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Democrats Reject Commonsense Amendments to Lopsided Public Lands Package


WASHINGTON, D.C., February 23, 2021 -

Today, House Republicans presented 54 amendments to H.R. 803, the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act. House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement:

“Part of our role as legislators is ensuring we are good stewards of America’s abundant natural resources. Unfortunately, my Democrat colleagues mistakenly believe the only way to accomplish this is by locking up more and more of our lands and waters and throwing away the key. H.R. 803 is a devastating package that would eliminate outdoor recreation opportunities, make the United States more dependent on foreign adversaries for energy and critical minerals, increase the risk of wildfires across the West and much more, all without the input of local stakeholders or the very members whose districts will be the most impacted. The last thing Congress needs is more urban bureaucrats legislating on behalf of rural communities. This is why I’ve worked with my Republican colleagues to craft a wide array of commonsense amendments that would actually promote conservation and outdoor recreation, not just preservation. It’s shameful that Democrats talk a lot about enacting bipartisan change, but when they have actual legislative opportunities to do so, they instead choose to pass completely partisan bills that shut out scientific improvements and local input. That’s a D.C. political game, not conservation.”

Background

If H.R. 803 had gone through regular order, it would have come before the Committee on Natural Resources for hearings and a markup. However, House Democrats bypassed this procedure and sent the legislation straight to the Committee on Rules. Republicans still proposed more than 50 amendments to prevent wildfire risk, improve outdoor recreation opportunities, protect state water laws, maintain good governance and more.

During today’s hearing, House Democrats struck down every Republican outdoor recreation and wildfire amendment.

Several of the rejected amendments were:

  • Protecting hunters’ and anglers’ ability to use non-motorized carts to improve recreational access to lands covered in the bill, offered by U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.).
  • Delaying the mineral withdrawal portion of the bill until we can be sure it will not increase U.S. reliance on uranium sourced from child labor or slave labor, offered by U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) and U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.).
  • Allowing the Forest Service to conduct vegetation management activities to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, offered by U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.).
  • Delaying implementation of the act until the U.S. imports less than 30 percent of its critical minerals from countries hostile to American interests, like Russia and China, offered by U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.).
  • Delaying implementation of the act until the U.S. imports less than 30 percent of its uranium from countries hostile to American interests, like Russia and Kazakhstan, offered by U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.).
  • Exempting lands with extreme forest health issues so they can receive the proper treatment necessary, offered by U.S. Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah) and U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.).
  • Prohibiting the administration from making President Biden’s ban on new energy leases on federal land permanent, offered by U.S. Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas).
  • Grandfathering in previous recreational activities on lands to ensure the public is not cut off from any recreational opportunities, offered by U.S. Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah) and U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.).
  • Creating a fund to help energy workers affected by this act or President Biden’s ban on new energy leases on federal land, offered by U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.), U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and U.S. Rep. David McKinley (R-W.V.).
  • Preventing agency secretaries from superseding water law or water rights that individual states have already established, offered by U.S. Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho), U.S. Rep. Tracey Mann (R-Kansas) and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.).

Read the full list of amendments here.


Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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