What: All Issues : Environment : Wildlife/Forest/Wilderness/Land Conservation : (S. 1) On an amendment endorsing the protection of federal land for environmental and recreational purposes (2015 senate Roll Call 13)
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(S. 1) On an amendment endorsing the protection of federal land for environmental and recreational purposes
senate Roll Call 13     Jan 22, 2015
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

This vote was on an amendment endorsing the protection of federal land for environmental and recreational purposes.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) offered the amendment during consideration of a bill authorizing construction of a controversial oil pipeline. Sen. Boxer’s amendment would have no practical impact on federal policy; rather, it amounted to a “sense of Congress” statement that public land is an important part of American heritage and gives a boost to local economies. The amendment asserted that the designation of federally protected land should continue where it is appropriate and endorsed by local citizens.

Sen. Boxer said she offered the amendment because Republicans were considering legislation that would make it harder for the federal government to protect sensitive public land from development. As a result, it was important for Congress to reaffirm its commitment to setting aside land for the benefit of all Americans, she said.

“Can my colleagues imagine America without Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, Natural Bridges in Utah, Scottsbluff in Nebraska, Muir Woods in California, Glacier Bay in Alaska?” Sen. Boxer said.

Opponents of Sen. Boxer’s amendment said Congress should be encouraging the federal government to give up some of its land, not protect more of it. Federal protection of land stifles economic growth by limiting recreational activities and economic development opportunities, they said.

“We don’t need to be encouraging the federal government to make it even harder on our state and local communities,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said. “In fact, quite the opposite. We need to give states more control over the land within their borders and leave more of the management, maintenance, and conservation up to local officials.”

Even though 55 senators voted in favor of Sen. Boxer’s amendment and only 44 voted against it, the amendment was defeated because it was brought up under Senate rules that require 60 votes for passage. Voting “yea” were 45 Democrats and 10 Republicans. Voting “nay” were 44 Republicans. As a result, the Senate defeated the effort to endorse the protection of federal land for environmental and recreational purposes.

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