Wednesday, March 02, 2011

House Republicans: Salazar’s ‘Wild Lands’ order is a ‘War on the West’

House Republicans today began a week of what will no doubt be heated hearings aimed at blocking Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s Wild Lands order that directed the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to protect millions of acres of federal land for its wilderness value. Western lawmakers, mostly Republicans, are up in arms about what they perceive as the federal government locking up public lands, blocking energy extraction and mining interests and killing jobs in areas already hard-hit by the global recession. “Millions of acres of multi-use land in the West are at risk of being locked up if the administration carries out this [wild lands] policy,” said Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash. Hastings chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, which held a hearing today on Salazar’s order. Next up is a hearing on the Department of Interior’s budget on Thursday, followed by a BLM budget hearing on Monday. Also today, Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., and Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, held a press conference with Idaho Gov. Butch Otter to both blast Salazar’s Wild Lands order and announce pending legislation that would require congressional approval of new “Wild Lands” and national monument designations in Montana. The bill will be titled the Montana Land Sovereignty Act...more

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