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U.S. Interior Department Eyeing OHV Land

Tuesday, August 17, 2010
A Salt Lake City television station has reported more information about a federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) internal memo related to the possible designation of National Monuments, which could bar off-highway riding, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

KSL-TV reported on August 5 that the memo lays out "what some consider a sweeping and detailed plan for managing BLM l
American Motorcyclist Association
and over the next 25 years." The television station quotes U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) as saying the document spells out how to get the land-use designations the BLM wants without having to get congressional approval.

To read the story, click here.

In response to this latest development to possibly designate National Monuments without public debate, the AMA sent a letter to Secretary Ken Salazar of the Department of the Interior (DOI) on August 9. To read AMA’s letter, click here.

The AMA has been out front on this issue since earlier this year. To read a chronological timeline of events, please continue.

On June 16, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources had a markup (votes were taken) to consider H. Res. 1406, introduced by Representatives Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and Rob Bishop (R-Utah). This resolution of inquiry is aimed at requiring the Secretary of the DOI to turn over to the U.S. House of Representatives all documents related to the potential National Monument designations. Currently, the public has only seen pages one through 21. There are still thousands of related documents still unavailable that must be released to the public.

H. Res. 1406 passed the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources with a favorable recommendation by voice vote. The House Leadership and Chairman Rahall must now schedule H. Res. 1406 for consideration on the House floor.

On June 29, the AMA sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging the U.S. House of Representatives to consider H. Res. 1406 as soon as possible. In addition to the letter to Speaker Pelosi, the AMA also sent a letter to every Member of Congress urging them to support the bill. The AMA urged all members of Congress to cosponsor and vote yes on H. Res. 1406. The AMA will be scoring this vote for the 111th Congress. To see the AMA's scorecard for the U.S. House, click here.

On May 5, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources considered a similar resolution, H. Res. 1254. H. Res. 1254 was in response to the letter Hastings, Bishop and 14 members of Congress sent to the DOI Secretary in February requesting further information related to an internal document that revealed the Administration is considering designating 13 million acres of land as National Monuments using the Antiquities Act without any public debate.

In response to the markup on May 5 and the congressional letter, the DOI provided a limited release of only 383 pages out of more than 2,000 pages of internal documentation related to the consideration of National Monument designations. This is not sufficient disclosure of information. The AMA urged the DOI to release all documentation pertaining to the congressional request.

Despite bi-partisan support at the May 5 markup on H. Res. 1254, a motion to favorably report the measure was not agreed to by a vote of 20 yeas to 22 nays. In a separate motion, a voice vote agreed to report H. Res. 1254 without recommendation. That means the decision to bring the resolution to the House floor rests with Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall II (D-W.Va.) and House leadership.

As a result of the failure to report H. Res. 1254 favorably and the failure by Salazar to bring these documents in question to a recent hearing, Reps. Hastings and Bishop introduced another resolution of inquiry, H. Res. 1406, to force the DOI to release all documentation pertaining to the congressional request.

On February 18, the AMA sent its first letter on this issue to Salazar expressing its members’ concerns and to state its opposition to recommend the designation of 13 million acres of National Monument areas without any public debate. On March 30, the DOI responded to the AMA's letter, claiming the internal document was merely a "brainstorming discussion." To view DOI's response, click here.

The AMA supports H. Res. 1406 and urges its members and, all motorcycle and ATV (all-terrain vehicle) riders, to contact Speaker Pelosi and their Representatives to voice their support for this resolution.

You can find contact information for your elected officials at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Issues & Legislation, then enter your zip code in the "Find Your Officials" box. A prewritten e-mail is available for you to send Speaker Pelosi by clicking here. You can send a prewritten e-mail to your Representative immediately by following the "Take Action" option and entering your information. The AMA encourages riders to personalize their message by drawing on their own riding experiences.

Please write or call Speaker Pelosi and your Representative today and urge them to support H. Res. 1406.

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