Two weeks ago, we posted information about an historic opportunity to protect three million acres of public land, and 1000 miles of rivers in the US. To recap: the Senate is considering a large package of roughly 150 separate bills that would designate new Wilderness areas in Oregon, California, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, and West Virginia. The package would also protect rivers in Oregon and Wyoming, and prohibit new oil and gas development in the Wyoming Range. Click here for a detailed summary.
The status of that legislation — now called Senate Amendment 5662 — has been hard to pin down. We had hoped the Senate would vote on the bill this week, but the economic crisis pushed it aside. New hope for the legislation emerged last night when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced on the Senate floor that the Senate will hold a "lame duck" session after the election, the week of November 17. Said Reid, "One thing we are going to move is a lands package."
Though far from a sure thing, this news keeps the package alive. And it keeps alive hopes that we will celebrate a huge conservation victory before the end of the year.