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April 2010

 Calif. Congressman Wally Herger Press Update 4/30/10

E-Update on Federal Land Management: Fighting for Access to YOUR Federal Lands

Unfortunately, our federal land management agencies under the Obama Administration have continued an alarming trend of restricting access and multiple use of our federal lands.  As a strong proponent of federal policies that give the American people full access to our public lands, I am very concerned by this trend.  Through my involvement with the House Western Caucus and other pro-multiple use groups, I am doing everything I can to oppose these restrictive federal land management policies.

Most recently, in response to the overwhelming comments that I have received in opposition to the Forest Service’s move to ban OHVs from gravel roads on national forest land, I sent a letter to Under Secretary Harris Sherman requesting that he overturn this policy in order to ensure consistency and balance with OHV-use.  I had previously written the Forest Service on this issue but the agency has yet to heed the public’s desire for a more practical OHV policy.  I strongly believe that the Forest Service’s position on this issue unjustifiably prohibits a reasonable and popular use of our federal lands, and I will continue to do all I can to oppose and overturn this damaging rule.

Second, in response to a disturbing letter from 72 members of the House of Representatives supporting the creation of over 3 million acres of new de facto wilderness areas, I joined several of my colleagues in sending a response letter to the Forest Service opposing this effort and reminding the agency that they do not have authority under the law to designate new wilderness or de facto wilderness areas – only Congress has the authority to do so.  While I have long been opposed to wilderness designations under any circumstances, I also believe that the decision to do so is best left to a vote before Congress instead of a backdoor process by which federal land agencies act to restrict use of an area as if it had been designated by Congress.  We must stand up for our land use rights against this effort to further increase Federal regulation.  As such, I will continue to closely monitor this issue and will pursue whatever means possible to prevent these or any other restrictive, bureaucratic land-use decrees.

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