Utah Wilderness News, August 3, 2011

Roadless Release Act—A Great Outdoors giveaway

Here’s a roundup of some of this past week’s news on the “Great Outdoors Giveaway”:

“The bill, supported by all of Utah’s Republicans in Congress, although they should know better, would eliminate protections for all lands currently listed as Wilderness Study Areas. No consideration would be given to any particular parcel, regardless of its value for recreation, watershed, wildlife or cultural antiquities. No suggestions from local groups would be considered, such as the discussions going on in San Juan County now over what lands qualify for wilderness designation. This bill would simply erase the years spent by many hundreds of people to categorize millions of acres according to their particular values.”  Editorial – The Salt Lake Tribune

“The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., ‘is the most radical, overreaching attempt to dismantle the architecture of our public land laws that has been proposed in my lifetime,’ Babbitt said Tuesday at a House hearing on the bill.”  Read more – The Associated Press/The Washington Post

“H.R. 1581 would let the oil, gas, and coal industries drill, undermine, spill, frack, and suck the marrow out of lands owned by the American public, for their private profit and to our sorrow.”  Commentary – Grist

“The rumbling sound you may have noticed coming from the general vicinity of the Sierra Nevada is Teddy Roosevelt rolling over in his grave. The great war hero, outdoorsman and early 20th-century president would not have been pleased to see his Republican Party heirs tearing away at his single greatest legacy: Recognition that this nation’s natural landscape—especially in the West—is a vulnerable treasure that demands more than our mere appreciation. It demands protection.”  Commentary – ThinkProgress Green

“All our prospective New Mexico sportsmen’s groups strongly support the protection of backcountry areas that are essential to fishing and hunting. Our organizations work collaboratively in communities around the West to develop stakeholder-driven management solutions that sustain fish and wildlife habitats. For this reason, we collectively oppose H.R.1581, the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011. The bill would remove critical protections for backcountry lands that provide some of America’s most vital fish and wildlife habitat and many of the best places to hunt and fish.”  Opinion – The Taos News