Note: I don't yet know what the total impact of this is to those of us that ATV/4wd and enjoy the trails. The AP has simply stated that the impact to Utah is
_Protect more than 250,000 acres of wilderness in and near Zion National Park.----
In what's being called the most sweeping land protection law in a
quarter century, the US House of Representatives Wednesday passed a
conservation plan to set aside more than 2 million acres of desert and
forest in nine states.
The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act,
which cleared the Senate last week, was approved by a margin of 285 to
140 and has been sent to President Obama for his signature.
The bill would officially designate land in California, Colorado,
Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia
as wilderness. That means no logging, mining, drilling, or even
The Associated Press details the provisions
by state. They include setting aside more than 450,00 acres of
wilderness near Santa Clarita, Calif., and along the California-Nevada
border, nearly 250,000 acres of Colorado's Rocky Mountain National
Park, 517,000 acres in Idaho's Owyhee Canyonlands, and more than
250,000 acres of wilderness in and near Utah's Zion National Park.
Environmentalists are hailing the measure. Upon passage of the bill, this blogger's email inbox was flooded with press releases.
William H. Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society was quoted as saying:
"This is a monumental day for wilderness and for all Americans who
enjoy the great outdoors. With passage of this bill, Congress has made
a great gift to present and future generations of Americans. These
special places make our communities better places to live, clean our
air and water for free, and provide ecological resilience in the face
of climate change. They're also great places to hike and camp and fish
with family and friends, of course."
And here's Dave Jenkins, director of government affairs for Republicans for Environmental Protection:
"This bill is the most important conservation legislation that
Congress has passed in many years. We are especially pleased that 38
Republicans from all parts of the country supported this bill. It's a
powerful demonstration of the good that can be accomplished for our
country when Republicans return to their roots as the party of
Of course, not all were thrilled about the bill. The AP notes that opponents of the measure, mostly Republicans, called the bill a "land grab."
The news agency quotes Rep. Doc Hastings, a Washington Republican
who argued that the bill would deprive the US of much-needed energy
"Our nation can't afford to shut down the creation of
jobs for jobless Americans, and we can't afford to become even more
dependent on foreign sources of energy," Hastings said.
The bill "even locks up federal lands from renewable energy production, including wind and solar," he said.