Friday, January 09, 2009

Lands Bill Update‏ From Senator Coburn

The Senate Majority Leader has rejected offers for an agreement to limit debate or allow amendments on the omnibus lands bill (which has grown in size by several hundred pages since last year and cost by several billion dollars). As a result, it appears that Senator Reid will schedule a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the bill on Sunday.

New summaries of the Senate lands bill are available at

The “highlights” of the bill are outlined at

Dr. Coburn filed 13 amendments this morning. Below is a description of each. As soon as amendment numbers are available, I will send those around along with more detailed summaries of each amendment.

1. No funds may be spent on the new units to the National Park Service, new National Heritage Areas, studies, new Wild and Scenic designations, or new wilderness designations authorized by this Act until the Secretary of the Interior certifies that the maintenance backlog at the Statute of Liberty, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Gettysburg, Antietam, USS Arizona Memorial, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and the National Mall in Washington, DC have been resolved
2. Nullify all restrictions on energy exploration and production within the bill
3. Strike provision restricting access to a major natural gas reserve in Wyoming
4. Strike $1 billion California earmark to restore 500 salmon
5. Strike $3.5 million earmark for the 450th Anniversary of St. Augustine, Florida
6. Strike $5 million earmark for botanical gardens in Hawaii and Florida
7. Strike earmark allowing for the construction of a “road to nowhere” through a national wild life refuge in Alaska
8. Strike a provision that would allow a cave institute in New Mexico to receive unlimited federal funding
9. Prohibit the use of eminent domain for any provision authorized in the bill
10. Annual report detailing total size and cost of federal property
11. Disallow the National Landscape Conservation System authorization from taking effect until an investigation by the Inspector General of the Department of Interior has been completed demonstrating that there was no criminal wrongdoing by the Department (There are allegations that the employees of the National Landscape Conservation System illegally coordinated with advocacy groups to permanently authorize the office)
12. Prohibits restrictions on hunting, fishing, and the possession or use of a weapon, trap, or net in new public lands created by this Act
13. Ensures that nothing in the Act shall prevent or obstruct the planning, construction, operation, or maintenance of a border fence or immigration enforcement

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