2:59pm

Thu November 10, 2011
Environment

Salazar Pushes Congress to Pass Western Wilderness Bills

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is calling on Congress to pass wilderness legislation in nine states – including Colorado. 

There are 18 “backcountry areas” in the Interior Department’s report which was sent to House Speaker John Boehner Thursday. All are on Bureau of Land Management land. 

 

The four proposed in Colorado have long been wilderness study areas; Browns Canyon and McKenna Peak in the southwest and Bull Gulch and Castle Peak in Eagle County. 

Secretary Salazar says these and the other proposals have broad support among local county commissioners  and they deserve swift action by Congress.

"In the West, we have a proud, bi-partisan tradition of passing legislation to protect lands like this," the former Colorado senator said.

Interior officials began working on the report in June, around the same time the GOP-controlled House stripped funding for the Secretary’s sweeping and controversial “wild lands” order. 

Critics of that plan, which could have led to de-facto wilderness designations on millions of acres of BLM land, worried it would have limited oil and gas drilling.