes will provide natural sanctuaries for all Americans to enjoy.

We remain disappointed that the Izembek provision is included in this otherwise stellar legislation and will continue to work to ensure that this valuable and unique wilderness and wildlife resource remains protected. Overall, however, we are thrilled that the Senate has taken this important step to preserve some of America’s most valued landscapes as wilderness, and we urge the House to pass the bill quickly.

We thank Senator Bingaman for his tireless efforts in drafting and advancing this legislation, Senator Reid for his continued leadership, the numerous Senators who crafted proposals to protect America’s special places, and the Senators who voted to support this landmark legislation.