Sporstmen Unite Against Public Lands Giveaway

750 Groups Sign Letter Opposing Mining Scheme

12-13-2005 // NWF Media Team

Sportsmen Unite Against Land Grab

More than 750 sportsmen's groups from around the country have signed a letter to Congress opposing legislation that could result in the most scandalous public land grab in recent history.

The provision by Reps. Richard Pombo (R-CA) and Jim Gibbons (R-NV) would allow mining companies and other commercial interests to buy large swaths of public land for as little as $1000 an acre.

Yesterday, in an attempt to check significant backlash against their bill from hunters and anglers, conservation groups, and the outdoor recreation industry, Reps. Pombo and Gibbons offered amendments they said would abandon the proposal's most controversial provisions. However, the bill in its current form remains a major threat to America's public lands, and sporting groups remain firmly opposed to it.

The lands at stake represent some of the finest natural territory in America; some are within or adjacent to national parks and forests.

"These lands provide crucial habitats for the game birds, deer, and elk our members hunt," reads the letter. "We believe it is wrong to put them up for mining companies and other commercial interests to buy at cut-rate prices."

The Pombo/Gibbons measure was shoehorned last month into the House-Senate Budget Reconciliation Bill. The chorus of voices opposing the mining provision includes six Democratic governors of Western states as well as conservative members of Congress like Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY), Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO), and Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM).

The letter's signatories are calling for the mining language to be stripped entirely from the final bill.

"Public lands are part of what makes America so great," said Larry Schweiger, president of the National Wildlife Federation. "These lands are where we go with our children and grandchildren to hunt, fish, camp and enjoy the outdoors. We have a responsibility to keep them safe for future generations."

Congress is expected this week to take up the Budget Reconciliation Bill.

Reporters and radio news directors: please alert your readers to this recent development.

Editorial writers: we urge you to call upon our leaders in Washington to defend the integrity of our public lands and oppose legislation that would sell off part of this legacy.

Outdoor writers: please let your readers know about this development and urge them to sign our sportsman's petition so they can make their voices heard. The petition is online and can be access through the link at the right of this page.

For more information, please contact Steve Torbit, director of the National Wildlife Federation's Colorado office, at 303-441-5157, or torbit@nwf.org.

Related Resources
  • Supporting Document
    Sportsmen's Letter (pdf)

    On behalf of the undersigned organizations and the millions of Americans who hunt and fish, we are writing to express our strong opposition to Representative Pombo’s provisions in the House budget reconciliation bill, H.R. 4241.

  • Supporting Document
    Western Governer's Letter (pdf)

    We are writing to express our strong concerns with the House Mining Subtitle included in Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which recently passed the House of Representatives.

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