12/23/2010 - The Interior Department rolled out a policy Thursday aimed at conserving natural areas in western states, abandoning a controversial 2003 agreement that limited new wilderness protections.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has signed an order that will enable the review and protection of tracts of federal land that are currently outside of congressionally designated wilderness regions.
The Pew Environment Group, in contrast, applauded the plan.
“This improvement in determining which wild lands have important wilderness values and merit interim protection until Congress has the chance to make final decisions is a long time coming. While Congress ultimately decides what is or is not included in the National Wilderness Preservation System, members of Congress benefit from the analysis of field experts in BLM, and the process affords public review and participation,” said Mike Matz, director of the group’s Campaign for America’s Wilderness.
Read the full article Interior Plans New Wilderness Protections, Scrapping Bush-Era Policy on The Hill's Web site.