▪ The Sportsmens Heritage Act would effectively repeal the Wilderness Act
The Wilderness Act defines wilderness as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man. In 2012, legislation is working its way through Congress that would undo almost 50-years of wilderness conservation by effectively repealing the Wilderness Act.
On April 17, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 4089, the Sportsmens Heritage Act, supposedly to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting. But the bill is a thinly disguised measure to gut the 1964 Wilderness Act and protections for every unit of the National Wilderness Preservation System.
▪ The Sportsmens Heritage Act would permit almost any activity to occur within a wilderness boundary.
Any hunter, angler, or recreational shooter would be allowed to drive an ATV into Wilderness as long as he/she is engaged in one of those activities. Moreover, managers could build hunting blinds, cabins, target ranges, airplane landing strips, helicopter landing pads, or fishing ponds; dam rivers or streams; and build temporary roads or any structure or installation that could be rationalized as facilitating opportunities for hunting, fishing, or shooting.
Under this legislation, logging, mining, and oil and gas development could also be permitted within wilderness if the project could somehow be construed as good for wildlife. That may seem far-fetched, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rationalized the permitting of the proposed Rock Creek mine by claiming that mitigation measures actually make the mine good for grizzly bears. This type of twisted logic could be applied to any industrial project within a wilderness boundary.
▪ HR 4089 must be stopped in the Senate.
You can take action. Contact your Senator and tell him/her to vote no on the Sportsmens Heritage Act (HR4089) because keeping the Wilderness system in place is in the best interest of wildlife, sportsmen, and all those who enjoy wilderness. Remember that the primary purpose of the Sportsmens Heritage Act is to open our remaining wilderness to motorized recreation, oil and gas drilling, mining, and logging. A simple e-mail to your Senator would help stop this horrible legislation.
To access your Senators E-mail address, go to: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
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THE NATIONAL STRATEGIC AND CRITICAL MINERALS ACT
Urgent: Anti-environmental legislation to be voted on the week of June 18.
Anti-environmental legislation continues to be proposed from lawmakers in our nations capital. Last week we asked for your help in stopping the Sportsmens Heritage Act, legislation that would effectively repeal the Wilderness Act. This weeks scorched Earth legislation is HR 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Act of 2012.
The National Strategic and Critical Minerals Act of 2012 (NSCMA) covers all hardrock mining and would allow federal agencies to exempt projects from review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA ensures that, in addition to government and industry input, the public can take part in the development and oversight of projects that impact a region. Under HR 4022 public input would end.
The NSCMA of 2012 would also eliminate any meaningful environmental review of proposed projects by capping the permitting process at 30-months. No matter how egregious the environmental impacts from a proposed project, the permitting must be concluded within that 30-month window.
The NSCMA of 2012 would allow regulators to exempt proposed projects from the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). The EAJA is legislation that allows average Americans to protect their communities and families from pollution by using the services of non-profit environmental law firms. Under HR 4022 most non-profit law firms would not be able to continue to offer their services to those in need.
The Rock Creek Alliance has been able to protect Lake Pend Oreille and the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness from impacts related to the Rock Creek mine because of access to the non-profit law firms Earthjustice and The Western Mining Action Project. Passage of HR 4022 would make it extremely difficult for us to continue our work and the Lake and Wilderness would be at the mercy of the agencies and mining industry.
Please speak out in opposing HR 4022 by contacting your elected members in congress. The NSCMA is an attempt by congressional representatives to eliminate local opposition to projects by quieting the public and by making the defense of a regional environment cost prohibitive.
Protect your freedom; contact your representatives today!
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In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its possessions, leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness.
DEFINITION OF WILDERNESS
A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of underdeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural condition.