FINAL UPDATE: Modern Hiker is maintaining a page with more expansive content backed by more resources than I can provide alone. I will cease updating this page and point you to their page. https://modernhiker.com/all-the-horrible-anti-public-land-laws-from-the-2017-congress

UPDATES ON 2/6/17 @ 0630 PST in red

It is not my intent to introduce politics to my website, however, it should be inherently obvious that as a biologist I am concerned about the environment. The new Congress and President are moving forward on measures related to the environment and public lands at a head-spinning pace, and I’ve decided to create a single location to track all of it. Before starting, I want to note the following:

  • Information will be provided without comment from me, except sometimes to explain the rationale for why something is included that may not explicitly seem related to the environment. Form your own conclusions.
  • I have a busy life outside of writing on this site. Please forgive me if anything goes a few days without being up-to-date.
  • I am reliant on a combination of government websites, the news, and social media for information on new bills, bill updates, etc. I will always try to post the source information.
  • Comments on this post: Feel free to comment, but I will remove all comments that have any potential to devolve into political arguing. That’s not what I want on my website. Please respect that. I would welcome comments providing updates to information on this page.
  • Currently, information is provided in this order: Key Bills, Bills in Congress by Category, Executive Actions, and Text Excerpted from White House Press Briefings.

Key Bills

This section summarizes bills I deem noteworthy, often determined by news coverage.

House of Representatives

H.R.861 – To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.

Link to bill
Date introduced: 2/3/2017
NOTE: Text of bill not available on 2/6/17

H.R.739 – To prohibit the construction of new border barriers, including walls or fences, on certain Federal land, and for other purposes.

Link to bill
Date introduced: 1/30/2017
Summary: To prohibit the construction of new border barriers, including walls or fences, on certain Federal land, and for other purposes.
NOTE (2/2/17): This proposal has been referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security. It is included here because it is related to an Executive Order on border security included below, which has potential to affect wildlife movement.
Status: Introduced
NOTE (2/6/17): Summary added.

H.R.717 – To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require review of the economic cost of adding a species to the list of endangered species or threatened species, and for other purposes.

Link to bill
Date introduced: 1/27/17
Summary: To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require review of the economic cost of adding a species to the list of endangered species or threatened species, and for other purposes.
NOTE (2/6/17): Summary added.

NOTE (2/2/17): No summary or bill text available

H.R.622 – Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act

Link to bill
Date introduced: 1/24/17
Summary: To terminate the law enforcement functions of the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management and to provide block grants to States for the enforcement of Federal law on Federal land under the jurisdiction of these agencies, and for other purposes.
Status: Introduced

H.R.621 – Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act of 2017

Link to bill
Date introduced: 1/24/2017
Summary: To direct the Secretary of the Interior to sell certain Federal lands in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming, previously identified as suitable for disposal, and for other purposes.
Status: Introduced (2/2/17)
NOTE (2/2/17): Rep. Chaffetz announced bill would be withdrawn because of public protest. Not listed as withdrawn as of this update.

H.R.232 – State National Forest Management Act of 2017

Link to bill
Date introduced: 1/3/17
Summary: To authorize States to select and acquire certain National Forest System lands to be managed and operated by the State for timber production and for other purposes under the laws of the State, and for other purposes.
Status: Introduced (2/2/17)

H.J.Res.46 – Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule of the National Park Service relating to “General Provisions and Non-Federal Oil and Gas Rights”

Link to bill
Date introduced: 1/30/17
Summary: Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule of the National Park Service relating to “General Provisions and Non-Federal Oil and Gas Rights”.
Status: Introduced (2/2/17)

Senate

S.132 – National Monument Designation Transparency and Accountability Act of 2017

Link to bill
Date introduced: 1/12/17
Summary: To amend title 54, United States Code, to provide for congressional and State approval of national monuments and restrictions on the use of national monuments.
Status: Introduced (2/2/17)

S.33 – Improved National Monument Designation Process Act

Link to bill
Date introduced: 1/5/17
Summary: To provide for congressional approval of national monuments and restrictions on the use of national monuments, to establish requirements for the declaration of marine national monuments, and for other purposes.
Status: Introduced (2/2/17)

 

Bills in Congress by Category

Links to lists of bills on the Congress website by category, including their status. Is there a category you would like to see included? Leave a comment! Of course, these are simply links to search results on the Congress web page and you can perform your own search.

Endangered Species Act

Public Lands

National Parks

Environmental Protection Agency

Coal Mining

Executive Actions

January 28, 2017 (Federal Register publication date) – Mexico border wall

[Note: this is the Executive Order pertaining to the border wall with Mexico. As I am restricting the purview of this page strictly to environmental issues, this is included because of its potential effects on wildlife movement]

Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements (EO 13767): https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-01-30/pdf/2017-02095.pdf

Text Excerpted from White House Press Briefings

Statements during White House Press Briefings can be important in understanding the administration’s thoughts on issues. This information is copied directly from transcripts provided on the White House website.

February 2, 2017 – Public lands, logging

SPICER: With that, I want to go to my third Skype seat, Lars Larson of the Lars Larson Show.
LARSON: Commander Spicer, it’s a pleasure. Thanks for your service to America, and thanks for the opportunity. I’ve got a broad question. The federal government is the biggest landlord in America. It owns two-thirds of a billion acres of America. I don’t think the Founders ever envisioned it that way. Does President Trump want to start returning the people’s land to the people? And in the meantime, for a second question — since that’s in fashion these days — can he tell the Forest Service to start logging our forests aggressively again to provide jobs for Americans, wealth for the Treasury, and not spend $3.5 billion a year fighting forest fires?
SPICER: Thanks, Lars. I think the President has been very clear that as part of an overall comprehensive energy solution, that we’ve got to utilize the resources that we have, that the federal government owns, whether that’s the forests or natural resources or minerals that exist above and below the ground, that we have too infrequently looked at our own resources and counted too much on foreign sources of energy.
So we’re going to continue, as Congressman Zinke goes through the process to head up the Interior Department, and Governor Perry goes through his appointment — his confirmation process, to get those individuals through, but then working together in areas where they have overlap and also on areas where they will act individually to realize, to look at those natural resources that we have and figure out how to best utilize them to benefit not just our energy, but also economic growth opportunities with that.

February 2, 2017 – coal mining

SPICER: With that, let me go to the last question on Skype and then we’ll continue. Jeff Jobe of South Central Kentucky — of the Jeff Jobe Publishing in South Central Kentucky.
JOBE: Thank you for allowing me to be part of today’s White House press briefing. Clearly, anyone paying attention will see that President Trump is aggressively acting on his campaign promises. This in itself gives hope to my state and particularly the region in which I grew up, Appalachia. We’ve seen countless politicians make promises at both state and national levels, and not only forget us, but to turn on us. So my question is, how soon or when will the roles restricting coal mining, coal burning and coal exports be reversed?
SPICER: Thanks, Jeff. I’ve talked about this a couple times so far, but I believe — or the President has very clearly stated that clean coal in particular is an issue that’s so important to our energy independence as well as our job creation in this country. And so whether you’re talking about Kentucky or West Virginia or Pennsylvania, or so many other places in this country that rely on coal, bringing the production of clean coal back is good for our energy independence, is good for our economy, is good for job creation, and is something that he continues to talk about. And I think once we have the Secretary of Energy confirmed, that we can continue to take steps to move forward with.

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