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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Omnibus Public Lands Bill Fails in House by 2 Votes

compiled from various sources

The House of Representatives voted today on S22, the Omnibus Public Lands Bill which would have given the North Country Trail the authority to purchase land from willing sellers. The bill failed to meet the 2/3 majority required by two votes. The roll call tally was 282 to 144.

As expected the Republicans are being blamed for the failure, but if it had been left up to the seven states of the North Country Trail, the bill would have passed with many Republicans voting for the measure.

One large concern by hunters was addressed at the final moment by a suspension of the rules proposed by Altmire (D)PA. This added language to preserve the rights of states to allow hunting, trapping and fishing, and to not limit access for those activities. It also blocked opposition leaders from adding amendments. The effort, however, was not enough to carry the vote. Altmire's language was approved by the NRA, but Gun Owners of America sent out a letter this week still expressing displeasure.

Overall the bill was comprised of 164 bi-partisan, largely non-controversial bills which would have designated more than 2 million acres of wilderness in nine states and established three new national park units, a new national monument, four new national conservation areas, more than 1,000 miles of national wild and scenic rivers, four new national trails and more.

Three Democrats voted no, 34 Republicans voted yes, and there were six members not voting. John Boehner (R) OH, the House minority leader, said, "The legislation Democrats attempted to force through the House today would have made matters even worse by blocking environmentally safe energy production, increasing gasoline and other energy costs, and costing American jobs we cannot afford to lose."

According to the New York Times, a "senior Democratic aide in the House said the best option under consideration would be to have the Senate shoehorn it onto another bill and ship it back. House Democratic leaders have not definitively ruled out a floor vote using a simpler rule, needing only a majority for passage, but that move would leave the measure wide open for amendments."

The North Country Trail, and eight other national trails, have been seeking Willing Seller authority for over 10 years. Until it is passed by Congress the National Park Service is not allowed to buy land to complete the trail.

Following is a list of how all Representatives from North Country Trail States voted:
Ackerman (D) Y, Arcuri (D) Y, Bishop (D) Y, Clarke (D) Y, Crowley (D) Y, Engel (D) Y, Hall (D) no vote, Higgins (D) Y, Hinchey (D) Y, Israel (D) Y, King (R) N, Lee (R) N, Lowey (D) Y, Maffei (D) Y, Maloney (D) Y, Massa (D) Y, McCarthy (D) Y, McHugh (R) N, McMahon (D) Y, Meeks (D) Y, Nadler (D) Y, Rangel (D) Y, Serrano (D) Y, Slaughter (D) Y, Tonko (D) Y, Towns (D) Y, Velázquez (D) Y, Weiner (D) Y

Altmire (D) Y, Brady (D) Y, Carney (D) Y, Dahlkemper (D) Y, Dent (R) Y, Doyle (D) Y, Fattah (D) Y, Gerlach (R) Y, Holden (D) Y, Kanjorski (D) Y, Murphy, Patrick (D) Y, Murphy, Tim (R) N, Murtha (D) Y, Pitts (R) N, Platts (R) Y, Schwartz (D) Y, Sestak (D) Y, Shuster (R) N, Thompson (R) N

Austria (R) N, Boccieri (D) Y, Boehner (R) N, Driehaus (D) Y, Fudge (D) Y, Jordan (R) N, Kaptur D) Y, Kilroy (D) Y, Kucinich (D) Y, LaTourette (R) Y, Latta (R) N, Ryan (D) Y, Schmidt (R) N, Space (D) Y, Sutton (D) Y, Tiberi (R) N, Turner (R) Y, Wilson (D) Y

MI, Conyers (D) Y, Dingell (D) Y, Ehlers (R) Y, Hoekstra (R) N, Kildee (D) Y, Kilpatrick (D) Y, Levin, Sander (D) Y, McCotter (R) N, Miller (R) Y, Peters (D) Y, Rogers (R) N, Schauer (D) Y, Stupak (D) Y, Upton (R) Y

Baldwin (D) Y, Kagan (D) Y, Kind (D) Y, Moore (D) Y, Obey (D) Y, Petri (R) Y, Ryan (R) N, Sensenbrenner (R) N

Bachman (R) N, Ellison (D) Y, Kline (R) N, McCollum (D) Y, Oberstar (D) Y, Paulsen (R) Y, Peterson (D) N, Walz (D) Y

Pomeroy (D) Y

See Update on Omnibus Public Lands Bill
See Senate Passes Omnibus Public Lands Act
See Willing Seller Needs Your Help Now
See the New York Times, "Public Lands Bill Defeated in House", by Kate Phillips, Mar 11, 2009
See Minnesotans- Support the Arrowhead


Cactus Jack Splash said...

Thanks for keeping us informed

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Thanks Cactus Jack. I have read some other blog posts that were really opposed to this bill for various reasons, but it's just one more huge blow for us and the eight other National Trails that still can't buy land.