Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Proposed bills threaten wilderness

HR 4089, the "Sportsman's Heritage Act," unfortunately passed by the House, would essentially repeal (surreptitiously) the 1964 Wilderness Act. Its ostensible purpose is to "protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting."

This is a detestable charade. It places its crosshairs squarely on the legal foundational underpinnings of the Wilderness Act. Massive manipulations of wildlife habitat would be allowed, as would wilderness-destroying activities like road building, ATV use and logging. Motor vehicles and aircraft would be permitted. Watering holes could be bulldozed and lakes and streams poisoned. Dams, buildings and other structures would be allowed. The final obscenity is that Section 104 C of the act bars any application of the National Environmental Policy Act. (NEPA). There is an equally bad companion bill in the Senate, S 2066.

These horrible bills are cruel daggers aimed at the heart of the law, spirit and intent of the iconic 1964 act.

Americans are blessed with a precious 110 million-acre National Wilderness Preservation system (NWPS). It is a physical, biological, emotional, spiritual and scientific sanctuary of inestimable value—achieved by the extraordinary and dedicated work of visionary conservation thinkers. Our wilderness resource must remain whole and intact. Its incalculable value will increase exponentially in future years.

The 50th anniversary of the act will be celebrated in 2014. Will we as a sane society celebrate a vibrant NWPS, or a hollow shell?

Please demand that your senators stop both horrible bills. In Idaho contact:" and".

Wilderness is "an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man—retaining its primeval character and influence."

Let's keep our precious wilderness resource vibrant and whole.

Scott Phillips


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