One More Chance

December 2004. We still have a CHANCE to fight the terrible Recreation Fee Demonstration, Cumberland Island and Wild Salmon River riders, along with several other harmful public lands riders currently attached to the giant omnibus appropriations bill (see summaries below). Indicators point to the urgency of beginning calls NOW.

These riders threaten not only the lands and wildlife they will harm, but our democratic opportunities for public disclosure, input, and discussion. Help assure that the public's voice will remain part of the future of our public lands! PLEASE resume your calls and faxes to the congressional leaders listed below!

And PLEASE distribute this Alert far and wide, Thanks!


The House is re-convening Monday December 6th to vote again on the appropriations bill. We anticipate that the vote may occur on Wednesday though it could happen sooner. You may have heard in the news that a clause allowing certain members of Congress and their staffs to view individuals' tax returns was discovered in the spending bill. The bill, with the offending clause, had already received House approval. The Senate deleted the tax return clause before passing the bill. The House and Senate versions are therefore different, so the House must now vote on the bill again before it can be sent to the President for his signature.

Grassroots conservation organizations around the country are working to organize a flood of phone calls to Capitol Hill in the next few days, asking that the harmful environmental riders be removed, and asking individual members to speak against the riders when the legislation comes to the floor.

"Dissent without resistance is consent" - Thoreau


Contact the Representatives listed below and urge them to:

-REMOVE the anti-wilderness and the other harmful public lands riders from the bill -- riders are not the way to craft major public lands decisions.

-If these riders are not removed, then ask House representatives to vote AGAINST the entire bill. More than 100 House members already voted against the first version of the bill, we should urge others to join them in dissent on this second vote if the anti-wilderness riders are not removed.

-Ask that members push for a roll-call vote, not just a voice vote. It's important that members of Congress be accountable to the public for the votes they cast.

Bill Young, Chair of Appropriations Committee (R-FL)
202-225-5961 (p) 202-225-9764 (f)
Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House (R-IL)
202-225-2976 (p) 202-225-0697 (f)
Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader (D-CA)
202-225-4965 (p) 202-225-8259 (f)

Be sure to thank Congresswoman Pelosi (D-CA) for taking a strong stand against this stealth legislation, and again urge her to call for a roll call vote.

Call or fax Rep. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) asking them to speak in opposition to the riders on the Salmon River lodges and Cumberland Island.

Tom Udall (D-NM)
202-225-6190 (p) 202-225-6190 (f)
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)
(202) 225-6335 (p) (202) 226-0774 (f)

Be sure to specifically thank Rep. Udall for his leadership in trying to stop the Salmon River lodges legislation, and thank Rep. Hinchey for being a leading congressional champion for Wilderness.

Also, please contact your House Representative from your state, and urge them to support removal of these harmful riders, and to oppose the entire bill if these bad riders are not removed. Contact info by state is found at:

Rider Summaries:

-Authorization for a vastly expanded fee-demo program, which currently is only a temporary demonstration program in certain select locations. This rider would make the Recreation Access Tax (RAT) applicable to all national forest lands, BLM, national wildlife refuges, national parks, and Bureau of Reclamation lands, and establish criminal penalties for those who don't pay the public lands access fees (6 months in prison and/or $5,000 fine). This bill has never been passed by the full House and has never been introduced, had hearings, or been voted on by the Senate. Instead, this rider establishes broad public lands policy by rider.

-Strips wilderness protection from the Cumberland Island Wilderness in Georgia by de-designating the existing wilderness, then re-designating certain disconnected parcels as wilderness, carved up by unpaved 1-lane tracks where motor vehicles will be allowed to drive. Will essentially nullify an 11th circuit ruling that NPS must manage the wilderness as wilderness, and cease driving tourists through the wilderness. The main proponents for this rider are the NPS and the Greyfield Inn, which wants to run commercial jeep tours through the existing Wilderness.

-Amends the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to allow three illegal outfitter lodges to remain on public lands within the designated Wild Salmon River corridor within the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, our largest contiguous wilderness in the lower 48. Four other outfitters complied and removed their illegal developments, now this rider will reward the 3 lawbreakers who refused to comply. This rider will nullify a district court ruling that the lodges must be removed because permanent structures are prohibited by the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act.

-Places a 30-day limitation on bringing legal challenges for timber sales on the Tongass National Forest, and interferes with judicial review by pressuring judges to rule on Tongass timber lawsuits within 180 days.

-Waives environmental review of grazing permit renewals on national forest lands -- no NEPA analysis of impacts or public input would be required before renewing grazing permits.

-Would transfer 100,000 acres of the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to the Doyon Corporation, so that the Native corporation can drill for oil on the land that currently is protected as critical wildlife habitat. Yukon Flats is located immediately south of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

-Insulate new regulations that will allow snowmobiles in Yellowstone from any legal challenges.

-MAY still be in the bill: rider that would nullify recent 9th circuit unanimous en banc ruling that found that commercial fish stocking is a prohibited commercial enterprise within wilderness in Alaska. This rider would make commercial hatchery activities and developments allowable on all national wildlife refuges in Alaska, including within wilderness.