Monday, November 14, 2011

US Interior Secretary, Senate both propose new wilderness, conservation areas

It's the battle of dueling wilderness designations as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee have both presented their own national conservation or wilderness area proposals. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday approved a package of 27 bills which designate or expand the boundaries of wilderness areas, conservation areas, and protected rivers in several states including Washington State, Oregon, New Mexico, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and South Dakota. Salazar issued a report containing a preliminary list of areas largely managed by the Bureau of Land Management "that merit consideration by Congress for designation as national conservation areas of wilderness or national conservation areas." However, Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said, "The appropriate process for creating new wilderness areas on federal land is to petition Congress after the federal land management agencies have completed their land management plans and recommendations." In New Mexico, the proposed Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area straddles Taos and Rio Arriba Counties...more

For the Committee's list of 27 bills go here.

In a press release from Bingaman:

The vast majority of the land – 214,600 acres – would be managed as a conservation area.  Two other areas – the 13,400-acre Cerro del Yuta on the east-side and the 8,000-acre Río San Antonio in the west – will be managed as wilderness.
"Setting aside this beautiful landscape will protect its traditional uses while attracting new visitors to New Mexico and boosting the region's economy," said Bingaman, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
"I'd like to thank Senator Bingaman for his leadership in guiding this bill out of the Energy Committee.  This legislation will ensure that the historic landscapes in Taos and Rio Arriba counties are preserved and accessible for future generations," Udall said.

For my comments on Bingaman's other bill, S. 1024, see Interior rejects Bingaman's southern NM wilderness bill as a "crown jewel"

1 comment:

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