Washington, DC – Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced the America’s Great Outdoors Act of 2010, a package of more than 110 individual bills aimed at improving and protecting our country’s public lands, waterways, ocean resources and critical wildlife populations. This bipartisan package of bills was assembled from legislation considered by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the Senate Commerce Committee and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. Half of the bills have passed the House of Representatives with broad support.
“I want to get this package done before Congress adjourns,” said Senator Reid. “These are bipartisan bills. There is nothing divisive about protecting historic battlefields, improving our most critical water sources, or making sure that our best wildlife habitat remains wild and healthy. These are things that people in Nevada and across America want, and they expect us to work together to achieve them. I sincerely hope that the delays and obstruction we are seeing from my Republican colleagues will not prevent us from taking up this critical legislation.”
For decades, the U.S. Senate routinely considered non-controversial legislation dealing with natural resource protection issues. But over the past six years, members of the minority party have intentionally and methodically obstructed normal consideration of these bills. As a result of this breakdown in comity, the Senate has been forced to group large numbers of these bills into omnibus packages to break the ongoing filibusters. This was the case with the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 and the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, both of which passed with overwhelming bipartisan votes.
Among other important provisions, the legislation introduced today designates new wilderness areas in three states, adds 4,600 miles to the national trail system, preserves important Revolutionary and Civil Wars sites, increases resources for protecting the worlds remaining marine turtles and great cats, restores critical waterbodies like Lake Tahoe, the Columbia River and the Long Island Sound, slows the decline in the world’s rapidly dwindling shark populations, and permanently authorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund.