|GROUPS CALL FOR MORATORIUM ON DESTRUCTIVE PUBLIC LAND BILLS|
A coalition of 80 grassroots environmental organizations today issued an open letter to the conservation community at large, urging their support to stop current legislation that would harm public lands. The groups are asking their colleagues to join them in opposing the legislation.
At issue are bills that combine wilderness designation with land and water development provisions. Four bills cited in the moratorium letter include privatization of public lands and critical wildlife habitat through giveaways, sales, and exchanges:
Read an in-depth analysis of these four bills on our website.A small but influential group of conservation organizations is supporting three of the bills, hence the call for solidarity by the signatories to the letter.
“Some support these bills for their wilderness designations,” the moratorium letter states, “ but the bills are laden with environmentally damaging provisions and land privatization schemes that have dire implications for future public-land and wilderness protection.”
The groups reason that the upcoming election, just weeks away, could change the makeup of Congress and open the way for wilderness bills free of development and privatization tradeoffs. Citizens have overwhelmingly rejected schemes by Congress and the Administration to sell off public lands.
Since 2000, an estimated 250,000 acres of public
land have gone into private hands in just a handful of
bills that mixed land sales, mammoth water pipelines,
and local development subsidies with wilderness
designation. Three such bills now pending in
Congress would privatize more than 80,000 acres of
public land. The fourth could open up as much as
75,000 federal acres for ranchers to select from in
To add insult to injury, the bills create highly-
compromised wilderness designations that allow the
use of snowmobiles, ATVs and helicopters for routine
management practices, allow aerial gunning of
predators to protect livestock, provide for stream-
poisoning and military maneuvers, and allow
clearcutting and other habitat modifications to
benefit game species.
Thank you to all of our members and supporters for
your interest in these issues!