Pelosi: House Passage of Landmark Bill Will Conserve Public Lands for Future Generations of Americans
Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement following passage of H.R. 146, the Omnibus Public Lands Act of 2009, by a vote of 285 to 140. The bill was passed by the Senate last week and now goes to President Obama for his signature into law:
"Today, the House passed a landmark bill to conserve public lands for future generations of Americans. This bipartisan legislation creates more than 2 million new acres of wilderness, and provides the greatest expansion of wilderness areas in 15 years, including more than 700,000 acres in my own state of California.
"The public lands bill protects a thousand miles of riversa 50 percent increase in the wild and scenic river system. It establishes new national trails, national parks, national conservation areas, and a new national monument. It provides the protection of law to the National Landscape Conservation System, which was created administratively in 2000 to manage the crown jewels' of the Bureau of Land Management, containing some of the most spectacular landscapes in the West.
"In this challenging time of drought in the West, the lands act also includes numerous water-related provisions that will help manage the drought, improve aging infrastructure, recharge groundwater supplies, and promote the reuse and recycling of water. The bill also contains a historic settlement to restore the San Joaquin River in the Central Valley of California.
"The provisions in this bill were developed in communities across America by local supporters, working together with their elected representatives. As a result, the bill enjoys broad support from wildlife, conservation, hunting and fishing, and outdoor business groups across the country. This is a day of celebration for all who treasure and enjoy our natural and cultural heritage."