Senate Revives Omnibus OHV Legislation

March 15, 2009
Courtesy of the AMA
American Motorcyclist Association
Shot down in the U.S. House of Representatives, the OHV March 11, the Omnibus land use bill has been revived in the Senate.

The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 — which would prohibit motorized vehicle access by off-highway motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles to more than 2 million acres of public lands — has been revived in the Senate, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

Although the original bill, S. 22, was defeated on March 11 in the U.S. House of Representatives following Senate approval, it has been revived as part of H.R. 146, the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Acquisition Grant Program.

“Despite last week’s defeat of S. 22 in the House, the Senate is employing rare tactics to shove this ban through Congress,” said Ed Moreland, the AMA’s vice president for government relations. “The AMA is once again urging all motorcyclists to contact their Senators to vote against this bill, which is an unfair and overly restrictive change to public lands policy. The measure unreasonably bans motorized recreation on 2.1 million acres of public lands by inappropriately designating it as Wilderness. Continued responsible access to public lands is a vitally important right for current and future generations.”

The Senate leadership is employing a little used parliamentary procedure in response to the House vote on S. 22. Senate leaders have reintroduced the bill as a 1,300-page amendment to an unrelated piece of legislation for a vote as early as Monday.

“This demonstrates how serious Senate leaders are about getting this unreasonable restriction to public land access approved into law,” Moreland said. “We must be just as vigilant in our response. Time is short. All motorcyclists and ATV riders need to call their senators now and insist they vote no on H.R. 146.”

The Rights section of www.AmericanMotorcyclist.com provides tools for looking up phone numbers for all U.S. Senators. The Issues & Legislation page also provides additional communication options, including e-mail. However, with such short time ahead of a likely vote, a phone call is the most effective approach.

Immediate action is urgently needed to keep the affected 2.1 million acres of public lands open to motorized recreation.