Dirty Riders Threaten Wilderness Waters

November 2004. Grand Canyon lovers have labored for decades under the effects of an underhanded Interior Appropriations Bill rider attached by Senator Orrin Hatch and passed in 1979. This prevented the park from instituting their proposed phase-out of motors on the Colorado River for one year, but the park overreacted and threw away the phase-out with its publicly approved Colorado River Management Plan and substituted the very inferior one that is causing us so much trouble today.

It's happening again. Anti-wilderness forces are trying to attach two truly frightening "riders" to Interior Appropriations bills in the House and Senate that conferees are hammering out now. One would DE-DESIGNATE the Cumberland Island Wilderness, then designate a new wilderness with several road corridors running through it. The second would "grandfather" THREE ILLEGAL LODGES on the Wild Salmon River in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

Both Houses' bills will be combined in one omnibus bill that funds virtually all aspects of the federal government. Once the conferees agree to a bill-including the riders, its passing is a virtual certainty as we saw in 1979. Tell them to defend America's Wildernesses by removing these "riders" from the bill. Convince these Democrats on the conference committee to remove the two provisions by flooding their offices with phone calls and faxes immediately:

Senator Byron Dorgan (D-WI)
fax: 202-224-1193, phone: 202-224-2551
Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)
(f) 202-228-0002, (p) 202-224-3954
Representative Norman Dicks (D-WA)
(f) 202-226-1176, (p) 202-225-5916
Representative David Obey (D-WI)
(p) 202-225-3365

If you can, also call these Representatives, particularly if you reside in their state:

Nancy Johnson (R-CT) 202-225-4476
Robert Simmons (R-CT) 202-225-2076
Michael Castle (R-DE) 202-225-4165
Jim Leach (R-IA) 202-225-6576
Judy Biggert (R-IL) 202-225-3515
Tim Johnson (R-IL) 202-225-2371
Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) 202-225-3831
Jim Ramstad (R-MN) 202-225-2871
Jeb Bradley (R-NH) 202-225-5456
Michael Ferguson (R-NJ) 202-225-5361
James Saxton (R-NJ) 202-225-4765
Christopher Shays (R-NJ) 202-225-5541
Chris Smith (R-NJ) 202-225-3765
Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) 202-225-3665
Sue Kelly (R-NY) 202-225-5441
Jim Gerlach (R-PA) 202-225-4315
Jim Greenwood (R-PA) 202-225-4276

It is difficult enough to get a wilderness bill passed in recent times, but to erode already-designated wildernesses by these subversions of Americans' will is inexcusable. Please transmit your displeasure and enlist others to do the same. If these riders-which have nothing to do with funding the government--are allowed to become law, protection of our beloved Grand Canyon backcountry and river becomes that much harder.