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Western Public Lands

Montana Wildlife Federation

Sportsmen Cheer Shelving of Public Lands Bill, Vow Continued Vigilance

Date: 
Tue, 02/07/2017

Hunters and anglers are speaking out against efforts to undermine our public-lands and sporting heritage. Image: Bill Dvorak

By Judith Kohler

DENVER – Sportsmen and women and other conservationists and outdoor advocates voiced appreciation Thursday after a plan to sell more than 3 million acres of national public lands was halted, but pledged to stay vigilant as other bills to dispose of or undermine the management of public lands advance at the state and federal levels.

The decision by Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz to not pursue HR 621, which would have sold a total of 3.3 million acres of public lands in 10 Western states, came as welcome news to the sportsmen and women for whom public lands “are the backbone of our sporting traditions,” said Aaron Kindle, the National Wildlife Federation’s Western sportsmen’s campaign manager.

“We hope this decision signals that Rep. Chaffetz and his congressional colleagues are starting to understand how important these lands are to Americans and that they’ll cease their efforts to seize them from the public trust,” Kindle added.

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.

 

BLM cancels disputed oil, gas lease in Montana's Badger-Two Medicine

Date: 
Thu, 03/17/2016

 

The Interior Department has canceled long-fought oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area near Glacier National Park. Image:Montana Wildlife Federation

MISSOULA, MONT. -- More than three decades of work to protect the Badger-Two Medicine area just south of Glacier National Park have paid off. The Interior Department Thursday announced the cancelation of an oil and gas lease in a remote part of the Lewis and Clark National Forest that is home to grizzlies, wolves, lynx, wolverines, elk and deer and is sacred to the Blackfeet tribes

Interior officials said the Bureau of Land Management concluded the lease, approved 1982, was issued in violation of the National Environmental Policy and National Historical Preservation acts. The National Wildlife Federation, Montana Wildlife Federation and the Blackfeet tribe were among those who sued to repeal leases and prevent drilling in Badger-Two Medicine.

"This is a signal victory for wildlife conservation, wildland protection and tribal religious interests," said Tom France, executive director of the NWF Northern Rockies Regional Center.

 

Sportsmen, outdoor enthusiasts rally across the West for public lands

Date: 
Wed, 03/11/2015

About 100 hunters, anglers, wildlife watchers and outdoor enthusiasts rallied on the steps of the Colorado Capitol. Image: Judith Kohler

By Judith Kohler

The rumble heard in late January when hundreds of people crowded into the New Mexico statehouse to demand that public lands stay in public hands has only grown louder and deeper, spreading throughout the Rocky Mountain West.

Sportsmen and women have joined with hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, paddlers, wildlife watchers and others to take their fight for American public lands to the steps or lobbies of statehouses from Santa Fe to Carson City. They are meeting one-on-one with legislators, writing letters to the editor and talking to the media. 

As hunters and anglers fight efforts at the state level to dismantle our outdoor heritage attacks are occurring at the federal level, including proposals to gut the Antiquities Act and sell public lands. 

 
Idaho sportsmen and women set up camp on the grounds of the state capitol in Boise.

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