That yellow you see is egg on our face.
A few weeks back, the Senate passed a bill providing for a two-million acre expansion of the National Wilderness Preservation System, and we all cheered. It was a umbrella bill that encompassed some 170 smaller bills, many of which had been pending for years.
One small part was Mineral King Valley in the Sierra Nevada, which was, in many ways, the birthplace of environmental law and Earthjustice. We blogged, op-edited, and pitched the story far and wide. An op-ed was circulated by High Country News. A story was commissioned by American Lawyer magazine, another by Sierra, the Sierra Club’s journal.
Yesterday–March 10–the House shocked many by defeating the bill. The reason for that was that supporters thought they had it wired, and put into place special rules that forbade amendments but required a two-thirds vote. The bill failed by two votes, with some Republicans whining that it would cost too much (these days, who’s counting?) and block access to oil and gas on federal land (duh).
Supporters have pledged to try again, though they’re not saying when. One hopes it will be soon so our self-congratulation embarrassment won’t last too long.