Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Omnibus lands bill includes Arizona proposals

The U.S. Senate is considering take early and fast action on an omnibus lands bill that carries forward from last year. The omnibus has something like 150 separate bills including 15 proposals for wilderness, dozens for studies for national parks, heritage areas and scenic rivers, including areas in Arizona. The bill also contains reauthorization of the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Act, something dear to state geologists. Part of the strategy seems to be to include so many proposals, that everyone will have a stake in seeing it passed.

Sen. Harry Reid says the bill will be come forward under a rule meaning it will be place on the Senate calendar immediately without going through the committee process.

A controversial section would formalize the 26-million-acre National Landscape Conservation System. There is a Dept. of Interior inspector general investigation into possible illegal coordination between lobbyists for environmental groups and federal officials of the system.

I found these Arizona proposals and sponsors in the list:
  • Special Resource Studies, Walnut Canyon study: S 722 - McCain (R-AZ) - HR 1558 - Renzi (R-AZ) /HR5751 - Pastor (D-AZ)
  • Sierra Vista Subwatershed feasibility study, AZ: S 1929 - Kyl (R-AZ) - HR 3328 – Giffords (D-AZ)
  • Additions to the Natl & Wild Scenic Rivers System: Fossil Creek, AZ NWSR: S 86 - McCain (R-AZ) - HR 199 – Renzi (R-AZ)
  • Additions to the Natl Trails System: AZ Natl Scenic Trail: S 1304 - McCain (R-AZ) - HR 2297 - Giffords (D-AZ) [above, credit Arizona Trail Assoc.]
Earlier this week, I got an email opposing the bill from the American Land Rights Association, which calls it "the largest land grab of the last 20 years."

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