Omnibus Public Lands Package meets Opposition in the House

The House stops legislation that would protect over 350,000 acres along 86 rivers.
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Washington, DC - The House of Representatives rejected legislation today

that would have included the second largest Wild and Scenic package in

history. The House voted on S. 22, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of

2009, under a suspension of the rules. Unfortunately, the bill was defeated

282-144, just two votes shy of the necessary two-thirds of the

Representatives present.

The bipartisan S.22, which passed the Senate with 73 votes to 21, seeks to

safeguard over 1,100 miles of rivers in Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming,

Utah, Vermont, and Massachusetts. The legislation also includes important

protections for 350,000 acres of land along 86 new Wild and Scenic Rivers

and it also contains new Wilderness designations for over two million acres

of public land.

"While we are very disappointed that the House chose not to protect these

national treasures today, we hope Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rahall will

bring the bill up for another vote in the near future," said David Moryc,

Senior Director of River Protection at American Rivers. "We are very

grateful to the Members who supported this bill today and to the sponsors of

the Wild and Scenic provisions on both sides of the aisle for their

continued efforts to pass S. 22."

A Wild and Scenic designation creates a protected buffer along both sides of

a river, blocks dams and other harmful water projects, and preserves a

river's free-flowing nature. It also helps protect and improve water

quality, as well as the river's unique historic, cultural, scenic,

ecological, and recreational values.

"From the Snake River headwaters in Wyoming to the desert Southwest's Fossil

Creek, to the trout streams of the Rockies, and the popular fishing and

paddling streams of the Pacific Northwest, our nation's heritage is knit

together by these rivers," said Moryc. "They are the lifeblood of the land

and our communities. I hope the House soon realizes that these Wild and

Scenic designations would be a tremendous gift to future generations."

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American Rivers is the leading national organization standing up for healthy

rivers so communities can thrive. American Rivers protects and restores

America's rivers for the benefit of people, wildlife and nature. Founded in

1973, American Rivers has more than 65,000 members and supporters

nationwide, with offices in Washington, DC and the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast,

Midwest, Southeast, California and Northwest regions. Visit

www.AmericanRivers.org.

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