Important Update – Big Win on Key Access Issue
Congress has avoided a government shutdown and an access crisis by crafting a Continuing Resolution (CR) that has been agreed to by House and Senate leaders. The CR legislation for Fiscal Year 2011 includes a provision that limits the use of funds for the Department of Interior (DOI) to “implement, administer, or enforce” Secretarial Order 3310 (also known as the "Wild Lands" policy). This means that DOI cannot implement its Wild Lands Initiative in Fiscal Year 2011, which ends on September 30th 2011. This will give valuable time to key Congressional leaders to permanently stop Secretarial Order 3310.
As you know, the Wild Lands Initiative gives the BLM immediate authority to "designate appropriate areas with wilderness characteristics under its jurisdiction as 'Wild Lands' and to manage them to protect their wilderness values." This is clearly at odds with the Wilderness Act, which provides sole authority to designate areas as wilderness to the Congress.
Secretary Salazar unveiled the Wild Lands Initiative over the Christmas Holiday and friends of sustainable access immediately jumped in to fight back. The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on this issue and others have weighed in as well to make sure access and multiple use is protected on BLM lands.
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA), National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) and House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Chairman Mike Simpson (R-ID) have provided key leadership to advance this issue, but there will be more work to do to.
ARRA will continue to keep you apprised of developments and opportunities to weigh in.
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