According to an article in the publication Environment & Energy Daily today, key members of the Senate Democratic leadership are lobbying Republicans to support passage of an omnibus public lands bill that would transfer management of the Valles Caldera to the National Park Service during the short lame-duck session of Congress:
The full-court press is on to assemble and pass a monumental package of waterways, public lands and wildlife bills in the final days of this Congress.
Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) last night to discuss packaging a slew of waterways bills that won bipartisan endorsements from her committee with measures that emerged with similarly broad-based support from the Energy and Natural Resources Committee aimed at protecting more than 2 million acres and creating new national parks, monuments, wilderness areas and wildlife sanctuaries.
“It was great,” Boxer said of her meeting with Reid. “What we’re doing is we’re talking to the Republicans now who voted for all the bills in my committee to see if they will go along with doing a package of bills.”
Boxer added it was unlikely that such a bill could pass the Senate with unanimous support; thus, work is under way to obtain the necessary 60 votes.
“I think we have a good chance because they are bipartisan bills,” Boxer said.
However, the article quotes Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and George Voinovich (R-OH) as declaring that chances for success of this bill are “uncertain” and “tough,” respectively.
E&E is also reporting that the Pew Environment Group is taking out ads tomorrow in the influential Capitol Hill newspapers Roll Call and Politico urging members of Congress to support this omnibus lands bill:
“More than twenty wilderness bills are now before Congress, thanks to Republicans and Democrats alike,” the ad says, against a backdrop of New Mexico’s Organ Mountains, which are part of a bill to protect 270,000 acres of wilderness and 110,000 acres as a national conservation area.
“Hunters, anglers, business leaders, conservationists and other local citizens who’ve worked together to get these measures this far are counting on Congress to take action before it adjourns,” the ad says.