Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bill to Release Wilderness Study Areas Creates Controversy

From The Wildlife Management Institute:

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image of Wisconsin forest, Credit: Chicago Man, FlickrOn July 26, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held a hearing on a bill intended to release some U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and USDA Forest Service wilderness study areas and roadless areas from protection.  H.R. 1581—the “Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011”—is creating controversy within the conservation community, reports the Wildlife Management Institute.
Introduced by Representatives. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in the House and Senator John Barasso (R-WY) in the Senate (S. 1087), the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act could affect 6 million acres of BLM wilderness study areas and as much as 36 million acres of inventoried roadless areas in the National Forest System.  The bill’s language indicates, if signed into law, the act would address BLM wilderness lands not designated as wilderness or identified by BLM as unsuitable for further study for wilderness designation.  The Forest Service would be required to release inventoried roadless areas that have not been designated as wilderness and were not recommended for designation as wilderness as a result of the second roadless area review and evaluation program or subsequent revisions of resource management plans.
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