Land Grab Bill on House Floor Today
UPDATE 1:15pm ET: Myron reports – “House narrowly defeats omnibus land grab bill under suspension. 282 yes to 144 no. Two thirds needed under suspension. Two votes short.” Huzzah!
The Republican Study Committee sent out this alert about the what I’m call the Federal Land Grab Act of 2009:
This legislation is more than 1,000 pages and would generally designate new wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers, codify a National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS), and expand the National Park system. Conservatives may have concerns with many different provisions in the bill.
New Spending: The bill authorizes $5.5 billion of new discretionary spending and $900 million in new entitlement spending.
Blocks Millions of Acres for Energy Development: Some conservatives have expressed concerns that the bill blocks millions of acres from new oil and gas leasing, logging, mining, and all other business activity in designated areas. The bill eliminates 1.2 million acres from mineral leasing in 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. The bill would also eliminate a proposed terminal site for importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Massachusetts by designating a river that runs through an urban city as “wild and scenic.”
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, and $37 million for a park in New Jersey that the National Park Service does not want. The bill also codifies the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which creates a duplicative agency without a clear mission or structure.
Process: The bill is more than 1,000 pages, and contains many controversial provisions. Yet it is reportedly coming to the floor under suspension of the rules, which means that no amendments will be in order. Many conservatives believe that the process of bringing a bill to the floor under suspension of the rules should be reserved for noncontroversial measures.
My colleague R.J. Smith, who holds portfolios with both CEI and NCPPR, also weighed in on the bill on Amy Ridenour’s blog here. The legal threats posed to geologists and paleontologists is described by John Berlau here and Myron Ebell provides more details on the energy development impact here.
UPDATE: Myron reports – “House narrowly defeats omnibus land grab bill under suspension. 282 yes to 144 no. Two thirds needed under suspension. Two votes short.” Huzzah!