The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, which I discussed in this post a couple of weeks ago, passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Obama earlier this week. A transcript of the President’s remarks on the new law is here, courtesy of the New York Times. The prior version of this bill was defeated at least in part because of gun rights lobbyists’ concerns about the future of firearms use on public lands. According to the Washington Post, Congress added “language to the law ensuring access to hunting, fishing, trapping and recreational shooting on public lands.” The law, passed as H.R. 146, designates several new wilderness areas totalling over two million acres, adds acreage to national parks, creates new protected areas on environmentally sensitive BLM-managed lands, and facilitates public/private land swaps in several states to promote development (a feature of the law that presumably ensured the support of legislators in key states).
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