Senate Vote Advances Public-Lands Bill
Following House’s failure to pass bill, Senate vote furthers conservation of landscapes treasured by sportsmen and crucial to fish and wildlife.
WASHINGTON – -(AmmoLand.com)- The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership today welcomed a U.S. Senate vote meant to ensure final passage of a public-lands bill that includes numerous measures of importance to fish and wildlife habitat and hunting and fishing. The Senate this afternoon voted 77-20 in favor of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, a package of more than 150 public lands, water and resources bills.
Initially passed by the Senate in January in a 74-21 vote following months of wrangling, the omnibus bill was rejected by the U.S. House last week in a closely contested vote. Senate Democrats subsequently reintroduced the measure in an effort to facilitate its passage and streamline the House approval process. Today’s Senate vote enables the House to approve the legislation with only a simple majority vote. The House could reconsider it as early as next week.
Measures in the bill of particular significance to hunters and anglers include the Wyoming Range Legacy Act and National Landscape Conservation System, both of which enable citizens’ continued enjoyment of sporting opportunities on public lands in the American West. Passage of the Wyoming Range Legacy Act would prohibit further energy leasing on 1.2 million acres of prime big-game habitat and native trout waters and permit conservation groups to buy and retire existing energy leases. Codification of the National Landscape Conservation System would conserve hunting and fishing opportunities on millions of acres of Bureau of Land Management lands that comprise some of the nation’s most important extant fish and wildlife habitat.
“A prime example of this legislation’s importance to sportsmen is the Wyoming Range Legacy Act,” said Dr. Rollin Sparrowe, TRCP co-founder and acting board chair. “The Wyoming Range is actively used by the public, including generations of Western families, yet remains an inherently wild place. The threats it faces from development demand that we undertake prompt and binding measures to ensure its future responsible management.
“The Wyoming Range is a crown jewel of public lands, home to elk, moose, mule deer and three native species of cutthroat trout,” continued Sparrowe, a former federal biologist who lives in Daniel, Wyo. “Today’s Senate vote indicates the willingness of our elected leaders to safeguard landscapes emblematic of the American West and treasured by citizens, and we appreciate the steadfast efforts of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to assure their future conservation.”
“I believe our namesake Theodore Roosevelt himself would have been extremely happy to see the persistence of our elected officials who have stayed the course on the winding trail that is leading us toward a great victory for the American outdoor way of life,” said TRCP President and CEO George Cooper. “His leadership was instrumental in conserving large open spaces of public land for all Americans to enjoy. Members of Congress will have added something very substantial to that legacy with final passage of this measure.”
Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions
of hunting and fishing.