Wednesday, March 11: S. 22 – Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009

S. 22 authorizes the Secretary of Interior to study, establish, and redesignate numerous National Parks, National Wildernesses, National Heritage Areas, National Trails, National Scenic River designations, and codify the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS).

It also authorizes land conveyances and exchanges, federal boundary adjustments, memorials, museums, reclamation projects, and commissions. Additionally, the bill authorizes programs for ocean exploration, local water infrastructure, underwater research, and paralysis research.

It’s comprised of over 165 separate bills introduced in the 110th Congress. Senate leaders created an omnibus bill to circumvent “holds” Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) placed on a number of these individual bills because he believed they would authorize wasteful spending, block energy development, and infringe on property rights.

The cost of the bill authorizes over $5.5 billion over 5 years.

S. 22 is being considered under a special suspension process that suspends all House rules.  This process is reserved for noncontroversial bills, limits debate to only 40 minutes and does not allow any amendments. So essentially, members were forced to vote yay or nay without the bill undergoing the scrutiny of the normal legislative process.

KEY CONCERNS:

  • Blocks millions of acres from new oil and gas leasing, logging, mining, and all other business activity in these areas.
  • Eliminates 1.2 million acres from mineral leasing and energy exploration in Wyoming alone – withdrawing 331 million barrels of recoverable oil and 8.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from domestic energy supply.
  • Designates more than 2 million acres of land as wilderness areas; permanently eliminating human access for energy exploration or recreational opportunities.
  • Eliminates a proposed terminal site for importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Massachusetts by designating a river that runs through a city as “wild and scenic”.
  • Authorizes $5.5 billion of new discretionary spending over five years and $900 million of direct spending.
  • Makes collecting fossils an illegal activity, subjecting thousands of hobbyists to 5 years in federal jail.

PORK PROJECTS:

  • $3.5 million to the city of St. Augustine, FL for a birthday party
  • $200,000 for a tropical botanical garden in Hawaii
  • $250,000 to study the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton in the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • $37 million for a park in New Jersey that is not even supported by the National Park Service.

ON PASSAGE OF S.22: FAILED 282-144 (2/3rds required for passage)

See Roll Call Vote

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Published in: on March 11, 2009 at 4:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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