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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

US Houses Passes
Land Management Act

Kirk Johnson,
Executive Director,
Friends of Allegheny Wilderness


"Today the U.S. House of Representatives finally passed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act [H.R. 146] which when signed into law by the President will protect in perpetuity as wilderness under the Wilderness Act of 1964 two million acres of our Federal public lands in their natural condition for future generations of Americans to use and enjoy.

Although there are no Allegheny National Forest lands included in the measure, Friends of Allegheny Wilderness and our vast network of supporters applaud the 15 out of 19 Pennsylvania House members who voted to invest in our grandchildren's future by supporting this important bill. Both Arlen Specter and Robert Casey are also to be heartily congratulated for voting for the measure previously in the U.S. Senate.

The wilderness community across the country has invested a tremendous amount of blood, sweat, and tears over the last decade to get to this point. With today's vote we will grow the National Wilderness Preservation System to nearly 110 million acres -- the largest single addition to the System since 1994. This is a deeply profound validation of all the work, hopes, and dreams of wilderness advocates everywhere. Its significance cannot be exaggerated.

Friends of Allegheny Wilderness now asks the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation to turn its attention in earnest to the Commonwealth's only national forest -- the Allegheny -- and work to see that comprehensive wilderness legislation is implemented for the Keystone State before the end of the 111th Congress. We of course are not seeking to reduce or eliminate timber harvest from the Allegheny -- directly, indirectly, or otherwise -- but simply to permanently protect the most wild of what's left."

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