December 8, 2005
Contact: Kevin Reilly, 505-466-3786 or Kathleen Campbell, 571-274-0597
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Trout Unlimited thanked Reps. Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) for their leadership in opposing provisions of the recently passed House Reconciliation Bill that would allow for the sale of public lands for $1,000 an acre.
“If enacted, this bill could lead to rapid sale of public lands throughout the West,” wrote Wilson in a letter co-signed by five other House Republicans. “To substantively alter the process by which mining claims are handled without full debate and hearings concerns us. Although we believe that the General Mining Law of 1872 is antiquated and should be updated, putting these provisions in a budget reconciliation bill is not the way to go about doing this.”
Trout Unlimited was among a dozen fish and wildlife organizations that recently 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).
Kevin Reilly, a Trout Unlimited leader in New Mexico said, “Reps. Wilson and Gilchrest deserve a lot of credit for standing up for the people who depend on access to public lands to fish and hunt. Public lands provide the best remaining habitat for all of New Mexico’s trout and much of our big game. Allowing our lands to be sold to mining companies, and other development interests is bad for fish and wildlife and bad for sportsmen.”
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.