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22Sep/08Off

Partial list of wilderness bills in the 110th Congress and who supports them

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I am often asked questions related to who supports or opposes our form of recreation. The questions asked and my answers given cover a wide range of issues, but one of the biggest threats to our form of recreation is additional wilderness designations. I have decided to compile some of the information to elaborate further on the wilderness issue in this article.

Our members should all be aware by now, that SAWS does not support ANY additional wilderness acreage be added to the existing 107.5 million acres of current wilderness in the United States.

Additional wilderness can be proposed in many ways; through Forest Service Plan Revisions that may include Recommended Wilderness Areas (currently a huge issue in Montana), through proposals by extreme green groups that get support from an elected member of Congress, or through a member of Congress proposing a new wilderness bill of their own.   No matter which method of proposal has been used, a wilderness bill can not become law until the US House, the US Senate and the President of the United States all approve and sign off on the legislation. The legislation must first go through Congress before the bill can go to the President for his signature and finally become law. It should be noted however that the President can go around Congress and create a quasi-like wilderness designation through the use of Executive Orders. This is exactly what President Bill Clinton did with the Roadless Rule and numerous National Monuments. Not one of those designations went through Congress.

How does this process work you may ask? Whichever party controls the House gets to appoint all of the committee chairs, including the Chair of the committee that will determine which wilderness bills will be allowed to go forward for a full House vote (this process is basically the same in the Senate). If the controlling party (currently the Democrats control the House and Senate) want a bill to go forward for a full vote of the House or Senate, the Chair will allow the committee to vote on the bill. If the committee vote passes, the bill will then move out of the committee for a full vote of the House or Senate. On the other hand, if the Chair does not want a bill that may be proposed by the other party to go forward for a full vote of the House or Senate, the Chair will just kill the bill in the committee by not allowing a committee vote. If a bill does make it out of the committee and is passed by the House and Senate, the bill will then go to the President for his/her signature. If the President does not like the bill for various reasons, he/she can just veto the bill. The bill then goes back to Congress for possible changes the President might like to see, but if Congress can get 2/3 of the House and Senate to vote for the bill as previously written, then the President has no choice but to sign the bill and the bill will then becomes law.

As 501(c)(3) non-profit organization SAWS is forbidden from recommending and/or endorsing any candidates running for public office from any political party. SAWS is allowed to present facts and Congressional voting records to our members and the general public at large, which is exactly what I am doing below with a list of just a few of the wilderness bills and in the current 110th Congress with links to who supports them.

These bills range widely in the amount of new proposed wilderness acres, but the worst wilderness bill in this Congress is hands down H.R.1975. Most of you should recall our H.R.1975 SAWS Alert from last October. This bill is the grand daddy of all wilderness bills, and if enacted into law would designate over 21 million acres of wilderness in the states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.

Dave Hurwitz
Snowmobile Alliance of Western States

Copyright © 2008 Snowmobile Alliance of Western States. All Rights Reserved.

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A list of just a few of the wilderness bills in the current 110th Congress and who supports them!

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-1975

H.R.1975: Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act

To designate certain National Forest System lands and public lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior in the States of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming as wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, wildland recovery areas, and biological connecting corridors, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D-NY]  Cosponsors (139)

Bill Text:        Summary | Full Text

9 Republicans; 130 Democrats

The Wilderness Society statement on this bill -

This measure - introduced by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Christopher Shays (R-CT) on 4/20/07 - would designate over 22 million acres of wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, national park and preserve study areas, wild land recovery areas, and biological connecting corridors on certain public lands in the States of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.  The bill currently has 138 House co-sponsors.  A hearing was held in the House subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands on 10/18/07.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-39

H.R. 39: Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act

To preserve the Arctic coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, as wilderness in recognition of its extraordinary natural ecosystems and for the permanent good of present and future generations of Americans.

