PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The U.S. Senate is poised to act as early as Sunday on a massive package of public lands bills that would shut motorcyclists out of more than 1 million acres without adequate public comment, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.The last-minute move just as the newly elected Congress takes over has raised the ire of the AMA and at least one congressman, who believe the proposal and process deserve more public participation.”Those who say things get better with time obviously never encountered the public lands omnibus bill,” said U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah). “This bill was a bad idea last Congress, and it’s only gotten worse over the past month.”Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations, agreed.”It makes little sense to lump together more than 160 very important public lands bills into one package that is nearly 1,300 pages long, and then expect the public to digest it all — and to rush a vote through the Senate on a weekend,” Moreland said. More than 160 public lands bills have been grouped together by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The package would create more than 1 million acres of designated Wilderness land, which would shut out all motorized vehicles.The last-minute congressional maneuver would also make the National Landscape Conservation System permanent. This system creates an additional level of bureaucracy for the National System of Public Lands and would remove much of the authority of the existing agency in managing those lands.”Congress should put together a new package and pass it through committee rather than debate legislation carried over from the previous Congress,” Rep. Bishop said. “Poor process produces poor product, and this is an example of congressional process at its worst. Parts of this bill are good, and parts are very bad. Each part deserves to be discussed and voted on its own merits.””Continued responsible access to public lands is a vitally important right for current and future generations,” added Moreland. “This measure deserves to be fully analyzed and thoughtfully debated in the next Congress prior to a final vote.”All AMA members and anyone else who enjoys outdoor recreation are urged to contact their U.S. senators and ask them to oppose the omnibus public lands bill. An easy way to contact your senators is in the “Issues & Legislation” area of the Rights section of the AMA website at http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=0019ntUFqTJcM7vz5TTFrlxUFm8O2XhjmC5mXq3zd68CAlzqiINYjb-xIhiCfIf_5OfreFbqv6ew9iArU5LiIbFU-KF5g4Iaw1T0szzGJJi0YVHQulS9y6ASD1hZipSa3Ng.
About the American Motorcyclist AssociationSince 1924, the AMA has promoted and protected the motorcycling lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world’s largest motorcycle organization with nearly 300,000 members, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists’ interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition events than any other organization in the world. Through its Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, visit http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/
“Federal wilderness protection for California land moves forward” (Los Angeles Times, 1/12/09) “Large swaths of California wild lands would gain federal wilderness protection under legislation that took a step toward approval in the U.S. Senate during a rare Sunday session … It would designate as wilderness — the government’s highest protection — about 190,000 acres in Riverside County, including parts of Joshua Tree National Park; about 450,000 acres in the Eastern Sierra and San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles; and about 90,000 acres in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks…”Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-wilderness12-2009jan12,0,5425754.story
“Plan to set aside more wilderness land advances in U.S. Senate” (Bloomberg News, 1/11/09)
“The U.S. Senate, in its first order of business this year, advanced a $10 billion conservation plan that would set aside more than 2 million acres of natural wilderness and protect 1,000 miles of scenic rivers. The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, the first piece of legislation considered by the new Senate, combines about 160 individual environmental bills in nearly 1,300 pages … The Senate will debate and vote on the bill’s passage this week.” Part of the bill would codify the the National Landscape Conservation System, managed by the BLM.http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=apzMY6TV_xQo&refer=us“Massive lands bill clears filibuster” (Washington Times, 1/12/09)
“Senate Democrats flexed their new legislative muscle Sunday, using the first vote of the new Congress to break a Republican filibuster from the previous session of Congress, and advance a wide-ranging land-conservation measure. The omnibus land bill would preserve more than 2 million acres of land, establish new layers of bureaucracy in the Bureau of Land Management…”http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jan/12/massive-lands-bill-clears-filibuster/