The full Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is expected to vote Nov. 13 on three important wilderness bills, including a substitute version from Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) of S. 1784, the Oregon and California Land Grant Act.
Mike Matz, director of Pew’s U.S. public lands initiative, urged lawmakers to support the O&C Lands measure and two other bills, S. 841, the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act, and S. 776, the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act.” In a letter to committee members, he noted that “Senator Wyden has struck a delicate balance between protecting clean water, ancient forests, fish and wildlife habitat and increasing the supply of timber to local mills.”
Conservation designations “are a fair balance, protecting a broad mix of values and resources, including wilderness for the world-famous Rogue River Canyon and Devil’s Staircase; salmon habitat on the Molalla and Illinois rivers, among others; recreation areas for primitive and developed use; clean drinking water; and reserves for rare plants. Perhaps most important, the legislation would forever protect more than 500,000 acres of ancient forests and would maintain the critical protections of the Endangered Species Act,” Matz wrote.
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