Support the FY2008 Interior Appropriations bill

Support Funding for Interior Dept!
//action.wilderness.org/campaign/house_interior

I write to urge you to support the FY2008 Interior Appropriations bill.

As you know, the programs in this bill are essential to safeguarding our environment and public health. After years of deep and disproportionate cuts to these important programs, the FY2008 Interior Appropriations bill provides an increase of $1.95 billion over the President's request for the agencies funded in this bill.

Among the programs that received the proposed increases, the Land and Water Conservation Fund--$206 million--$98 million over the President's Budget; the Forest Legacy Program $62 million--a 54% increase over the President's Budget; National Wildlife Refuges--$56 million over the President's Budget; and the National Landscape Conservation System up $10 million.

With these increases, the FY 2008 Interior Appropriations bill takes an important step toward funding the programs that will protect our public lands, air, water, parks, wildlife, and communities' health, while encouraging federal action on climate change, by establishing a commission of scientific experts that will identify key areas for research and action to address to respond to the threat of global warming.

I also urge you to support several conservation amendments. One, an amendment by Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) would prohibit taxpayer dollars from being wasted on new logging roads in the Tongass National Forest.

As a taxpayer, I'm writing to urge you to help end the waste of millions of taxpayer dollars on building new roads in America's largest intact rainforest for the timber program. Taxpayers lose an average of $40 million a year to access timber which may never be sold on the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. Since 1982, the Forest Service has wasted nearly $1 billion taxpayer dollars.

This year, House Appropriations Committee is making efforts to require the Forest Service to address road problems in the National Forests, while recommending that the Forest Service use the existing 5,000 miles of roads on the Tongass, rather than building new ones, for the timber program. Supporting the Andrews/Chabot Tongass Amendment will further send the message to the Forest Service that Americans want our tax dollars spent conscientiously.

Here are three other amendments that may be in play and I strongly urge you to support:

* An amendment by Rep. John Salazar(D-CO)and Rep. Mark Udall(D-CO) to prohibit the use of funds to issue oil and gas leases on Colorado's spectacular Roan Plateau. The Bureau of Land Management last week decided to issue oil and gas leases in this special area, despite the pleas of Colorado's Governor, local elected officials and many Coloradans to delay that process until a more balanced land management plan can be developed.

* An amendment by Mark Udall (D-CO) to prohibit the use of federal funds to issue commercial oil shale leases on public ands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The Bush Administration is rushing ahead to issue commercial oil shale leases on thousand of aces of BLM lands before they leave office. The Udall amendment would allow for a more careful and prudent approach to this important energy issue.

* An amendment by Mark Udall (D-CO) to stop the Administration's policies that give away hiking trails and routes across National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, and Wilderness to states and counties across the West. These lands must be protected from road development that could harm current and future protection for Wilderness and National Parks.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
[Your name]
[Your address]



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