Wild Monongahela Act to be taken up in 2009
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by West Virginia Wilderness Campaign |
Legislation to protect nearly 40,000 acres of unique wild lands on the Monongahela National Forest will have to wait, at least a short time more, to achieve full passage. At the end of the 110th Congress, an announcement from Senate leadership officially shelved the Wild Monongahela Act until 2009. While this setback is certainly a disappointment to all of those who have worked so hard to see this effort to fruition, the measure will likely pass in 2009, possibly as an early priority.
Introduced in January, the bill overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 368-17, cleared Senate committee, and has since landed with numerous other public lands bills in a large omnibus package. While there were indications that the measure may achieve full passage before Congress adjourned, the attention paid to the nation’s economic crises pushed the omnibus package from the legislative agenda during the final days of the session.
This historic bill would establish three new wilderness areas on the Mon: Big Draft, Spice Run and Roaring Plains West. It would also expand three existing wilderness areas: Cranberry, Dolly Sods and Otter Creek. It is sponsored by all five members of West Virginia’s Congressional Delegation, and has received broad-based support statewide.
While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has pledged to bring the measure up early after Congress convenes in January, it is uncertain where the Public Lands Omnibus will ultimately fall among the many priorities when lawmakers return to Washington.
Please put in quick call to the offices of West Virginia's Senators, Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller. Thank them for championing the Wild Monongahela Act and ask that they continue to work with Senate leadership to ensure that the bill remains a top priority when the 111th Congress convenes in Washington.
Senator RobertC. Byrd
Senator Jay Rockefeller