Dear BRC Members,
There has been some significant movement on several key public lands and recreation bills in Washington DC and we wanted to send you a quick update.
As you will read, the news is generally good. BRC will have more info on each of these bills soon. So, as we so often say, stay tuned!
And, as always, call or email if you have comments or concerns.
Brian Hawthorne Ric Foster
Public Lands Policy Public Lands Department Manager
BlueRibbon Coalition BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext 102 208-237-1008 ext 107
WSA Release Act to be introduced in US Senate?
BRC has received the good news that preparations are underway for Senator Barrasso's office to introduce the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011 in the U.S. Senate.
The bill was originally introduced in the U.S. House on April 15, 20011, by Representatives Kevin McCarthy (CA), Rob Bishop (UT), Steve Pearce (R-NM) and 19 other U.S. Representatives.
Among other things, the bill releases Wilderness Study Areas (WSA) on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that were determined as not-suitable for wilderness designation and directs BLM to manage released lands in accordance with multiple-use and sustained-yield provisions.
The bill also terminates Secretarial Order 3310 with regard to the released WSAs and prohibits the Interior Secretary from issuing a national regulation that directs how released lands will be managed.
See BRC's previous release for more info:
BRC Encourages Members to Support WSA Release Legislation
Epic Mount Jefferson snowmobile area removed from Montana Wilderness Bill
When Montana Senator Jon Tester first released his Forest Jobs and Recreation Act it was touted as completely consistent with the recently finalized Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest Plan. That was only partially true. The bill had one significant deviation from the Forest Plan - it closed the popular Mount Jefferson to snowmobile use!
Mount Jefferson is one of the last high alpine snowmobile areas left open in the rocky mountain west. It is often described as the Crown Jewel of snowmobiling and attracts visitors from across the Midwest. After almost two decades of wrangling, the U.S. Forest Service removed a Wilderness recommendation, finding that snowmobile use is a socially valuable and economically important activity.
On May 25, 2011, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resource Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests heard testimony on the bill and it appears the bill now actually does mirror the new Forest Plan. And according to E&E News, recreationists can thank Idaho's Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch for this positive development.
PUBLIC LANDS: Tester's wilderness, logging bill draws administration praise
Government Litigation Savings Act introduced
Wyoming Senator Barrasso and Wyoming Representative Lummis have introduced the Government Litigation and Savings Act.
This bill will put a halt to the abuses of the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), legislation originally designed to help individuals, small businesses and no-profit organizations recover attorney's fees and costs associated with suing the federal government.
Sadly, environmental groups used the EAJA to create a gravy train of taxpayer funded litigation that advances their own radical environmental agenda. Indeed, court documents reveal that these environmental groups repeatedly sue the federal government not on substantive grounds, but on canned procedural motions. A small sample of environmental groups have sued the government over 1200 times and received upwards of $35 million dollars of taxpayer money.
Government Litigation Savings Act
GLSA Section by Section
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib - www.sharetrails.org
As a non-profit, grassroots organization funded primarily by membership dues and donations, we greatly appreciate your support. Visit http://www.sharetrails.org/make-a-difference-now to help fund our efforts to protect your trails!