Sunday, April 26, 2009

Obama blows $10 billion+ on National Parks, federally blocks millions of acres from future oil and gas development

The Senate amendments to H.R. 146 inserts the language of S. 22, a massive omnibus natural resources bill which contains more than 170 individually introduced bills--over 100 that did not pass on House floor, and over 70 that did not receive House consideration--that create new, federally sheltered wilderness areas, national parks, wild and scenic rivers, and heritage areas. The bill also includes land exchanges, ocean exploration, local water projects, landscape restoration, and underwater research, among a variety of other programs. Some of the provisions in the bill would, among other things, prohibit natural resource development on about 1.2 million acres in Wyoming, permanently lock 26 million acres into a new National Landscape Conservation System, and outlaw fossil collecting on public lands.

According to CBO, the 1,248-page bill is estimated to cost $6.4 billion, $900 million of which would be mandatory. However, according to the Committee on Natural Resources, the total authorized spending in the bill is more than $10 billion. The legislation was initially scheduled to be considered in the Senate before the end of the 110th Congress, but was filibustered by Senators who cited concerns regarding the bill's cost and that the legislation would federally block millions of acres from future oil and gas development.

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