Washington, DC – The House of Representatives rejected legislation today that would have included the second largest Wild and Scenic package in history. The House voted on S. 22, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, under a suspension of the rules. Unfortunately, the bill was defeated 282-144, just two votes shy of the necessary two-thirds of the Representatives present.
The bipartisan S.22, which passed the Senate with 73 votes to 21, seeks to safeguard over 1,100 miles of rivers in Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, Vermont, and Massachusetts. The legislation also includes important protections for 350,000 acres of land along 86 new Wild and Scenic Rivers and it also contains new Wilderness designations for over two million acres of public land.
“While we are very disappointed that the House chose not to protect these national treasures today, we hope Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rahall will bring the bill up for another vote in the near future,” said David Moryc, Senior Director of River Protection at American Rivers. “We are very grateful to the Members who supported this bill today and to the sponsors of the Wild and Scenic provisions on both sides of the aisle for their continued efforts to pass S. 22.”
A Wild and Scenic designation creates a protected buffer along both sides of a river, blocks dams and other harmful water projects, and preserves a river's free-flowing nature. It also helps protect and improve water quality, as well as the river's unique historic, cultural, scenic, ecological, and recreational values.
“From the Snake River headwaters in Wyoming to the desert Southwest’s Fossil Creek, to the trout streams of the Rockies, and the popular fishing and paddling streams of the Pacific Northwest, our nation’s heritage is knit together by these rivers,” said Moryc. “They are the lifeblood of the land and our communities. I hope the House soon realizes that these Wild and Scenic designations would be a tremendous gift to future generations.”
American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 100,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide. Visit www.americanrivers.org, www.facebook.com/americanrivers and www.twitter.com/americanrivers.