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Watch the Video: Obama Signs Huge Wilderness Bill

It's been so long since we had a President who was proud of conservation efforts, I've forgotten what it feels like. Here's a look at what Obama said before signing the big lands package yesterday.

Obama Signs Lands Package: 3 million acres, 1000 miles of rivers protected

President Obama signed the Ominibus Public Land Management Act into law today shortly after 3 PM Eastern. The bill protects three million acres of land, and 1000 miles of rivers throughout the US. Prior to signing, Obama said:

"It is fitting that we meet on a day like this. Winter's hardships are slowly giving way to spring, and our thoughts naturally tend to turn to the outdoors. We emerge from the shelter offered by home and work, and we look around and we're reminded that the most valuable things in this life are those things that we already possess. As Americans, we possess few blessings greater than the vast and varied landscapes that stretch the breadth of our continent…

This legislation guarantees that we will not take our forests, rivers, oceans, national parks, monuments, and wilderness areas for granted; but rather we will set them aside and guard their sanctity for everyone to share. That's something all Americans can support."

Click here to read a full transcript of the President's comments prior to signing the bill.

(This photo was taken by a friend who was at the signing ceremony).

HUGE LANDS PACKAGE CLEARS CONGRESS, AWAITS OBAMA’S SIGNATURE

The House of Representatives voted today to pass the Omnibus Public Land Management Act. The final vote in the House was 285-140. The bill passed the Senate 77-21 last week. The lands package now goes to President Obama for his signature, possibly as early as next Monday. The President is expected to sign the bill.

The legislation protects two million acres of Wilderness and 1,000 miles of rivers, and prohibits new oil and gas development on 1.2 million acres in Wyoming. It also legislatively affirms the 26-million-acre National Landscape Conservation System.

"This is a major conservation victory that preserves wild places throughout the US forever," said John Sterling, Executive Director of The Conservation Alliance.

Every conservation provision included in the legislation started at the local level where grassroots organizations led the charge to build public support to protect a special landscape or waterway. The Conservation Alliance supported the local organizations that led the efforts behind 12 of the 16 Wilderness provisions included in the package. The Alliance also funded the groups leading the efforts behind protecting the Snake River Headwaters, and closing the Wyoming Range to new oil and gas development.

In total, The Conservation Alliance contributed more than $700,000 to ten different organizations whose good work eventually wound up in the package. Some of the grantees had more than one provision in the package. The Alliance also worked in close partnership with Outdoor Industry Association to demonstrate that the outdoor industry stood uniformly behind the provisions in this package.

"This is a big victory, and we did everything within the limits of our lean staff capacity and financial resources to ensure it crossed the finish line," said Sterling.

Click here to view a summary of the conservation provisions in the bill.

Click here for a full news report from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden Speaks to the Economic Benefits of Wilderness

Last week, the US Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass the Ominbus Public Land Management Act, which will protect two million acres of Wilderness and 1000 miles of rivers throughout the US. Before the vote, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden spoke on the Senate floor in support of the bill. His comments reflect our view that conservation is good for the economy. Check it out.

Conservation Alliance Approves $400,000 in Grants

The Conservation Alliance approved grants totaling $400,000 to 15 organizations working to protect wild places throughout North America. The donations marked the Alliance's first funding disbursal for 2009, and bring total giving to more than $7.4 million since the organization's founding in 1989.

Click here to view a complete summary of the grants.

"Our membership has taken a strong stand that, despite the challenging economy, now is the time to invest in conservation," said John Sterling, Executive Director of The Conservation Alliance. "Each of these grants is likely to bear fruit in the near future, to the benefit of the outdoor industry and our customers."

This round of grant recipients reflects the geographic distribution of Conservation Alliance members. Conservation Alliance funds will support efforts to: secure new wilderness designations in Washington, New Mexico, and Arizona; protect wild rivers in Oregon, Washington, California, and Montana; purchase a climbing area in Vermont; halt oil and gas leases on public land in Wyoming; and expand a national park in British Columbia.

"Each of these grants is an investment in the future of the industry," said Sterling. "Outdoor product users need wild places, and through The Conservation Alliance, our industry is doing its part to save those places."

Senate Again Passes Wilderness Bill

The US Senate today passed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act by a stunning 77-20 majority. The bill will protect 2 million acres of Wilderness and 1000 miles of rivers, and prohibit new oil and gas leases on the 1.2-million-acre Wyoming Range. The bill goes back to the House, where it will require only a simple majority to pass.

 Click here for the full story.

Reducing the Junk-Mail Footprint

The endless amount of junk mail I receive frustrates me on a daily basis.  Just seeing the deceptive ways our information is sold and how we are lured to open envelop after envelope of pure nonsense…. It is not only a waste of time, but a major waste in paper.  Check out this article by Ciara O'Rourke that questions the use of paper in this way, as well as the effectiveness of direct mail campaigns:

According to a study by the Department of Energy, the paper industry is the fourth biggest producer of carbon dioxide among manufacturers. And few organizations move paper like the United States Post Office – which delivers more than 212 billion pieces of mail every year, or about 8,000 letters per second.

Click HERE to read the full article

It Was 20 Years Ago Today…

On March 14, 1989, The Conservation Alliance was officially incorporated as an organization in the State of Washington. 20 years. $7.5 million in grants to conservation organizations. 40 million acres of land protected. 27 dams stopped or removed.

Happy Birthday Conservation Alliance!

Spoil Sports: 7 Activities that Damage the Environment

As an avid skydiver, this didn't necessarily come as news to me – however it did hit home and make me realize how much my hobby effects my carbon footprint…. I do make efforts to carpool to the drop zone, but it is an inescapable fact that some hobbies are better for our environment than others….  check out this article from Treehugger that outlines the 7 worst sports for the environment…

 

 Not all sports were created equal–at least, not in the eyes of the environment. Some–hiking, running, swimming–represent the best of man in harmony with nature. Others–monster truck rally races, say–are just flat out environmentally offensive, and seem to be little more than a raised middle finger to our global warming-imperiled earth. To consider environmental impact, we need to examine these sports on several different levels: Basketball for example, when played as a neighborhood pickup game, can be nearly as harmless as taking a stroll. But factor in worldwide popularity, hundreds of jet flights every year, and you've got yourself one mega carbon footprint. The following seven spoil sports cause serious damage to the environment:

Click HERE to read more….

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