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Access (Land Use, RTF, Advocacy, etc) => General Land Advocacy => Topic started by: Todd Ockert on March 16, 2009, 04:02:25 pm

Title: ** Urgent - H.R. 146 Omnibus Public Lands Bill - update 20 March 2009
Post by: Todd Ockert on March 16, 2009, 04:02:25 pm
Omnibus Public Lands Bill is being discussed on C-Span now as I type this.

It will be voted on at 5:30.

Need the final calls to be made.

Title: Re: H.R. 146 Omnibus Public Lands Bill
Post by: Dave Logan on March 16, 2009, 04:23:33 pm
Done.   Thanks, Todd.  Please let us know the outcome.
Title: Re: H.R. 146 Omnibus Public Lands Bill
Post by: Todd Ockert on March 16, 2009, 05:34:48 pm

As soon as they post the votes, I will get them up for our membership.

Title: Re: H.R. 146 Omnibus Public Lands Bill
Post by: Todd Ockert on March 16, 2009, 05:37:24 pm
Question: On the Cloture Motion (Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to Consider H.R. 146 ) 
Vote Number:  99 Vote Date:  March 16, 2009, 05:31 PM
Required For Majority:  3/5 Vote Result:  Cloture Motion Agreed to
Measure Number:  H.R. 146 (Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act )
Measure Title:  A bill to establish a battlefield acquisition grant program for the acquisition and protection of nationally significant battlefields and associated sites of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, and for other purposes.
Vote Counts: YEAs 73
 NAYs 21
 Not Voting 5  
Vote Summary By Senator Name By Vote Position By Home State

Alphabetical by Senator Name Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Yea
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Begich (D-AK), Yea
Bennet (D-CO), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
Bond (R-MO), Yea
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Yea
Brownback (R-KS), Nay
Bunning (R-KY), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Burris (D-IL), Yea
Byrd (D-WV), Yea
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Not Voting
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Yea
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
 Ensign (R-NV), Nay
Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Gregg (R-NH), Nay
Hagan (D-NC), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johanns (R-NE), Not Voting
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kaufman (D-DE), Yea
Kennedy (D-MA), Not Voting
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Martinez (R-FL), Not Voting
McCain (R-AZ), Nay
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
 McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Merkley (D-OR), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Risch (R-ID), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shaheen (D-NH), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Udall (D-CO), Yea
Udall (D-NM), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Not Voting
Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Warner (D-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wicker (R-MS), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Yea
Title: Re: H.R. 146 Omnibus Public Lands Bill
Post by: Peter Vahry on March 18, 2009, 03:59:17 am

This NYT article is somewhat of a spin since the way the amendments are being offered is not what Coburn had in mind. As the New York Times (pro the bill) article points out - the Democratic leadership is attempting to block minority (opposition) rights. The Senate is using H.R. 146 to pass back to the House the Omnibus Lands Bill in a way to prevent the "motion to recommit". This is an outrageous procedure and an abuse of power.

Senate deal could lead to smooth sailing for public lands omnibus
Published: March 17, 2009
The Senate is likely to pass the public lands, water and natural resources omnibus bill this week after Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reached an agreement with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to allow votes on six amendments...
...Senate leaders then devised a strategy to use a bill that had already passed the House -- H.R. 146, a proposal to protect Revolutionary War battlefields -- and strip its contents, replacing it with the omnibus lands bill. Because H.R. 146 has already passed the House, the House Rules Committee can approve a closed rule that would block a motion to recommit, eliminating the GOP's best procedural chance to stymie the bill....
...Because the omnibus may only require a simple majority, Natural Resources Committee ranking member Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) admitted that the bill is all but assured to pass.
While pleased that the Reid-Coburn agreement will allow some amendments on the Senate side,he reiterated that House Republicans have never had the same opportunity. "This skirts the House's right to have a say on how the bill should be amended," he said. "This is not regular order."

The following papers will help those who wish to understand further what is being done and why. The motion to recommit allows the minority a chance to amend a bill on the floor. In a legislative body in which the party in power controls nearly everything, it is one of the few tools the minority has to effect change. The current Omnibus maneuver is being done to prevent the rights of the minority.

House explanation of The Motion to Recommit

The Motion to Recommit in the House: The Creation, Evisceration, and Restoration of a Minority Right (2003)
Donald R. Wolfensberger - Director, The Congress Project, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
"Seizing on a 1934 ruling by the Speaker that the Rules Committee could limit the type of amendments that could be offered in a motion to recommit, Democratic leaders began directing the Rules Committee in the late 1970s to limit the minority’s right, and, by the 1980s, to selectively deny any amendments in motions to recommit on major bills of importance to the majority party.
This practice was reversed when the Republican minority became a majority in 1995, and it fully restored the minority’s right in House rules. Today that guarantee is the thin reed on which the majority often rests its case of fairness to the minority, while otherwise severely limiting or prohibiting other amendments. This development tends to reaffirm the rational choice explanation that rules are made to advance the preferences of the majority and to guard against threats by the minority to defeat or distort those preferences.
However, it remains to be seen how long any majority can sustain itself on such a strained concept of minority rights and fairness--especially in an institution which, for the better part of two centuries, has prided itself on honoring the rights of all members to participate in the legislative process. If the past is prologue, majorities so inclined always sow the seeds of their own destruction."

