Congress still has not passed the annual Appropriations bill– and the must-pass legislation is still cluttered with stealth riders aimed at reducing wilderness and forest protections.

The U.S. House of Representatives met on Monday, Dec. 6, to vote one more time on the Appropriations bill that once carried the now-infamous rider that would have allowed certain committee members to view other people’s tax returns. Although this provision was stripped out by the Senate, plenty of terrible anti-environmental riders remain.

(Riders are bills, often controversial and unlikely to pass on their own, that are tagged on to other, often-unrelated bills that must be passed. In this case the Appropriations bill will provide the funding for several federal agencies for the next fiscal year.)

A rider that would exempt up to 900 grazing allotments on national forest land from environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is still attached to the Appropriations bill. Grazing takes place on 96 million acres of national forest land, degrading streams and wildlife habitat. This rider is another in a series of attempts by the Bush administration to get around NEPA, suppress public comment, and avoid review of environmentally damaging activities.

Another rider attempts to weaken the power of citizens to intervene in controversial Forest Service management decisions. It would place a 30-day limit on the filing of legal challenges to timber sales on Tongass National Forest in Alaska, and pressure judges to rule on Tongass timber lawsuits within 180 days.


The Appropriations bill will most likely be voted on by Wednesday, Dec. 8, but a vote could be called at any time. Don’t delay– call or fax your representative in the House now and urge him or her to vote to remove these anti-environmental riders. Ask your representative to vote against the entire Appropriations bill if these riders are not removed.

Also ask your representative to push for a roll-call vote. Our political representatives should be accountable for the laws they pass, and should not be allowed to slip bad laws past the public in secret.

Call Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House Minority leader; first, thank her for her stand against the anti-environmental riders, then ask her again to demand a roll-call vote on the Appropriations bill.

Contact Rep. Pelosi at:
(202) 225-4965 (Phone)
(202) 225-8259 (Fax)

To find contact information for your representative, go to: http://www.house.gov./house/MemberWWW.shtml


Forests Forever:
Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection
John J. Berger

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places