wilderness

Public Lands Watch: Natural Resources Management Act

Legislation in Congress would expand parks, permanently authorize conservation fund

This blog post was drafted by Jamie T. Martinez.  On February 12, the Senate passed the Natural Resources Management Act (NRMA), 92-8. What does the NRMA do? Simply put: a lot. If passed by the House of Representatives and signed by the President, the NRMA will protect approximately 1.3 million acres as wilderness areas, expand …

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Public Lands Watch: Izembek National Wildlife Refuge

Interior Department proposes to authorize road through wildlife refuge in Alaska

Tom Schumann authored this blog post. News outlets report that the Interior Department, reversing a decision made under President Obama, has agreed to a land exchange with an Alaska Native village that would allow construction of a road across a national wildlife refuge that provides important habitat for migratory birds, bears, caribou, and other species. …

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200 Days and Counting: Public Lands

The potential impact of a Trump Administration on our federal public lands.

The federal government owns almost one-third of the land in the United States, primarily concentrated in the Western states. In addition, the federal government is the primary manager of the oceans off the coast of the United States (with the exception of oceans within three miles of the coastline, which are primarily under state authority). …

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Public Lands Watch: HR 218

Bill would authorize road through wilderness in Alaska national wildlife refuge

On July 20th the House passed H.R. 218 (248-179). The bill was then sent to the Senate where it was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The King Cove Road Land Exchange Act would transfer 206 acres of federal land—including 131 acres in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge—to the state of Alaska …

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Bikes in Wilderness

A misguided proposal in Congress

This New York Times article notes that a bill (S. 3205) is pending in Congress to allow mountain bikes in federally-designated wilderness areas.  In short, the bill is a terrible idea. First, on the merits, allowing mountain bikes into wilderness areas has the potential for significant impacts both on other humans using wilderness, and on …

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The Future of Conservation

Earlier this year I wrote critically about a New York Times op-ed that proposed making the restrictions on development in wilderness areas more flexible in order to allow for adaptation to climate change. This week the Times published what I think is a much more helpful op-ed on the topic of how we should address …

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The Wilderness Act and climate change

Changing the Wilderness Act to respond to climate change is a terrible idea

The Wilderness Act is one of the iconic pieces of environmental legislation, and it is 50 years old this year. It created a process and management standard by which millions of acres of relatively undeveloped federal land were protected from development and most forms of active human management. These lands are to be managed, as …

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Ninth Circuit reinstates Clinton roadless rule

Since the end of the Clinton era, there has been much confusion over the status of roadless areas in the national forests. Yesterday the Ninth Circuit weighed in, ruling in California v. USDA that the Bush administration had unlawfully revised the Clinton administration’s Roadless Rule, and reinstating that rule. The decision, which has been welcomed …

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The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009–A Macro and Micro View

I’d like to follow up on Sean Hecht’s recent posting concerning Congressional passage and President Obama’s signing into law of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009. This massive bill designates two million acres of wilderness in nine states as permanently off-limits to development, and increases the number of river miles protected under the …

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Omnibus Public Land Management Act Signed Into Law

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 …

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