Congress Moves Forward to Protect America's Public Lands

Omnibus Bill provides for crucial wildlife habitat, healthy watersheds and streams, and resources and recreation opportunities that drive local economies

01-15-2009 // Aileo Weinmann

National Wildlife Federation welcomes U.S. Senate passage of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, and congratulate Senators Reid (D-NV), Bingaman (D-NM) and the many others who worked so hard to move this historic legislation forward.

"On the whole, these measures include many important provisions for America's public lands and waters, which provide crucial habitat for game birds, deer, and elk and provide healthy watersheds and streams," said Larry Schweiger, president & CEO, National Wildlife Federation.

"The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 will conserve critical public lands and waters, which provide important wildlife habitat and provide resources and recreation opportunities that drive local economies."

Public lands are a fundamental part of America's outdoor recreation industry that contributes $730 billion to our economy and supports 6.5 million jobs--or one in 20 American jobs.

Most of the more than 160 individual bills included in the Omnibus Public Land Management Act have been through the normal legislative process and enjoy broad bipartisan support in Congress. Additionally, the House of Representatives have passed many of these measures.

In particular, the provisions supported by the National Wildlife Federation include:

  • The National Landscape Conservation System, which holds more than 25 million acres of some of our best public lands, and the impressive number of excellent new wilderness-area designations;
  • The Wyoming Range Legacy Act that maintains the integrity of around 1.2 million acres of incredible big game and cold water fisheries habitat.

However, while NWF supports moving the Omnibus Public Land Management Act forward in the process, we continue to have serious concerns about the inclusion of the highly controversial Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Land Exchange and the Wolf Livestock Loss Demonstration Project. These two provisions should be removed before this package is enacted.

National Wildlife Federation is America's conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future.

Contact: Aileo Weinmann, communications manager, 202-797-6801, weinmanna@nwf.org

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