Wilderness areas could be voted on this week


The U.S. Senate may vote as early as Sunday on the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009, which contains two proposed wilderness areas in southwestern Oregon among its more than 150 public lands, water and resources bills.

The legislation containing the proposed 23,000-acre Soda Mountain Wilderness in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and the roughly 13,700-acre Copper Salmon Wilderness in the Elk River drainage near Port Orford was introduced Wednesday morning …

"In the best of circumstances it would be voted on Sunday," Towslee said of the omnibus package which was blocked in the last Congress by a filibuster threat from Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

…After the omnibus package was derailed by Coburn at the end of the last Congress, it had been expected that an economic stimulus package would be among the first of the bills to be acted on in the new session. A delay on that bill provided an opening for the omnibus legislation to move forward. Supporters say there are enough votes on both sides of the aisle to overcome Coburn's opposition.