Another viewpoint:
The Motion to Recommit in the House of Representatives: Effects, Recent Trends, and Options for Change (2008)
Congressional Research Service - Megan S. Lynch
Analyst on the Congress and Legislative Process Government and Finance Division
"In practice, the motion to recommit is typically offered after the previous question has been ordered on a measure, but before the House votes on final passage. Preference in recognition for offering a motion to recommit is given to a member of the minority party who is opposed to the bill. It is not in order for the House Committee on Rules to report a special rule that would preclude the offering a motion to recommit a bill or joint resolution prior to its initial passage, including a motion to recommit which contains amendatory instructions."

Borrowed from Charlie
Title: Re: H.R. 146 Omnibus Public Lands Bill
Post by: Dave Logan on March 18, 2009, 06:27:22 am
Thanks, Peter.  So much for bi-partisan efforts.  We're screwed on this one.  ::)
Title: Re: H.R. 146 Omnibus Public Lands Bill
Post by: Todd Ockert on March 18, 2009, 08:55:08 am
Yea, the Democrats are trying everything in their power to pass this bill.

Title: Re: H.R. 146 Omnibus Public Lands Bill
Post by: Todd Ockert on March 18, 2009, 09:40:43 am
I posted a comment on the New York Times comment page.

Link here: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/16/big-public-lands-bill-goes-another-round/#comment-1264171

Title: Re: H.R. 146 Omnibus Public Lands Bill
Post by: Todd Ockert on March 18, 2009, 12:13:34 pm
this is taken from one of the transcripts of the voting last night.

Here is the link to the whole article: http://justgoodtrails.com/waiting/view_topic.php?id=553&forum_id=18

As with my Owyhee wilderness legislation, not everyone got exactly what they wanted, but both sides made concessions and believe the result is something they can put their support behind. As a result, this omnibus lands bill is widely supported and represents a diverse group of interests from every region of the country. Because of this, I strongly urge my colleagues to support its passage swiftly this week.

I would ask  how is it widely supported and by who or what groups.
I am going to send an email to Mr. Crapo asking about this.  I am sure I will not get a reply, as I am not from his state.

Title: Re: H.R. 146 Omnibus Public Lands Bill
Post by: Todd Ockert on March 20, 2009, 11:33:28 am

The Senate was near approval at press time of an omnibus lands bill (S 22) that is, in turn, expected to induce the House to approve the measure.

The Senate attached S 22 to a bill (S 146) to protect Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields.  The House had rejected a previous version of S 22 March 11 in a 282-to-144 vote, or a couple of votes short of the margin needed to pass under the procedure the House was using to consider the bill.

The Senate made one important change to S 22 designed to garner more House support: It made clear the bill would not hinder hunting, fishing or other recreational activities on public lands.

Said Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), "I understand that some members in the House of Representatives expressed concern that the portion of the bill pertaining to Wild and Scenic Rivers and National Trails and National Heritage Areas might somehow be construed to limit access for authorized hunting, fishing, and trapping activities." 

So the Senate adopted this language, "Nothing in this title shall be construed as affecting access for recreational activities otherwise allowed by law or regulation, including hunting, fishing, or trapping."

Under a Senate floor arrangement Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) allowed chief bill critic Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to offer six amendments.  None are expected to pass.  Coburn sought to:
    * Prohibit the use of eminent domain to acquire land.
     * Require an annual report detailing total size and cost of federal property.     
     * Remove provisions restricting renewable energy development on public lands.
     * Bar new construction in general.
     * Eliminate criminal penalties "for taking stones that may contain insignificant fossils."
     * Strike out "frivolous waste" in the bill (five bills.)

Once the Senate finishes S 22, as attached to S 146, it will go back to the House where it is expected to be addressed either under expedited procedures or under regular procedures where only a simple majority would be needed. 

Either way, bill opponent John J. Duncan (R-Tenn.) said he expects S 22 to pass eventually.  "All this (March 11 vote) really means is that it will now be taken up under regular order, where it should have been in the first place and which requires only a majority vote," he said.  "Thus there is no question this bill will pass the next time it's taken up."

Some supporters are optimistic.  "The bill is likely to come up again in the House and we expect it to be enacted into law this year," said The Wilderness Society.

Bingaman, the lead sponsor of S 22, laid out this strategy on the Senate floor: "In an effort to facilitate consideration of this package of bills in the other body, it is my hope that we will be able to attach the omnibus lands package to another bill that has already passed the House of Representatives and send it back where, hopefully, it can be quickly approved."

But some Republican critics, even though they lost a key filibuster vote by a margin of 73-to-21, hammered at the bill for withdrawing key energy resources from development.  Coburn focused on a statement from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that S 22 was a "noncontroversial" bill.

