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Western Lawmakers Testify on Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act

Legislation Would Increase Recreational Opportunities, Responsible Resource Development and Access for Firefighting

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Steve Pearce (R-NM) joined lead sponsors Senate Western Caucus Chairman Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and fellow Western Caucus member and Majority Whip Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to testify at the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Legislative Hearing on HR 1581.

H.R. 1581, The Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011, is common-sense legislation which simply implements the recommendations of the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service to lift the restrictive management practices on 43 million acres of WSAs and IRAs.  It directs that these lands be managed for multiple-use which includes increased recreational opportunities, responsible resource development and better access for firefighting.

“Ensuring the continued legacy of our nation’s natural wonders is vital. This bill simply acts on recommendations made by the federal government and returns the management of tens of millions of acres of public land to local communities so that more Americans can have access to our public lands.  These communities know best how to manage the lands, whether for increased recreation, preservation or development. I will continue to fight for this legislation that could help create jobs and reduce the threat of wildfires across the nation.” – Congressman Kevin McCarthy

“This Act ends the cycle of indefinite wilderness review and management of these non-wilderness recommended lands. It allows local Americans and stakeholders to work with agency officials to develop management plans that best balance recreation, multiple-use, and conservation. It provides them the flexibility to manage our public lands for a multitude of activities.  More importantly, it gives local Americans, those who live, work, and play on public lands a voice.” – Senator John Barrasso

“As Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus, I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this important piece of legislation. H.R. 1581 is good for the west and good for America. It will allow more Americans to enjoy our federal lands, and allow us to actually protect the habitats of wildlife through proper land management.” -Congressman Steve Pearce

Other witnesses testifying in support of the legislation includedMelissa Simpson- Safari Club International, Chris Horgan- Stewards of the Sequoia, Dave Freeland - District Ranger (Retired) Sequoia National Forest, Dan Kleen - President National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, Rep. Mike Noel - Utah House of Representatives, and Hon. Kent Connelly -County Commissioner Lincoln County, Wyoming.

Witnesses testifying in opposition at today’s hearing included Robert Abbey - Director Bureau of Land Management, Harris Sherman - Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment - U.S. Forest Service, and Bruce Babbitt - Former Secretary of the Interior.

Read McCarthy testimony here and watch here

Read Barrasso testimony here and watch here

Read Pearce testimony here and watch here

 

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