A New Year’s Resolution for Congress: Keep Public Lands in Public Hands

With all the end-of-year news stories, one of the most consistent headlines goes something like this: “113th Congress on pace to be least productive ever.”  However, the New Year is a time for hope, including the hope that Congress will listen to the American people when it comes to the stewardship and conservation of their public lands.

Eclipse over the Continental Divide in Colorado. NWF staff photo by Ann Morgan.
Eclipse over the Continental Divide in Colorado. NWF staff photo by Ann Morgan.
So, this year, instead of drawing up a personal list of New Year’s resolutions, I’ve decided to draft a few ideas for Congress. The public supports these suggestions, as surveys and bipartisan polls have shown.

My New Year’s wish for members of Congress is that these resolutions will point a positive path forward and keep them so busy that they won’t have time to even think about shutting down the government again.

Browns Canyon, photo courtesy Susan Mayfield (all rights reserved).
Browns Canyon, photo courtesy Susan Mayfield (all rights reserved).

New Year’s Resolutions for Congress

  • Congress should resolve to listen to the 91 percent of Western voters who told pollsters in a bipartisan survey that public lands are an essential part of their state’s economy and not entertain proposals to sell off these treasured assets.
  • Congress should resolve to learn from the 78 percent of voters who feel that we can protect land and water and have a strong economy at the same time, and not prioritize industrial energy development ahead of wildlife, land and water.
  • Congress should consider the opinions of two-thirds of Western voters who believe our current laws protecting land, air, and water should be strengthened, or at least better enforced, whenever they are lobbied to weaken our laws and regulations.
  • Congress should resolve to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Land and Water Conservation Fund by fully funding it, finally fulfilling the promise made so many decades ago, and by reauthorizing the law to secure its conservation benefits for another 50 years.
  • Congress should resolve to honor American’s love of wild, open spaces by celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and pass the numerous bills before them that would protect and conserve nearly 2 million acres of iconic western lands.

In short, Congress should resolve to continue a great American legacy and keep public lands in public hands. That will make millions of people happy in the New Year.

Help Protect Public Lands

Take Action ButtonProtect public lands from energy development—tell the Bureau of Land Management to protect crucial wildlife habitat near Colorado’s North Park.