Thanks to Senators Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state, and Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, the Natural Resources Management Act has passed the Senate. This is a major victory for public lands, as well as both political parties, and it has significant influence over many parts of the Pacific Northwest.
The most important success is the bill would permanently preserve a pillar of conservation, the recently lapsed Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). If approved, the bill would represent a rare, bipartisan compromise that bolsters public lands for every single user group including hunters, hikers, bikers, boaters and land managers. In addition to the LCWF, many measures would affect Washington State, including preventing new mining activities on roughly 340,000 acres of federal land in the Methow Valley, creating a volcano early warning system with a 24/7 national volcano watch office, and creating programs to explore new technologies for fighting wildfires like drones and GPS tracking. The House of Representatives is expected to take up a version of this bill soon, beginning in the House Natural Resources Committee. //