November 2004. Anti-wilderness forces moved fast in attaching the two deplorable riders to the Omnibus Appropriations bill late Wednesday evening. Despite the strenuous efforts of American citizens, it appears the first ever de-designation of a wilderness will become law, particularly tragic during this 40th anniversary of the passage of the Wilderness Act. Also, the 3 remaining illegal resorts on the Main Salmon River will be legalized. The Omnibus Appropriations bill, along with its riders, will be voted on as a package, and stands little chance of being defeated. This procedure bypasses normal discussion and refinement in the House and Senate, instead the package has been assembled by a small committee of 4 Republicans and 4 Democrats.
It originally appeared that Fee Demo foes were successful in convincing Representative Regula (R-OH) to back off attaching his bill HR 3283 making Fee Demo permanent, but he apparently reversed himself. As an attachment to the Appropriations Bill, HR 3283 would become the law of the land, regardless of the fact that the bill was never introduced in the US Senate, given a hearing, voted upon or passed by a majority of Senators.
While the outlook for the 2 wildernesses looks grim, there is still time to salvage anti-Fee Demo efforts. Key Senators who successfully fought off Regula's challenge are not giving up the fight. Senators Domenici (R-NM), Thomas (R-WY), Craig (R-ID) and Burns (R-MT) are now working to have Regula's language REMOVED from the Omnibus bill before the final bill is voted upon (which may be Sunday or sooner).
They need your help and here's what you can do:
WHO TO CALL/FAX TODAY (and continue faxing through the weekend!)
(1) Senator Bill Frist (R-TN),
Senate Majority Leader,
phone (202) 224-3344
fax (202) 228-1264
(2) Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK),
Chair Senate Appropriations Committee,
phone (202) 224-7363
fax (202) 228-0248
(3) Rep. Bill Young (R-FL)
Chair House Appropriations Committee
phone (202) 225-2771
fax (202) 225-9764
(4) Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX)
Leader of the House
phone (202) 225-5951
fax (202) 225-5241
(5) Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL)
Speaker of the House
phone (202) 225-2976
fax (202) 225-0697
WHAT TO SAY ON THE PHONE:
"Please oppose HR 3283 as a rider to the Interior Appropriations bill."
SAMPLE FAX (Personalize this with your own argument against Fee Demo if possible):
Please oppose HR 3283 as an Interior Appropriations rider.
S. 1107, the National Parks recreation fee bill, has already been approved by the Senate.
Permanent fees for the other public lands agencies should come before public hearings in the next session of Congress. It is inappropriate to legislate permanent recreation fees by rider in a lame duck session of Congress.
(Print your name and address very clearly).
Please call and fax today and Saturday and forward widely.
RRFW thanks the Western Slope No Fee Coalition for this information and its continuing efforts on our behalf.