Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Just in from Washington

Simpson Defunds “Wild Lands” Initiative in Final Budget Bill

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Mike Simpson issued a statement regarding language he included in H.R. 1473, the final budget bill for fiscal year 2011, that would prohibit the Department of Interior from using taxpayer funding to carry out its controversial Wild Lands initiative.

The Secretarial Order, which was put out shortly before Christmas, requires the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to inventory its lands for wilderness characteristics, and Simpson has expressed grave concern that the initiative will increase the number of lawsuits filed against the agency and make it more difficult to manage public lands.

“The longer this initiative has been out in the public, the more concerns I hear about the impact it will have on ranching, energy production, recreation, and even the BLM’s own ability to manage their lands,” said Simpson. “To that list, I would add my own deep concern that with this initiative, the Department has overstepped its authority. Only Congress has the authority to create new land designations, and I intend to restore that authority by including this provision in the CR.”

Simpson is the Chairman of the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the Department of Interior, including the BLM.

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