Why Outdoor Industry Association wants you to write to Congress today

Lawmakers are voting on three key pieces of public lands legislation.
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Pueblo Bonito, the largest great house in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Pueblo Bonita is the largest great house in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. A new bill proposes to protect surrounding land from oil and gas development.

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) sent an urgent policy alert on Tuesday, urging members to write to lawmakers in Congress using its letter generator

The U.S. House of Representatives is slated to vote on three key pieces of public lands legislation, the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act, the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy Act, and Chaco Cultural Heritage Protection Act. 

"We are thankful for the countless hours members of Congress and their staffs, public lands advocates and YOU—our members—have committed to getting this legislation to the House floor," OIA Vice President of Government Affairs Patricia Rojas-Ungar wrote in the emailed alert. "We will continue to work with our partners to conserve our public lands, protect the outdoors, increase access for all and support recreation across the country."

Here's what each piece of legislation would do: 

Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act (HR 1373)

Introduced by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-03) and Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01), this act protects the Grand Canyon's watershed, ecosystem, and cultural heritage from uranium mining and its permanent impacts.

Update at 4:30 p.m. MT Oct. 30: The House passed HR 1373. 

“Few places define the iconic American West more than the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River and its surrounding landscape,” Rojas-Ungar said. “The outdoor recreation industry has strongly supported the mineral withdrawal prescribed in the bill to protect water quality and the trails and climbing areas within the withdrawal area – we applaud the House for passing this hugely important legislation and urge the Senate to swiftly do the same to make these protections permanent.”

Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy Act (CORE, HR 823)

This bill, introduced by Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO-02), protects about 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado, establishes new wilderness areas, and safeguards existing outdoor opportunities to boost the economy for future generations.

Update at 10:40 a.m. MT Oct. 31: The House passed HR 823.

“We wholeheartedly applaud the House passage of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, not only because it is sponsored by our hometown Congressman Joe Neguse but more importantly because it seeks to protect nearly half a million acres of public lands across Colorado and therefore bolsters the state’s $28 billion outdoor recreation economy,” Rojas-Ungar said. “We urge the Senate to be a healthy body, focus on its “core” and pass the CORE Act as soon as possible to protect the public lands that make Colorado a unique outdoor recreation playground.”

Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act (HR 2181)

Introduced Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM-03) and Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM-01), this act withdraws the lands around Chaco Canyon from further oil and gas development by the Bureau of Land Management.

Update at 4:30 p.m. MT Oct. 30: The House passed HR 2181. 

"Getting outside to play and recreate is hugely important for Americans, but just as important is getting outside to decompress and quietly recreate. The Chaco Cultural Heritage Area is one of those places where that is possible because of its significant cultural, historic, conservation and recreation uniqueness,” Rojas-Ungar said. “OIA thanks the House for the passage of the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act, which will protect this culturally valuable area from development, and asks the Senate to do the same.”

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