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House passes public lands and water bill


On March 25, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 285 to 140 in favor of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009.

Included in the package are several key Colorado land and water bills that have strong support among local communities but which ultimately did not receive consideration in the 110th Congress. The bills are essential to ensuring Colorado communities have reliable access to clean water, to protecting open space, and to preserving the natural heritage and beauty of Colorado for the enjoyment of generations to come.

"These bills represent years of hard work by so many committed stakeholders, from local communities to the federal government," said Congresswoman Betsy Markey. "These measures will do much to protect Colorado's public lands and water, which are critical to preserving Colorado's way of life. These measures will also help bolster Colorado tourism, which is a huge economic driver for our state."

The Omnibus Public Land Management Act was amended in the House to include a provision that would protect the rights of sportsmen.

"Hunting and fishing are important parts of Colorado's heritage and tourism economy," said Rep. Markey. "This amendment will preserve access for sportsmen in areas currently open to those activities and preserves the authority of the states to manage resident wildlife populations."

"This is a great day for Rocky Mountain National Park and for Estes Park," said Bill Pinkham, Mayor of Estes Park. "We've pushed for Wilderness designation for many years, and appreciate the efforts of our congressional delegation to make this a reality. Wilderness designation will ensure that the Park remains a special place for future generations to enjoy and explore, and will help sustain our tourist-based economy and maintain the vitality of our mountain resort community."

"Congresswoman Markey voted for Colorado today," said Bent County Commissioner Bill Long. "It's a great day for Colorado and it's a great day for the Arkansas Valley. The residents of the Arkansas Valley are grateful for her efforts to pass this important bill."

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