Sierra Club

Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

January 12, 2008

Contact: Kristina Johnson

Senate Poised to Protect Wilderness, Scenic Rivers, Parks
Historic Lands Package Receives Bipartisan Support

Washington, D.C.- The Senate is preparing this week to vote on an expansive lands protection package that would safeguard millions of acres of new wilderness, protect hundreds of miles of rivers, expand Everglades National Park, and protect critical habitat in Wyoming from oil and gas leasing. On Sunday, January 11, the Senate voted 66-12 to move the package forward. A vote on final passage will likely occur later this week. 

The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 protects more than two million acres of wilderness in eight states, including the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, Oregon’s Mt. Hood, and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

"This would be the greatest expansion of America's wilderness system in 15 years," said Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope. "This is our chance to protect the best of what's left and pass on a legacy to future generations."

The bill codifies the 26-million-acre National Landscape Conservation System, protects hundreds of miles of free-flowing rivers in six states, and designates numerous new National Scenic Trails, Natural Historic Sites, and, National Heritage Areas across the United States. It also protects over a million acres of key hunting and fishing grounds on the Wyoming Range from oil and gas drilling.

"Wilderness, rivers, trails and parks support important tourist economies across the country," said Pope. "If we hope to keep the tourist dollars and jobs that outdoor recreation generates, we need to keep these places safe from unchecked industrial development." 

Overview of the Omnibus Lands Package:

  • The bill codifies and adds permanence to the National Landscape Conservation System, which includes all of the Clinton/Babbitt-era national monuments, wilderness study areas, and other protective designations, encompassing more than 26 million acres.
  • The bill will protect more than 1 million acres of the Wyoming Range from oil and gas development. 
  • The bill also includes the Forest Landscape Restoration Act and the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act.

The package includes five important ocean protections: 

1. NOAA Undersea Research Program Act
2. The Ocean and Coastal Mapping Integration Act
3. The Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act
4. The Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act
5. The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program.

Wilderness Protection includes:

1.  Wild Monongahela Wilderness - WV
2.  Virginia Ridge and Valley Wilderness - VA
3.  Mt. Hood Wilderness - OR
4.  Copper Salmon Wilderness - OR
5.  Cascade Siskiyou National Monument (Includes Soda Mt. Wilderness) - OR
6.  Owyhee Public Land Management - ID
7.  Sabinoso Wilderness - NM
8.  Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Wilderness - MI
9.  Oregon Badlands Wilderness - OR
10.  Spring Basin Wilderness - OR
11.  Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Wilderness - CA
12.  Riverside County Wilderness - CA
13.  Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park Wilderness - CA
14.  Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness - CA
15.  Washington County - UT




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