Friday, December 17, 2010

Reid files omnibus bill for national monuments, wilderness, wildlife, waterways, oceans

UPDATE, Dec. 21: "Efforts to salvage pieces of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's public lands, water and wildlife omnibus legislation are failing as senators place holds on bills offered for fast-track consideration," E & E reports. "Sponsors of some key proposals declared defeat today, while Republican leaders said there was too little time in the home stretch of the lame-duck session to work out outstanding concerns about the costs and economic and regulatory implications of the individual measures."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today filed a catch-all bill "aimed at improving and protecting public lands, waterways, ocean resources and wildlife -- which Republican leaders have already threatened to block," reports Paul Quinlan of Environment & Energy News. Prospects for passage in the final days of the lame-duck Congress are unclear.

The measure, called America's Great Outdoors Act, incorporates 100 separate bills passed by Senate committees; about half the bills have passed the House with broad support, Reid said. It would "designate new wilderness areas in three states; add 4,600 miles to the national trail system; preserve battlefield sites; protect marine turtles, sharks and great cats; and restore water bodies like Lake Tahoe, the Columbia River and the Long Island Sound, according to a news release," Quinlan writes. "The bill would also slow the decline in the world's shark populations and permanently authorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund." (Read more, subscription required)

The bill would add to the national park system the Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico and create the Waco-Mammoth National Monument in Texas and the Chimney Rock National Monument in Colorado. It would create national heritage areas in the Alabama Black Belt and the Susquehanna River Gateway, and the Devils' Staircase Wilderness Area in Oregon. For a copy of the bill, click here; subscription may be required.

1 comment:

Tom Ribe said...

I'm very happy that Reid has introduced this bill. Hundreds of people across the country who care about protecting local landscapes, heritage and wildlife have worked for years to get these bills to this point. We should honor that grassroots effort with full support and quick passage.