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Don't Let Congress Sell Our Public Lands
Submitted By: Frances Fierst on Nov 15, 2005

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TAKE ACTION NOW! Don't Let Congress Sell Our Public Lands. Call your US Representative Today! Congress could vote at any time in the next two weeks.

The week of November 14 Congress is likely to consider a proposal to sell off millions of acres of national forests, parks and other public lands as a means to reduce the federal deficit and “reform” the mining laws at the same time. Once sold, these public lands become private, potentially fencing out climbers and the millions of recreational enthusiasts that regularly use them. The mining subtitle in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (AKA the Budget Reconciliation bill) proposes to lift the decade-long moratorium on mining patents, and clears the way to sell off many of our valued public lands without environmental studies or public input.

What this means for climbers is that we could lose access to any climbing area located on or next to any existing mining claim, including the access trails to your favorite crag. Once sold, these lands—which belong to the American people and are enjoyed by millions of private recreational users each year—could become off limits for climbing, boating, hiking, and any other recreational use. If this provision is approved, any land speculator could buy our crags for as low as $1,000 per acre, and the land would not have to even be mined - any corporation could buy these lands and use them for any purpose. As much as 270 million acres could be threatened under this proposal and, adding insult to injury, these sales could happen with no public input from the recreational users that frequent these special places.

Your call to Congress could save your public lands access. Call your US Representative (go to w to find your US Representative) by Tuesday and stress the following points:

If passed into law, this law would make the 1872 Mining Law worse, by placing climbing areas and other special places at risk by allowing mining companies to purchase mining claims even if they are within a protected area such as national parks or wilderness areas.
As much as 20 million acres out of 270 million acres of public land cold be sold off. This mining "reform" proposal, which has not been publicly debated, should receive public hearings in the relevant resource committees rather than being slipped through Congress in a budget bill.
The mining subtitle will enable U.S. and foreign companies to buy our American heritage without any proof that the lands can and should be used for mineral development, and without regard for the other uses and needs for these lands, including water quality protection, wildlife habitat and recreation. As regular users of public lands, the climbing community opposes this wholesale disposal of our treasured public land resources.
Please oppose the mining “reform” provisions in the Budget Reconciliation bill.

The Access Fund

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