Sponsor:      Rep. Edward Markey [D-MA]   Cosponsors (149)

7 Republicans; 142 Democrats

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-2316

S. 2316: A bill to designate a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness

Sponsor:       Sen. Joseph Lieberman [I-CT]   Cosponsors (27)

Bill Text:       Summary | Full Text

1 Independent, 26 Democrats (including Sen. Obama and Sen. Biden)

 The Wilderness Society statement on these two bills on ANWR -

The Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act would designate the 1.5 million-acre coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as Wilderness. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced the measure in the House on 1/4/07 Public Lands, currently has 149 co-sponsors.  On  11/08/07 , Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) introduced the Senate version of this bill, which has 27 co-sponsors.  The bill was referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.. The bill, which has been referred to House subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h2008-226

House Vote On Passage: S. 2739: Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (which included the Wild Sky Wilderness in WA State)

Vote Number:    House Vote #226 in 2008 [primary source]

Date:                Apr 29, 2008 7:18PM

Result:              Passed

Related Bill:       S. 2739: Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008

Sponsor:      Sen. Jeff Bingaman [D-NM]

70 Republicans; 221 Democrats

The Wilderness Society statement on this new law (Public Law No.110-299) -

The [Wild Sky Wilderness] legislation was enacted into law on 5/8/08 Washington Mt.Baker-SnoqualmieNational Forest as Wilderness.  On 2/7/074/17/076/28/074/10/084/29/085/8/08..  The President signed the legislation into law on as part of a larger package of non-controversial public lands bills (S.2739).  The full House approved the legislation as part of (S.2739) on , the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved the Wild Sky Wilderness Act.  The full Senate approved the legislation on .  On , the measure was introduced by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA).  The bill was referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and House Committee on Natural Resources respectively.  The House approved the bill on ’s .  This bill protects approximately 106,000 acres in the Wild Sky region in

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-1919

H.R. 1919: America's Red Rock Wilderness Act of 2007

To designate as wilderness certain Federal portions of the red rock canyons of the Colorado Plateau and the Basin and Range Deserts in Utah for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Sponsor:       Rep. Maurice Hinchey [D-NY] Cosponsors (159)

Bill Text:       Summary | Full Text

8 Republicans; 151 Democrats

 The Wilderness Society statement on this bill -

 On 4/18/07, Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced legislation to permanently preserve roughly 9.5 million acres of exceptionally wild and rare public lands on the Colorado Plateau and in the Great Basin – southern Utah’s famous redrock country.  The bills were referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources and Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.  The measure currently has 157 co-sponsors in the House and 19 in the Senate.

 http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-647

S. 647: Lewis and Clark Mount Hood Wilderness Act of 2007

A bill to designate certain land in the State of Oregon as wilderness, and for other purposes.

Sponsor:       Sen. Ron Wyden [D-OR]

Cosponsors [as of 2008-08-31]

Sen. Gordon Smith [R-OR]

Bill Text:       Summary | Full Text

The Wilderness Society statement on this bill - 

On 2/15/07, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) introduced the Lewis and Clark Mount Hood Wilderness Act of 2007 (S. 647) to permanently protect nearly 129,000 acres of wilderness on Mount Hood and in the Columbia River Gorge. Their proposal also would grant Wild and Scenic River protections to an additional 79.6 miles of rivers in Oregon and create more than 34,000 acres of Mount Hood National Recreation Areas, which would provide access for mountain biking and other diverse recreational opportunities, while allowing forest health projects to be completed where necessary. On 5/3/077/25/07., a hearing was held on the bill by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.  This bill was marked up and an amended version was approved by the Senate committee on

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-3513

H.R. 3513: Copper Salmon Wilderness Act of 2008

To amend the Oregon Wilderness Act of 1984 to designate the Copper Salmon Wilderness and to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate segments of the North and South Forks of the Elk River in the State of Oregon as wild or scenic rivers, and for other purposes.

Sponsor:       Rep. Peter DeFazio [D-OR]

Cosponsors [as of 2008-08-30]

Rep. Earl Blumenauer [D-OR]

Rep. Darlene Hooley [D-OR]

Rep. Edolphus Towns [D-NY]

Rep. David Wu [D-OR]

Bill Text:       Summary | Full Text

The Wilderness Society statement on this bill -

This measure was introduced on 9/10/07, by Senator Wyden (D-OR) and Representative DeFazio (D-OR).  Their proposal would designate 13,700 acres as the Copper Salmon Wilderness and would designate segments of the North and South Forks of the Elk River as Wild and Scenic Rivers.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the bill on 1/30/08.  The House subcommittee on Natural Parks, Forests, and Public Lands held a hearing on the bill on 11/13/07.  The was marked up and an amended version was approved by the House committee on 4/2/08.  The full House approved the legislation on 4/22/08.    

