From Truchas TU Help Stop the Fire-Sale of Public Lands

tubase at tubase at
Tue Nov 15 15:17:29 MST 2005

Help Stop the Fire-Sale of Public Lands

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote the week of November 14 on
HR 4241, a bill that would allow for the sale of millions of acres of public
lands to mining companies, other development interests, and real estate
developers.  These harmful measures to fish and wildlife are buried within the
House Reconciliation Bill, and were inserted without public notice or debate
by Congressman Richard Pombo (R-CA).  


Sections 6201-6207 of H.R. 4241, the House Reconciliation Bill would amend the
1872 Mining Law and allow mining companies and others who claim an interest in
mining, to buy publicly-owned lands for $1,000 per acre.  Pombo’s provisions
would actually weaken standards set under the environmentally-lax 1872 Mining
Law by allowing development interests to privatize public land without review
or federal oversight.

What’s at Stake?

Public lands are managed in trust by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of
Land Management for all of the people of the United States.  They contain more
than 50 percent of the nation’s blue-ribbon trout streams.  They are
strongholds for imperiled native trout in the western United States and Brook
trout in the East.  In addition, they contain the best remaining habitat for
migrating salmon and steelhead.  More than 25 percent of the nation’s drinking
water flows across National Forests, alone.  

Why Should I Care?

Pombo’s fire-sale of public lands would reverse a 30-year congressional
mandate that public lands remain in public ownership.  As more private lands
are subdivided or posted, public lands provide the last access for sportsmen
who wish to fish, hunt, and camp with their families and friends.  That access
would be effectively lost as a result of Pombo’s legislation.   In addition,
public lands harbor some of the healthiest habitat for Brook trout, western
cutthroat trout, salmon, steelhead, elk, mule deer, and other fish and
wildlife species.   

What Can I Do?

Shore up Members of Congress that may be undecided on whether to vote for HR
4241 and its harmful provisions to fish, wildlife, and water resources.  H.R.
4241 and its public lands fire-sale is bad for fish and wildlife, and bad for
anglers and hunters – the people that know and care for these lands the most.
 Call and/or fax a simple letter.  

Rep. Heather Wilson: 202-225-6316; 202-225-4975 fax
Rep. Steve Pearce: 202-225-2365; 202-225-9599 fax

Also, tell your position to Senator's Bingaman and Domenici.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman: 202-224-5521
Sen. Pete Domenici: 202-334-6621

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