Important New Support for Rocky Mountain Front Protection

Language in Interior Appropriations Bill Prevents New Oil and Gas Leases WASHINGTON – Senator Conrad Burns of Montana, who is Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, announced Tuesday the inclusion of language in the 2007 Interior Appropriations Bill that would prevent any new oil and gas leases from being approved within the confines of federal land along the Rocky Mountain Front. The move would protect an area inhabited by rich and diverse fish and wildlife populations and cherished by hunters and anglers throughout the country. In a statement, Sen. Burns commented, “It’s clear this is a critical area for habitat, recreation, agriculture, and just to appreciate the majesty of Montana.” The Burns language is aimed at preventing any new leasing for oil, gas or hard rock mining in all of the U.S. Forest Service land within the Rocky Mountain District of the Lewis and Clark National Forest and contiguous parcels controlled by the Bureau of Land Management. It would not affect existing leases until they expire or are traded, donated or purchased back either by the government or a third-party group – in which case the area would become exempt from re-leasing. The Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front, including groups such as Trout Unlimited and Montana Wildlife Federation, was instrumental in working this action through with Senator Burns. “Senator Burns’ welcome move to protect the Rocky Mountain Front is the sort of move that should be considered in other regions of the West that have particularly valuable fish and wildlife habitat,” said TRCP Chairman Jim Range. The Rocky Mountain Front language was included in a draft of the Fiscal Year 2007 Interior Appropriations Bill expected to be approved by the full Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow. *** The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is a coalition of leading conservation organizations and individual grassroots partners, working together to conserve fish and wildlife and their habitat, increase funding for conservation and management, and expand access to places to hunt and fish. For more about the TRCP and its partner organizations visit: www.trcp.org