• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Reid's Omnibus Bill Worse Than Before

    Doesn’t Harry Reid know that Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest? A day for NFL playoffs. Apparently not, since he’s calling for a special Sunday vote on an omnibus lands bill that removes public land that would be available for recreational, commercial, and private ownership use by designating such land as wilderness areas, heritage areas, conservation areas and wild and scenic rivers. Furthermore, the bill places restrictions on existing federal property.

    It gets worse; the bill restricts energy exploration and is loaded with wasteful earmarks. Over 3 million in total acreage would be withdrawn from energy leasing, including areas with enormous potential to extract new oil and natural gas. For example, 331 million barrels of recoverable oil and 8.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas would be taken out of exploration in Wyoming. The total amount of energy that would be restricted is equivalent to the amount of natural gas the entire U.S. produces in 15 years.

    It also includes wasteful spending projects such as $3.5 million to help celebrate the 450th birthday of St. Augustine Florida and $3 million for a “road to nowhere” through a wildlife refuge in Alaska. Another gem in this bill is a “$1 billion water project in California intended to settle a lawsuit with environmental groups. The minimum measurement of success outlined in the settlement is the restoration of 500 salmon.”

    The omnibus bill will require $10 billion in new government spending and contains over 150 separate bills , which means that even though the omnibus is an extremely bad bill, most states have some sort stake in the game. Translation: it is very difficult to defeat.

    It also means that many groups adamantly oppose the bill. According to Senator Tom Coburn’s office,

    “More than 100 organizations ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the National Wildlife Refuge Association have expressed their opposition to this package due to its wasteful earmarks, anti-conservation provisions and anti-domestic energy production provisions. In addition, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service has released a report calling the package ‘controversial.’”

    Dr. Coburn, who took the led the charge blocking the omnibus bill last year, is making his case again, saying,

    “The decision by Senate leaders to kick off the new Congress with an earmark-laden omnibus lands bill makes a mockery of voters’ hopes for change. This package represents some of the worst aspects of congressional incompetence and parochialism.”

    Domestic energy off limits. Private property rights restricted. More land in the hands of the federal government. And now groups like the National Wildlife Refuge Association oppose the bill because of its anti-conservation provisions. This bill wasn’t a good idea in 2008 and it’s certainly not the right way for the new Congress to kick off 2009.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Reid's Omnibus Bill Worse Than Before

    1. Thomas Gray South Ca says:

      There is not 'freedom from' anything. How about "Freedom from Bad TV?" It's called the on/off switch. Everyone and every group has the right to push for their view in the way government is run. The result of that multi-part push is the stew that is final legislation. When people don't like a certain view or elected official, they vote, it,him,her, out. The way you handle any perceived " injurious policy " input is you speak more on your behalf. You don't shut off the other side. That is how dictatorships come about. Not from the dictator spouting off his ideas, but from the EXCLUSION of the other side. A dangerous road to go down.

      To many people have switched off, those who voted voted for glamour and hype but what we all got was a pickpocket for our grandchildren to remember and wonder how all these men picked their pockets before they were born.

    2. Jerry Arthur, Wyomin says:

      Do your homework. Most of these so called bad public lands bills are the result of hard work and collaboration among diverse groups from across the country, and the bills were originally hammered out on the ground though consensus, not by Reid. They deserve better than the above rant which isn't grounded in facts and would work to defeat the hard work of many Republicans who support the omnibus package.

      Case in point is the Wyoming Range bill, introduced by two Republican Senators in Wyoming. The bill was made in Wyoming by Wyomingites. Wyomingites understand energy production more than most Americans because they produce so darn much of it (#1 coal, #1 uranium, #2 onshore natural gas). Wyoming is doing its share and this bill is only asking for a little bit of land leftover so folks can still hunt and fish and take their kids camping before its all gone. That's too much for folks like Senator Coburn out in Oklahoma who have to lie and bring up bogus figures about how much fossil fuel is under a place they've never even been too.

      The USGS geological survey says there is only 1.5 trillion cubic feet, not the bogus 8.8 trillion cubic feet that Senator Coburn likes to throw around. Further, the majority of the resource is already accessible to oil and gas companies, and would not be hindered by this bill.

      Get real and do your homework before you repeat lies about so many well meaning bills built which represent the hard work of American across the country.

    3. Sage Christian says:

      "Am I a sea, or a sea-beast, that you put a watch over me?" (Job, 7, 12)!

    4. crev carrillo, las v says:

      THIS IS going to blow up completely in the Democrats face. All of it, Obama's plan, Pelosi's plan, Reid's plan…. the sad truth is that the majority of Americans will be standing in the front line when it happens. Our letters and commentaries to them will fall upon deaf ears.. they are the experts and are going to do exactly what they want, the rest of us be damned!!!

    5. Russell H Kealen says:

      Aren't we all a little tied of the earmarks. Why can't we get an earmark to give every tax paying American citizen a $10,000 stimulus check.

      With all these earmarks this bill should be vetoed.

      Are not these the promises made to us durning the compaign.

    6. Pingback: The Boxer-Reid Land Grab | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.