Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pulls omnibus public lands bill

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has dropped his effort to pass a massive omnibus public lands bill that would have restricted responsible off-highway vehicle (OHV) access to thousands of acres of public land, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

Reid introduced the legislation, S. 303, the “America’s Great Outdoors Act of 2010,” on Friday, Dec. 17, as a substitute to unrelated legislation titled the “Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 2009.” Reid’s move was reminiscent of the controversial parliamentary tactic that anti-OHV forces used in 2009 to close 2.1 million acres of public land.

“We are cautiously optimistic that this latest effort to keep the American public from responsibly enjoying America’s public lands has failed,” said AMA Senior Vice President for Government Relations Ed Moreland. “AMA members played no small role in this provisional success, and we thank our subscribers who responded to AMA Action Alerts to oppose this pending legislation.

“However, we must remain vigilant because Reid has indicated a desire for a smaller version of S. 303 prior to adjournment,” said Moreland. “The current session can possibly run through Jan. 4, 2011.”

Moreland added that in addition to the recent AMA Action Alert on this issue, the AMA has issued letters and applied procedural pressure to combat Reid’s effort to restrict access to public lands. To read the latest alert, see http://capwiz.com/amacycle/callalert/index.tt?alertid=20980501.

Reid’s bill was a collection of more than 70 measures and more than 1,000 pages. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) was one of several senators who protested the legislation, saying it was too sweeping to consider prior to the end of the current session. In addition, key representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, such as House Natural Resources Chairman-elect Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), voiced opposition to the measure.

“We need to protect public land for future generations, not from future generations, and that includes responsible OHV recreation access,” Moreland said. “In addition, legislation deserves a full and public debate on its merits, and parliamentary tricks and sleight-of-hand, such as what we saw in 2009 and what we’ve experienced here, do not allow that.”

To receive the latest on this and other issues that affect the motorcycling and OHV community, sign up to receive AMA Action Alerts at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Issues & Legislation.

About the American Motorcyclist Association

Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists’ interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through its support of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com.

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