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Saving the Sagebrush Sea: An Imperiled Western Legacy

Nearly 350 plant and animal species depend on sagebrush habitat for their survival.
 


 

NWF opposes bills targeting national forest lands

Date: 
Wed, 06/15/2016

Two House bills would transfer millions of acres of national forest lands to states. Image: Judith Kohler

By Judith Kohler

WASHINGTON – The National Wildlife Federation has joined other conservation and sportsmen’s organizations in opposing two bills that would remove millions of acres of national forest land from the public domain, endangering fish and wildlife populations, water quality and the public’s ability to hunt, fish and recreate on these lands as it has for generations.

Both HR3560 and HR2316 would remove the public out of ownership and management decisions on large tracts of national forests, which are important sources of clean water and fish and wildlife habitat, said Mike Leahy, the National Wildlife Federation’s senior manager of public lands and sportsmen’s policy.

“Sportsmen and women and outdoor enthusiasts of all backgrounds have helped defeat several land-grab attempts in statehouses across the county and we will fight any land-giveaway schemes by Congress,” Leahy said. 

 

Interior launches needed review of federal coal program

Date: 
Mon, 05/30/2016

The Black Thunder coal mine in Wyoming's Powder River Basin. Image: EcoFlight

CASPER, Wyo. -- The National Wildlife Federation and its state affiliates have joined other sportsmen's and conservation organizations in urging the Interior Department to modernize its federal coal program for the good of wildlife, conservation and the public.

Federal officials are reviewing the program to ensure a fair return to U.S. taxpayers, require that mined land is reclaimed before more public land is leased, improve reclamation standards and provide funding to restore wildlife habitat.

The Bureau of Land Management held public meetings across the country as part of the assessment of the federal coal program in what would be the first update of regulations in more than 30 years.

“As more coal companies declare bankruptcy and struggle to cover costs, American taxpayers face the risk of getting stuck with the bill to reclaim the growing backlog of disturbed land, much of it in the heart of important wildlife habitat. Now more than ever, it is time for coal leasing reform on our public lands: our fish and wildlife depend on it; our workers depend on it; and our way of life depends on it." ~ Brenda Lindlief Hall, NWF coal program coordinator.

 

NWF, affiliates: Attacks on sage-grouse conservation don't belong in defense bill

Date: 
Sun, 05/22/2016

Image: USFWS/Mountain-Prairie Region

In a repeat of last year, the U.S. House has passed the National Defense Authorization Act with unrelated environmental and wildlife provisions, including one that would block federal plans to conserve sage-grouse and its habitat -- the sagebrush steppe, which supports more than 350 species. The bill passed May 18 also contains language that would undermine the goal of keeping invasive species out the Great Lakes; block Endangered Species Act protections for the lesser prairie chicken; and transfer more half of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada to the Air Force even though the military hasn't requested the transfer. 

“Weakening protections for our nation’s fish and wildlife in a piece of legislation intended to strengthen national defense is simply unacceptable,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. 

 

Colorado Public Lands Day: A Simple, Beautiful Idea

Date: 
Fri, 05/13/2016

Coloradans have a new day to recognize the value of the state's public lands. Image: Aaron Kindle

By Aaron Kindle, National Wildlife Federation

The Colorado legislature recently passed Senate Bill 21, which marks the third Saturday in May as Public Lands Day here in Colorado. The bill, the first of its kind in the nation, will help Coloradans and others from around the nation and the world celebrate and give credit to the key factor that makes Colorado so great – public lands! 

What a beautiful concept that we who hold these lands dear will simply give thanks for having these magnificent lands to behold, enjoy, and protect for now and forever so that many generations from now, others will be able to enjoy these same treasures. 

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