There is a lot of misinformation being bantered about concerning H.R. 1581, the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011. Contrary to what opponents may have you believe, the bill – which is now being considered in Congress – wouldn’t open 43 million acres of public land to interests that would decimate it.
The bill would merely allow federal land managers to re-evaluate the
43 million acres of public land to determine what uses, if any, should be allowed, with input from the local community. The bill involves 6.7 million acres managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and on 36.1 million acres of U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land that was evaluated for strict congressional Wilderness land-use designations.
The federal agencies have determined the 43 million acres aren’t suitable for Wilderness designation, one of the strictest forms of public land management. Yet because of various laws and rules, the agencies must continue to strictly manage the land as de facto Wilderness until Congress “releases” it for other possible uses.
In fact, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) stated in a hearing of the
National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources that the bill doesn’t dictate what will or won’t happen on the released lands. Rather, he said, it returns management to the respective agencies using well-established criteria. It provides them with the flexibility to manage our public lands for a multitude of activities, including responsible motorized recreation.
BLM Director Robert Abbey and Undersecretary Harris Sherman,
Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment of the U.S. Forest
In working with U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R- Mont.) on various issues, we know that he truly has his constituents’ interests at heart rather than the interests of those in the D.C. Beltway. We thank him wholeheartedly for his support of H.R. 1581, which could lead to more jobs and recreational opportunities for all Montanans.
Vice President for Government Relations American Motorcyclist Association
Former U.S. Senate and U.S. House member from Colorado
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