March 26, 2015

Wyden, Heinrich Introduce Budget Amendment To Protect America's Treasured Public Lands From Being Sold Off

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 26, 2015) - U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced an amendment to the Senate's budget resolution that would protect America's parks and public lands, including national forests, wildlife refuges, and conservation lands, from being sold off as a deficit reduction tactic. The amendment is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

"Americans depend on clean water and treasure wildlife habitats and the quality of life that public lands offer," Sen. Wyden said. "I'm proud to support this amendment with my colleagues to protect our public lands that in turn, protect wildlife, tourism and outdoor recreation that supports local businesses and local economies."

"Selling off America's treasured lands to the highest bidder would result in a proliferation of locked gates and no-trespassing signs in places that have been open to the public and used for generations. This would devastate outdoor traditions like hunting, camping and fishing that are among the pillars of Western culture and a thriving outdoor recreation economy," Sen. Heinrich said. "Our natural heritage is not for sale. America's forests, wildlife refuges and conservation lands are part of the fabric of our democracy. Let's keep them that way."

"New Mexicans have treasured our public lands for hunting, hiking, and camping for generations. This is our shared heritage -- selling off our public lands would be devastating for businesses and communities that depend on tourism and our thriving outdoor economy," Sen. Udall said. "This amendment protects our heritage, and I'm proud to vote to support our outdoor economy and Western way of life."

"Public lands drive economic growth in Colorado and all across our country," Sen. Bennet said.  "On top of the economic benefits, wilderness areas, national monuments, and national parks are a fundamental part of the fabric of our country and its history. It is important to preserve these lands for our kids and our grandkids, just as our grandparents preserved them for us."

"Our public lands help drive the economy in rural America and countless small businesses depend on the millions of folks who access our public lands each year," said Sen. Tester. "This amendment protects our public lands for future generations and builds on our outdoor legacy."