George Wuerthner, a writer for New West Community Blogs, reported today that a bunch of wilderness and parks bills likely will be bundled together as one big omnibus bill and voted on by the lame-duck Congress in the coming weeks.
One of those bills would be the Mojave Trails National Monument, which follows the Route 66 corridor in California’s Mojave Desert.
Wuerthner writes about the 60-odd wildness and parks bills:
Voting on individual bills in the limited time left in this session means few, if any of these bills, would become law despite obvious support from Congress. As a result Senator [Jeff] Bingaman, chair of the Senate Energy Committee, has decided to bundle as many as 60 separate bills, including many wilderness proposals into one Omnibus lands bill for passage. A similar technique was used in the 2009 Congressional session to garner wilderness designation for many areas in the country including wilderness designations in Utah, Oregon, Virginia, Michigan and California. […]
… [T]he biggie in California is The California Desert Protection Act, (S. 2921), introduced by Sen. Diane Feinstein. This expansive bill would protect nearly 1.5 million acres of southern California’s desert lands by creating two new National Monuments (Mojave Trails and Sand to Snow National Monuments), adding Wilderness acreage, expanding Joshua tree and Death Valley National Parks, and protecting the desert’s historic treasures like Route 66.
That 2009 Omnibus bill, by the way, included the reauthorization of the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program for another 10 years.
We’ll try to follow the Mojave Trails legislation, although keeping track of the ebb and flow of legislation is like trying to herd cats.