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May 26th, 2021
Chair Grijalva Leads Letter to Senate Urging Prompt Approval of House-Passed Bill to Protect U.S. Wilderness and Public Lands, Lessen Climate Impacts

Washington D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today led a letter with 19 House Democratic colleagues to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urging them to advance the House-approved Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act to President Biden’s desk for his signature. The bill, which passed the House on Feb. 26 with bipartisan support, protects millions of acres of land across the country from development and supports thousands of sustainable jobs.

The full letter is available online at

“Turning this great bill into law is crucial to President Biden’s ambitious conservation agenda,” Grijalva said today. “We can support the administration’s America the Beautiful initiative and address the climate crisis at the same time. Local communities and organizations around the country want long-term federal support for the lands and waters on which we all depend, and we need to take this opportunity while we have it.”

The authors write in part:

This bill, the result of decades of effort by communities across the nation, would protect lands in Arizona, California, Colorado, Washington, Maine, Oregon, Virginia and the Virgin Islands, providing protections for irreplaceable landscapes like the Grand Canyon and Colorado’s Thompson Divide. The bill includes numerous innovative efforts, creating a pilot program for the capture and resale of methane from abandoned coal mines, establishing restoration lands to protect Northern California communities from wildfire, and enhancing access to public lands as a rehabilitation opportunity for veterans.

Major conservation packages have enjoyed broad bipartisan support in recent years, including from current Senate Republicans. During the 116th Congress, Chair Grijalva and the Natural Resources Committee worked with partners in the Senate to pass two major conservation bills, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act and Great American Outdoors Act. The latter included unprecedented permanent funding authorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

An earlier version of the bill at issue today, called the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act, passed the House on multiple occasions last Congress, but stalled under the then-Republican Senate majority. New leadership in the Senate and bipartisan improvements to the bill give Senate leaders a new opportunity to reach across the aisle and work together to tackle the climate crisis.

The Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act enjoys support from conservation groups, Native American tribes, sportsmen’s organizations and the outdoor recreation industry.

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