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Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

Speech in Opposition to HR 2546 – Wilderness Package

February 12, 2020
Speeches
Speech in Opposition to HR 2546 – Wilderness Package
February 12, 2020
 
Mr. Speaker:
 
We set three objectives for our federal lands policy when Republicans were in the majority:
 
o To restore public access to the public lands
o To restore good management to the public lands
o To restore the federal government as a good neighbor to those communities impacted by the public lands.
 
This bill is the very antithesis of these policies.
 
The purpose of America’s public lands was to set aside our most beautiful tracts, in the words of the original Yosemite Charter, “For public use, resort and recreation for all time.”  The bill before us today does the opposite: it imposes severe restrictions on the public’s use of 2 ½ million acres of THEIR lands.  One and a half million acres would be put off limits to such innocent things as mountain bikes and strollers and remove roads to reach campsites or even allow emergency equipment to access.  
 
It also designates 843 additional miles of our rivers as “wild and scenic.”  Sound good?  I can tell you that designation on the Merced River in my district has been used to close many traditional tourist amenities at Yosemite park, including swimming pools, raft and bike rentals, horseback riding stables, and ice skating and lodging facilities.   Public use, resort and recreation becomes, “Look, but don’t touch.”
 
The health and vitality of our forests depends on active, scientific forest management.  That means carefully tending our forests to protect them from morbid over-crowding which in turn makes them vulnerable to disease, pestilence, drought and ultimately catastrophic wildfire.  Excess timber comes out of a forest in only one of two ways: it is either burned out or it is carried out.  This bill makes good forest management impossible by forbidding our foresters to use their science to protect and groom and care for our forests by assuring that trees have the room to grow strong.  
 
Finally, this bill ignores and insults the communities directly affected by this massive federal land grab.  In case after case, the local elected officials, local governments, local fire districts and local residents in the nearby communities have formally, vigorously, and vocally protested the draconian restricts imposed by this measure because they imperil public safety from fire and do wanton harm to the local economies.
 
This bill reverses the three objectives set by House Republicans.  Instead of restoring public access to public lands, the Democrats restrict and deny it.  Instead of restoring good management to the public lands, the Democrats forbid it.  And instead of restoring the federal government as a good neighbor to those communities impacted by the public lands, the Democrats give those communities the finger.
 
When Obama once said that elections have consequences, he was right.
 
  
Issues: