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November 21, 2013

Energy Committee Passes 12 Public Lands Bills

Committee has now passed 79 bills in 2013

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed 12 bills that would designate certain lands as wilderness, fund rural water projects in the West, establish new segments of wild and scenic rivers and protect historically significant battlefield sites in several states.

Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, praised their colleagues for their work on one of the bills passed during the markup, the Grazing Improvement Act (S. 258), introduced by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo. Committee members amended the bill to continue existing policies for reviewing grazing leases, while also creating pilot programs in Oregon and New Mexico that would allow ranchers to voluntarily relinquish grazing permits to the Bureau of Land Management or the Forest Service, something long sought by conservation groups.

"This bill as amended brings together a very broad coalition, including ranchers and environmental folks,” Wyden said. “My colleagues worked together creatively to find common ground on grazing rights and it’s my hope that their work will serve as a building block on similar types of issues going forward.”

“Managing grazing through a series of appropriations riders, as we are doing now, is not a sound long-term policy for our western rangelands,” Murkowski said. “This bill, as amended, would allow the agencies to get back to what really counts – stewardship of our rangelands to support multiple use, including grazing. I hope we can emulate the example my colleagues have set as we work through the hard issues presented in managing our public lands.”

The committee also passed a bill that authorizes $150 million in funding for vital rural water improvements across the West, including Oregon, and for water infrastructure on Indian lands.

The committee has now passed 79 bills in 2013, the most of any Senate committee. Wyden and Murkowski also said they expect the committee to consider their bipartisan Nuclear Waste Administration Act (S. 1240) before the end of the year.

Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., asked to be recorded as voting against S. 258. Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Tim Scott, R-S.C., Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and Landrieu asked to be recorded as voting against S. 715. Flake and Scott also asked to be recorded as voting in favor of the Barrasso amendment to S. 715.

Below is the full list of bills passed today by a voice vote:

  • S. 258, a bill to amend the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 to improve the management of grazing leases and permits, and for other purposes
  • S. 364,   a bill to establish the Rocky Mountain Front Conservation Management Area, to designate certain Federal land as wilderness, and to improve the management of noxious weeds in the Lewis and Clark National Forest, and for other purposes
  • S.715, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to use designated funding to pay for construction of authorized rural water projects, and for other purposes
  • S. 782, a bill to amend Public Law 101-377 to revise the boundaries of Gettysburg National Military Park to include the Gettysburg Train Station, and for other purposes
  • S. 995, a bill to authorize the National Desert Storm Memorial Association to establish the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial as a commemorative work in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes
  • S. 1044,  a bill to direct the Secretary of the Interior to install in the area of the World War II Memorial in the District of Columbia a suitable plaque or an inscription with the words that President Franklin D. Roosevelt prayed with the United States on D-Day, June 6, 1944
  • S. 1252, a bill to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate segments of the Missisquoi River and the Trout River in the State of Vermont, as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System
  • H.R. 507, an Act to provide for the conveyance of certain land inholdings owned by the United States to the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, and for other purposes
  • H.R. 697, an Act to provide for the conveyance of certain Federal land in Clark County, Nevada, for the environmental remidiation and reclamation of the Three Kids Mine Project Site, and for other purposes
  • H.R. 862,  an Act to authorize the conveyance of two small parcels of land within the boundaries of the Coconino National Forest containing private improvements that were developed based upon the reliance of the landowners in an erroneous survey conducted in May 1960
  • H.R. 876, an Act to authorize the continued use of certain water diversions located on National Forest System land in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in the State of Idaho, and for other purposes
  • H.R. 1033, an Act to authorize the acquisition and protection of nationally significant battlefields and associated sites of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 under the American Battlefield Protection Program