For Immediate Release

Public Lands Advocates Thank Rep. Whisnant for Withdrawing Bill Sponsorship

Arran Robertson  (503) 283-6343 x223
Communications Manager
ar@oregonwild.org

FEBRUARY 23, 2017

Oregon Wild today praised central Oregon Rep. Gene Whisnant for withdrawing support for task force legislation that would study the transfer of national public lands to Oregon:

“On behalf of Oregon Wild’s more than 20,000 members and supporters from all across our beautiful state, I am writing today to express our gratitude for your decision to withdraw your co-sponsorship for HB 2365, the bill to study the transfer of America’s public lands to the Oregon state government.”

A 2014 analysis commissioned by Oregon counties in 2014 found the study would cost taxpayers $1.2 million, and a 2 year study and legal report approved 11-1 by Western attorneys general casts doubt on many of the legal arguments underpinning the state public land seizure agenda.

Oregon’s State Land Board last week moved one step closer to privatizing over 80,000 acres of state public lands in the Oregon Coast Range. At a hearing on the task force last week in Salem, conservation and fishing groups expressed concern that state ownership of national lands would inevitably lead to their sale. Oregon has already sold over 96% of the national public lands it acquired at statehood.

“Moving forward, we would ask for the opportunity to engage with your office on how we best keep America’s public lands in public hands, and resolve our disagreements over management.  Public lands in Oregon, from Hells Canyon to Cape Perpetua, and from the Columbia Gorge to Steens Mountain, are a vital part of what makes our state so special.  Let us work together to protect these natural treasures, and ensure they remain public and open to all forever.”

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