11:29 PM

For Immediate Release

Congress Passes Controversial Legislation to Privatize Public Lands 

The Senate has passed a federal public lands package that funds and advances wildlife conservation, reauthorizes the Land and Water  Conservation Fund, but also contains a controversial provision that would allow for privatization and development of federal public lands in Alaska.

Sandra Purohit, Government Relations Legislative Counsel, of Defenders of Wildlife issued this statement: 

“We applaud the authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other important conservation advances, however, the legislation passed in the Senate today also places at risk huge swaths of America’s public lands and resources in Alaska.”

“We are deeply troubled by the Alaska Native Veterans Allotment Act included in the package. The current language is improved from earlier versions but, unfortunately, continues to pose a substantial conservation threat. In the near term, the provision puts hundreds of thousands of acres of America’s public lands at risk of privatization and development, including lands set aside specifically for conservation, recreation and scientific study. It also invites similar threats to national wildlife refuge lands in the future. We will continue to work to resolve this issue as this package moves to the House.”

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.