December 7, 2005
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Trout Unlimited thanked Colorado Sens. Wayne Allard and Ken Salazar 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 per acre.
“Concerns about the implications of this provision have been raised by public interest groups and private property groups,” Allard said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to update the 1872 mining law, but I do not believe the provision under consideration by the conference committee is the way to achieve this needed reform of the law.”
Salazar agreed, saying, “Part of what makes Colorado special is its natural heritage that includes outdoor recreation. To degrade those opportunities with this unprecedented assault on our public lands is something about which every Coloradan should be concerned.”
The mining provisions in the Reconciliation Bill would reverse 30 years of Congressional direction that national forests, parks, refuges, and wilderness areas remain in public hands. In recent weeks, the Colorado Municipal League, Colorado Counties Inc., six western governors, three former chiefs of the Forest Service, the former BLM director for Nevada, and 19 professors of mining law have called for the removal of these provisions. Trout Unlimited joined a dozen fish and wildlife organizations in sending a letter to members of Congress opposing the sale of public lands to mining companies and other development interests (letter is available at www.tu.org ).
“Public opposition to these provisions is growing louder every day,” said Brian O’Donnell, director of TU’s Public Lands Initiative. “In Colorado, public lands provide the best habitat for fish and wildlife, and access for sportsmen who wish to fish, hunt, and camp with their families and friends. That habitat and access could be compromised as a result of the land grab in the House Reconciliation Bill, which puts 24 million acres of Colorado public lands at risk.”
“Senators Allard and Salazar deserve a lot of credit for standing up for the people who depend on access to public lands to fish and hunt,” said Sharon Lance, a member of TU’s Board of Trustees and former Chair of the TU Colorado Council. “Allowing our lands to be sold to mining companies, and other development interests is bad for fish and wildlife and bad for sportsmen,” she said.
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.