Said Coburn, "We are going to have on the floor what the majority leader calls a 'noncontroversial' bill; a noncontroversial bill, in that we are going to take 3 million acres and deem it untouchable for further energy for this country; noncontroversial in that we are going to spend - in mandatory spending yearly from now on out - $900 million a year on things you will never see the benefit of; noncontroversial in terms of taking specific areas with known, proven oil and gas reserves - to the tune of 300 million barrels of oil and 13 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.  Yet it is noncontroversial."

But Coburn's fellow Republican, ranking minority Senate Energy Committee member Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), took issue with him on the impact of the bill on energy development.  First, she said, "In fact, the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service have certified in testimony, in response to questions, that none of the wilderness proposed in this legislation will negatively impact on the availability of oil, gas, or national energy corridors."

Then she addressed a key provision of the bill that would authorize non-federal interests to buy out oil and gas leases on 1.2 million acres of the Wyoming Range of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.  She said the provision "is fully supported by their State delegation and their Governor."

Despite the new Senate strategy, some senators and House members who had sponsored some of the 161 individual bills in the omnibus measure were looking to move their bills by themselves.  For instance, Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and James E. Risch (R-Idaho) intend to move an Owyhee lands bill that would designate 517,000 acres of BLM-managed wilderness.

"Despite falling just two votes short in the House, we will continue to press ahead with efforts to pass the Owyhee Initiative legislation," Crapo said. "The process of collaboration is succeeding in solving long-standing issues in Idaho and that process is too important to be cut short by one vote in the U.S. Congress."

The House took up S 22 the first time March 11 under a Suspension of the Rules procedure that required a three-fifths majority to pass.  The Senate had first passed the bill January 15.  Senate leaders told the House it had to pass S 22 without modification, further limiting flexibility in the House.

House critics of S 22, particularly western Republicans, objected most vociferously to a provision that would certify a 27 million-acre National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) managed by BLM. 

But Rep. Rep. Ra£l M Grijalva (Ariz.), chairman of the House subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, defended the provision.  "I am particularly proud of the inclusion of my legislation, the National Landscape Conservation System within the Bureau of Land Management," he said. 

In approving S 22 the first time the Senate clarified that all conservation areas within the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) would be considered part of the NLCS.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) had said last year she would offer an amendment to ensure the entire 10 million-acre CDCA was in the system.

The bill language says that the NLCS includes "Any area designated by Congress to be administered for conservation purposes, including. . . public land within the California Desert Conservation Area administered by BLM for conservation purposes."

According to BLM the NLCS contains 27 million acres, including 4.8 million acres of national monuments, 14 million areas of conservation areas, 1.4 million acres of "similar designations," 7.7 million acres of wilderness areas, 13.8 million acres of wilderness study areas, and one million acres of wild and scenic rivers.

The omnibus bill is opposed by a wide range of interests, beginning with western House Republicans and including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, private property rights advocates, powered recreation advocates, and conservative think tanks.

The Senate Energy Committee developed the omnibus lands package based on committee-passed bills.  Not all committee-passed bills made the cut because both Democratic and Republican committee leaders enjoyed a veto.  The idea was to produce a bill that provides something for everyone on both sides of the aisle.  Bingaman said Republicans and Democrats sponsored almost equal numbers of bills in the package. 

In addition to the NLCS measure, S 22 contains these initiatives:
    * WYOMING RANGE: the bill from Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) would authorize non-federal interests to buy out oil and gas leases on 1.2 million acres of the Wyoming Range of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. 
    * OWYHEE LANDS (IDAHO): the bill from Sen. Crapo would designate 517,000 acres of BLM-managed wilderness.  An alliance of retired BLM employees, the Public Lands Foundation, objects to the bill and says that before designating wilderness sponsors should work with BLM to identify precise boundaries. 
    * WILDERNESS (NINE OTHER BILLS): several individual wilderness bills would protect up to 2 million acres, including: Wild Monongahela Wilderness (West Va.), Virginia Ridge and Valley Wilderness (Va.), Mt. Hood Wilderness (Ore.), Copper Salmon Wilderness (Ore.), Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (Ore.), Owyhee (Idaho), Sabinoso Wilderness (N.M.), Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Wilderness (Mich.), Oregon Badlands Wilderness (Ore.), Spring Basin Wilderness (Ore.), Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Wilderness (Calif.), Riverside County Wilderness (Calif.), Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Wilderness (Calif.), and Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness (Colo.)
    * OTHER MEASURES: individual bills that would designate three new National Park System units, authorize additions to nine existing National Park System units; authorize by our count a dozen land exchanges and conveyances; designate four national trails; authorize studies of additions to four National Historic Trails (all in the West: Oregon National Historic Trail, Pony Express National Historic Trail, California National Historic Trail, and The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail); add three wild and scenic rivers including the Snake River Headwaters in Wyoming; and designate a Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area of about 3.5 miles of cave passages in Lincoln County, N.M.