Under pressure from Congress, the Obama administration is backing away from a plan to make millions of acres of undeveloped land in the West eligible for federal wilderness protection.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a memo Wednesday that his agency will not designate any of those public lands as “wild lands.” Instead Salazar said officials will work with members of Congress to develop recommendations for managing millions of acres of undeveloped land in the West.
“The protection of America’s wilderness for hunting, fishing and backcountry recreation should be a unifying issue that mobilizes us to a common purpose,” Salazar said. “We will focus our effort on building consensus around locally supported initiatives.”
Salazar’s decision reverses an order issued in December to restore eligibility for wilderness protection to millions of acres of public lands. That policy overturned a Bush-era approach that opened some Western lands to commercial development.
Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/politics/2011/06/apnewsbreak-obama-abandons-wilderness-plan#ixzz1O6kZoV5Z