Today, Mark Udall, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, vowed to vote against adjourning for the year unless the Senate moves forward and votes on an omnibus public lands bill before the end of 2010.
"For several years, I've worked hard on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to bridge the partisan divide and advance a host of key Colorado public lands priorities, with the intent that, as in past years, they would be passed into law as part of a larger public lands package.
"But instead of a public lands bill, the Senate is preparing to vote on an appropriations bill that is filled with earmarks and random bills that have been air-dropped in, some of which are public lands bills that have skipped the regular committee approval process. While some of these bills may have merit, this is disheartening for those of us who have worked for years, playing by the rules and shepherding bills through the legislative process to get them to the Senate floor for a vote.
"As an original author of a number of these bills that would be included in a larger public lands package, I speak for the people of Colorado when I say that we must find a way to get these much-needed bills signed into law. These bills would address critically important issues for Colorado, including mitigating the bark beetle epidemic, ensuring maintenance responsibility of the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel, and helping create summer jobs in ski country. These bills are not only important to Colorado and its scenic lands, but they would create jobs and help our economy in these tough times.
"Many Colorado families are working through the holidays. I promised them that I would go to Washington, D.C., to fight for them, and I am willing to work through the new year doing just that. So, until the Senate considers a public lands package on the floor, I will ask the Senate to stay in session and will oppose adjournment efforts - because Colorado can't afford more inaction on these important priorities."