Congress considers bills to limit public lands protections

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Congress considers bills to limit public lands protections

Date: 03/20/2024     Category: News & Media     Author: Ellen Montgomery & Lisa Frank     Publication: Environment America    

Original Post ➡️

Three bills being heard by a Congressional subcommittee would limit protections for important habitat and beautiful places.

Camp Hale Continental Divide National Monument. EcoFlight

The House Subcommittee on Federal Lands will hold a hearing on March 20 to discuss several bills. Three of this, if passed, will undermine current processes and future opportunities to protect more nature.

Below is a letter that we submitted to the subcommittee voicing our concerns.

Dear Chairman Tiffany, Ranking Member Neguse and members of the
Subcommittee on Federal Lands,

We are writing in opposition to three of the bills on the agenda for the March 20, 2024 hearing. We need more nature and each of these bills undermines current efforts and future opportunities to protect special places for future generations.

We oppose the Congressional Oversight of the Antiquities Act (H.R. 5499) which would limit the effectiveness of the Antiquities Act. Since it was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the Antiquities Act has been used by 18 Presidents to protect American treasures such as Chaco Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Dinosaur National Monument, Joshua Tree and Arches. We support the use of the Antiquities Act to protect special natural areas and we want tosee it continue to function as a valuable tool for conservation as it has for the past 118 years. Passing H.R. 5499 would limit the establishment of future national monuments, potentially denying future generations the opportunity to enjoy even more beautiful and special places in our country.

We oppose the Colorado Energy Prosperity Act (H.R.6547), which would prevent the Bureau of Land Management from finalizing their supplemental EIS for the Colorado River Valley and Grand Junction Field Offices. The supplemental EIS could protect nearly 2 million acres of federal public land in western Colorado from future oil and gas leasing including parts of the Dolores River Canyon, Book Cliffs and Grand Hogback. These areas are critical for biodiversity and provide unparalleled outdoor recreational opportunities.

Finally, we oppose H.R.6085, which would prohibit the implementation of the Draft Resource Management Plan and
Environmental Impact Statement for the Rock Springs BLM Field Office. The BLM is proposing a more conservation-focused approach for managing approximately 3.6 million acres including prioritizing wildlife habitat and habitat connectivity by protecting parts of the area from mining and drilling. We support this approach and other efforts by the BLM to connect more fragmented habitats.

Thank you,

Ellen Montgomery
Public Lands Campaign Director

Lisa Frank
Executive Director, Washington Legislative Office