Amendments 166 and 132 attacking public lands Fail to Pass Senate
Today the U.S. Senate stood up for America’s public lands by defeating two proposals that would have been devastating to our public lands, putting millions of acres of land at risk for oil drilling and development. Congratulations and thanks to everyone in the Friends Grassroots Network–and beyond–who voiced their opposition and helped defeat these amendments.
The first provision (Senate amendment 166), which was defeated in a 50-48 vote, would have eliminated protections on millions of acres of wilderness study areas, some of our last remaining pristine places. This would have been especially damaging to the National Conservation Lands—12.8 million acres of which are managed by BLM as Wilderness Study Areas. Ninety percent of land managed by BLM is available to oil and gas drillers. This amendment—had it passed—would have stripped nearly half of those 12.8 million acres–some of our last remaining pristine areas–of protection.
The Senate also voted down 50-47 a proposal (Senate amendment 132) that threatened to gut the law that first protected the Grand Canyon and could block the creation of new parks and monuments. This measure would have undermined the Antiquities Act, one of our nation’s bedrock conservation laws used by both Republican and Democratic presidents to protect important cultural, historic and natural sites found on our nation’s public lands.
Many organizations in the Friends Grassroots Network alerted their members with calls-to-action—asking them to contact their senators and voice opposition to these amendments. We are still waiting to learn if a third bad amendment—one that would mandate grazing in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument—will come to vote. Stay tuned.