[env-trinity] AP in Fresno Bee 12 11 09
bwl3 at comcast.net
Mon Jan 12 11:57:46 PST 2009
Senate moves on San Joaquin River restoration bill
Legislation that would also protect wilderness awaits likely approval.
As printed in the Fresno Bee - 12/11/2009
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- In a rare Sunday session, the Senate advanced legislation that
would implement the San Joaquin River restoration settlement and set aside
more than 2 million acres in nine states as wilderness.
Majority Democrats assembled more than enough votes to overcome GOP stalling
tactics in an early showdown for the new Congress.
Republicans complained that Democrats did not allow amendments on the
massive bill, which calls for the largest expansion of wilderness protection
in 25 years. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other
Democrats said the bill -- a holdover from last year -- was carefully
written and included measures sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats.
By a 66-12 vote, with only 59 needed to limit debate, lawmakers agreed to
clear away procedural hurdles despite partisan wrangling that had threatened
pledges by leaders to work cooperatively as the new Obama administration
Senate approval is expected this week. Supporters hope the House will follow
"Today is a great day for America's public lands," said the bill's sponsor,
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. "This big, bipartisan package of bills represents
years of work by senators from many states, and both parties, in cooperation
with local communities, to enhance places that make America so special."
The measure -- actually a collection of about 160 bills -- would confer the
government's highest level of protection on land ranging from the Sierra
Nevada mountain range to parts of the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia.
Besides new wilderness designations, the bill would designate the childhood
home of former President Bill Clinton in Hope, Ark., as a national historic
site and expand protections for dozens of national parks, rivers and water
The measure would implement the 2006 legal settlement to restore the San
Joaquin River, bringing water and salmon back to a now-dry stretch of the
waterway. The lawsuit stemmed from the opening of Friant Dam in 1949, which
transformed the Valley's main artery from a river thick with salmon into an
irrigation source for more than a million acres of farmland.
The measure also would:
Protect about 70,000 acres of wilderness in Sequoia and Kings Canyon
National Parks, including the new John Krebs Wilderness, named for the
former congressman and conservationist who fought to protect these lands in
the Mineral King Valley.
Preserve nearly 470,00 acres of wilderness in the Eastern Sierra and San
Gabriel Wilderness, including lands in the Angeles, Humboldt-Toiyabe and
Inyo National Forests.
Protect some 190,000 acres in Riverside County as wilderness, including
parts of Joshua Tree National Park
Byron Leydecker, JcT
Chair, Friends of Trinity River
PO Box 2327
Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
415 383 4810 land
415 519 4810 cell
<mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net
<mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org
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