June 9, 2008

Three Wilderness Bills Cleared by U.S. House of Representatives

Brings to Five the Number Passed by House this Year

Press Release

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Conservationists cheered House passage today of another three wilderness bills, and urged the Senate to take the measures up quickly. The bills, which passed by voice vote, will together protect for all Americans more than 320,000 acres of wild public land in California and New Mexico. From California’s iconic Joshua Trees and Giant Sequoias to New Mexico’s 1,000-foot-deep Canon Largo, more of our natural treasures will stay as they are for future generations, thanks to the action of Congress today.

“The U.S. House of Representatives has today given the ‘gold standard’ of protection to some of the country’s most beautiful places,” said Mike Matz, executive director of the Campaign for America's Wilderness. “Passage of these bipartisan bills today sends a strong signal that even in times of polarization and stalemate, lawmakers are working across party lines to find common ground in protecting our wild land,” said Matz. “We are seeing a real renaissance in wilderness protection in this country.”

The measures passed today are:

  • The California Desert and Mountain Heritage Act (H.R. 3682), introduced by Rep. Bono Mack (R-CA), to protect more than 190,000 acres in Riverside County as wilderness, provide wild and scenic protection to 31 miles of four rivers, and expand the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. A companion bill has been introduced by Sen. Boxer (D-CA).
  • The Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness Act (H.R. 3022), sponsored by Rep. Costa (D-CA) and Rep. Nunes (R-CA ), will protect 115,000 acres of wilderness in the Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. Sen. Boxer has sponsored a Senate companion bill.
  • The Sabinoso Wilderness Act (H.R. 2632), offered by Rep. Tom Udall (D-NM), would designate more than 15,000 acres in San Miguel County as wilderness.

The House has now cleared five wilderness bills this year (the two others protect land in Oregon and West Virginia), and passed another for wilderness in Virginia last October. Four additional bills, for wilderness in Idaho, Oregon, and Colorado, have cleared the Senate Committee and are awaiting action by the full Senate. A bill creating the Wild Sky Wilderness in Washington State became law last month.

The Campaign for America's Wilderness works to protect the nation’s last best wild places for future generations.