Have you ever felt like you were living in the crosshairs — like you are always being targeted unfairly? If so, then you know what I mean when I tell you that wilderness and conservation are in the crosshairs like never before.
Giving away public land, potentially opening the Arctic Refuge and its waters to drilling, eliminating key oversight by the Environmental Protection Agency to protect our drinking water and the very air we breathe!
I’m telling you this, not because we want our budget to look good on paper, but because any shortfall limits how much we can or cannot do to protect the wilderness. We need every penny we can to put toward these unprecedented attacks. Developers are pouring millions into lobbying Congress to open up previously protected spaces for development.
Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt calls this moment “the most radical, overreaching attempt to dismantle the architecture of our public land laws that has been proposed in my lifetime … nothing more than a giveaway of our great outdoors.”
A bill recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 2852, would give away massive tracts of wild lands — tens of millions of acres of National Forests and BLM lands — that belong to every American, making it available to developers for real estate developments, logging, road building, drilling, and mining.
Shell is on the brink of government approval to drill 16 miles off the coast of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Despite a huge risk of ecological catastrophe, Shell is confident of success.
And in the name of budget cutting, we’re looking at dramatic cuts to the Land and Water Conservation Fund — one of the most effective wild land protection programs — along with slashed funding for national parks, monuments and forests and massive cuts to America’s wildlife refuge system.
Many of these actions could irreversibly change the face of our natural world. We must fight tooth and nail to stop it, and with your help, today, we will.
Your dollars will help The Wilderness Society speak truth to power, by sharing our expertise on Capitol Hill, and by mobilizing concerned Americans to express their opposition to this assault on wild places.
P.S.: Here are some facts about the latest attempt to give away our public lands. After reading them, I hope you will be as generous in your donation as possible. H.R. 2852 was introduced by House National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) on September 7, and heard in his subcommittee on September 22. It requires that the federal government literally give away, free-of-charge, to the western states 5% of the “unappropriated public lands” — defined to include national forests and BLM lands — in each western state. We estimate that the amount of federal public land to be given away under this proposal would be roughly 30 million acres, or approximately the size of the state of New York. In other words, at a time of concern about mounting federal budget deficits, this proposal would give away, free of charge, tens of billions of dollars of real assets owned by American taxpayers to a select few states, lands that harbor irreplaceable environmental, recreational, wildlife, and other natural resource and cultural values that are the heritage of all Americans.