A Short-Term Solution:
Cut Interiorís Funding for Bogus Claims
In July, 2003, Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) proposed an amendment to
the Interior Department appropriations bill that would have defunded
the Bush administration's attempt to grease the skids in approving
bogus proposed highways under the Civil War-era law. The amendment
would have eliminated funding for processing claims under the
Disclaimer Rule in 2004, temporarily stopping the public lands
giveaway under RS 2477.
In a close vote on the House floor (226-194), pro-development
interests - led by Rep. Taylor (R-N.C.) - modified Udall's amendment
so that funding in the bill is barred only where it would ease highway
claims through National Parks, National Monuments, National Wildlife
Refuges and designated wilderness areas. Thus, the Taylor amendment
leaves nearly 400 million acres - approximately two-thirds - of our
wild public lands vulnerable the Bush administration's extreme
development policies. On the other hand, even the
Republican-controlled House has now recognized just how extreme the
administration's policies are and they have exempted 200 million acres
originally threatened by the Bush administration.
Whether the provision will remain in the final bill is unknown; the
funding bill faces a Senate vote sometime in September. Stay tuned for
more updates on this issue.
Read more about the Udall
Conservation Groups Support the Udall Amendment
Private Property Owners Support the Udall Amendment
Editorial Support for the Udall Amendment
Political Leaders Oppose the Public Lands Giveaway
Read the Debate and See How Your Representative Voted
Congressional Record transcript of proceedings on the House
floor - the debate on the Udall amendment starts on page H7094 and
runs through H7102. The vote appears beginning in the far right
column of page H7102 and continuing on to H7103.