December 14, 2005
WASHINGTON, DC—Rep. Gibbons (R-NV) yesterday pulled provisions from the Reconciliation Bill that would have sold public lands to mining companies and other development interests for $1,000 an acre.
“This is a great day for all Americans who believe that public lands belong in public hands,” said Steve Moyer, Trout Unlimited’s Vice President for Government Affairs. “Trout Unlimited members and other sportsmen are deeply supportive of modernizing the 1872 mining law and making it more environmentally friendly. This dialogue should occur in the light of day through the standard legislative process.”
Rep. Gibbons announced Wednesday afternoon that he withdrew the mining provisions, which were contained in the House-passed version of the Reconciliation bill. This withdrawal followed several weeks of vocal opposition from Western officials, community leaders, and anglers and hunters.
Trout Unlimited led a dozen fish and wildlife organizations in the initial opposition of the measure. These groups sent a letter to members of Congress opposing the sale of public lands to mining companies and other development interests because it “would open these previously public lands to development, fragmentation, habitat loss, and potential pollution.” (full text of letter available at www.tu.org).
“Trout Unlimited members and other sportsmen played a crucial role in forcing the withdrawal of these harmful provisions,” said Brian O’Donnell, Director of TU’s Public Lands Initiative. “The message from America’s sportsmen is clear. Public lands provide the last, best places to hunt and fish, and they should not be sold off.”
Trout Unlimited is North America’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization, with more than 150,000 members dedicated to the protection and restoration of trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.