Mike Matz, director of the Campaign for America'sWilderness of the Pew Environment Group, issued the following statement calling on Congress to pass pending wilderness bills before adjourning:
“If Congress acts on the many wilderness measures currently pending, it can leave the American people a greater natural legacy. From the snow-capped peaks of Washington State's Alpine Lakes to the colorful Organ Mountains in New Mexico to the old-growth forests in Tennessee's Appalachian Mountains, wild places are close to being given the ‘gold standard' of protection—forever safeguarded for future generations.
“Republicans and Democrats alike have introduced 20 bills, which together would protect some 2 million acres of wilderness across 13 states from Oregon to West Virginia. Local wilderness advocates have worked across party lines to build local support for these measures, recognizing that America's wilderness is our common ground.
“Time is short in the 111th Congress, but many of these important conservation measures have already cleared the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and are ready for a vote by all senators. Other bills are now before the full House. We urge lawmakers to work together and send wilderness legislation to the president for his signature.