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-222

H.R. 222: Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act

To promote the economic development and recreational use of National Forest System lands and other public lands in central Idaho, to designate the Boulder-White Cloud Management Area to ensure the continued management of certain National Forest System lands and Bureau of Land Management lands for recreational and grazing use and conservation and resource protection, to add certain National Forest System lands and Bureau of Land Management lands in central Idaho to the National Wilderness Preservation System, and for other purposes.

Sponsor:       Rep. Michael Simpson [R-ID] (no cosponsors)

Bill Text:        Summary | Full Text

The Wilderness Society statement on this bill -

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) introduced the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (H.R. 222) on 1/4/07.   The measure includes a number of titles dealing with the designation of more than 300,000 acres in Idaho’s Boulder-White Clouds mountains as Wilderness, small land conveyances, authorization of grants for rural economic development, and continued motorized recreation opportunities, among other provisions.   The bill has been referred to the House subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.�

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-6162

H.R. 6162: Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Area Act

To establish the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Area.

Sponsor:       Rep. John Salazar [D-CO]

Cosponsors [as of 2008-08-31]

Rep. Mark Udall [D-CO]

Bill Text:       Summary | Full Text

The Wilderness Society statement on this bill -

On 5/22/08, Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) and Representative John Salazar (D-CO) introduced legislation that would establish the 210,677 acre Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and designate the 66,280 acre Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Area, which is currently a wilderness study area.  The land is located in southwestern Colorado’s canyon country.  The Senate Public Lands and Forests subcommittee held a hearing on 07/16/08.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-3756

H.R. 3756: Colorado Wilderness Act of 2007

To designate certain lands in the State of Colorado as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, and for other purposes.

Sponsor:       Rep. Diana DeGette [D-CO] (no cosponsors)

Bill Text:        Summary | Full Text

The Wilderness Society statement on this bill –

The bill would designate nearly 1.6 million acres of Wilderness in western Colorado on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and some adjacent National Forest Service lands.  The bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) on 10/04/07 and was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.  

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-3069

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-6156

S. 3069/ H.R. 6156: Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Wild Heritage Act

A bill to designate certain land as wilderness in the State of California, and for other purposes.

S. 3069

Sponsor:       Sen. Barbara Boxer [D-CA]

 Cosponsors [as of 2008-09-17]

Sen. Dianne Feinstein [D-CA]

 Bill Text:       Summary | Full Text

H.R. 6156

Sponsor:       Rep. Howard McKeon [R-CA]

Cosponsors [as of 2008-09-12]

Rep. Howard Berman [D-CA]

Rep. Brad Sherman [D-CA]

Bill Text:       Summary | Full Text

The Wilderness Society statement on this bill –  

On 5/22/08, Representative Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced the Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Wild Heritage Act that would designate as wilderness 472,804 acres in California’s Mono and Inyo Counties and establish more than 45 miles of the Owens River Headwaters and Amargosa River as Wild and Scenic Rivers.  The bill also designates 42,000 acres of wilderness in Los AngelesCounty and establishes more than seven miles of Piru Creek as a Wild and ScenicRiver.  The SenatePublicLands and Forests subcommittee held a hearing on 07/16/08.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-493

S. 493: California Wild Heritage Act of 2007

A bill to designate certain public land as wilderness and certain rivers as wild and scenic rivers in the State of California, to designate Salmon Restoration Areas, to establish the Sacramento River National Recreation Area and Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, and for other purposes.

Sponsor:       Sen. Barbara Boxer [D-CA] (no cosponsors)

Bill Text:        Summary | Full Text

Info on this bill from The Wilderness Society –

This bill, introduced on 2/6/07ScenicRivers in CaliforniaPublicLands and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. .  The measure has been referred to the House subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and in the House by Rep. Solis (D-CA) and in the Senate by Sen. Boxer (D-CA), would designate over 2.4 million acres of Wilderness and segments of Wild and

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