New Legislative Measures to Protect the Wilderness
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by Chris Yoder |
There is legislative success for the west coast as both the House and Senate have passed S.2739, the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008. H.R. 2632, H.R.3022, and H.R. 3682 were also approved and are being sent to the full house.
The Wilderness Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1131-1136, protects wild areas, even those already in National Parks and Wildlife Refuges, from most development, such as commercial enterprises and permanent roads. In a victory for wilderness protection, the House and Senate passed S. 2739, the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, and President Bush signed it into law on May 8, 2008. This law will protect 106,000 acres of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualimy National Forest in Washington State as the Wild Sky Wilderness.
On May 14, the House Natural Resources Committee approved the following three wilderness bills, sending them to the full House:
1) The Sabinoso Wilderness Act of 2007 (H.R. 2632) would designate as wilderness 19,880 acres in northeastern New Mexico, 40 miles east of Las Vegas, New Mexico. The Sabinoso Wilderness Study Area is one of the best examples of a great-plains ecosystem left in the state.
2) The Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park Wilderness Act, (H.R.3022) would protect as wilderness nearly 115,000 acres within Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. The proposed wilderness area includes the Redwood Mountain Grove, the largest Giant Sequoia grove in the Park. The Senate companion bill is S.1774.
3) The California Desert and Mountain Heritage Act (H.R. 3682) would designate over 190,000 acres of wilderness, add new areas to the Santa Rosa National Monument, and designate 31 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers in Riverside County, California. The Senate companion bill is S. 2109.
Chris Yoder is the Chair of the Wilderness Committee.
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