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Second Regular Session

Sixty-first General Assembly

LLS NO. R98­0934.01 BWM


BY REPRESENTATIVES Smith, K. Alexander, Dyer, Entz, George, S. Johnson, Miller, Reeser, Schauer, Taylor, and Young;

also SENATORS Ament, Bishop, Chlouber, Dennis, Hopper, and Wattenberg.



WHEREAS, In 1997, the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) initiated in Colorado a wilderness reinventory of public lands beginning in western Colorado and including lands in Moffat, Mesa, Rio Blanco, Garfield, Montrose, Eagle, Delta, Fremont, Teller, El Paso, Chaffee, Montezuma, Hinsdale, Pitkin, San Miguel, Dolores, Conejos, and Gunnison counties; and

WHEREAS, To date, six areas in western Colorado have been reinventoried by the BLM for roadless or wilderness designation potential and are being managed to protect the potential, but not necessarily identified, wilderness values as the review process proceeds; and

WHEREAS, By managing lands as de facto wilderness areas, the BLM has determined to hold oil and gas leasing in abeyance and to limit other discretionary multiple uses on such lands until Congress determines whether the areas qualify for wilderness designation under the federal "Wilderness Act"; and

WHEREAS, Numerous questions have been raised regarding the BLM's authority to reinventory these lands for wilderness designation, and what, if any, meaningful public review has or will occur; and

WHEREAS, All Colorado BLM lands were reviewed under the initial wilderness study process as directed under the wilderness provisions of Section 603 of the federal "Land Policy Management Act" (FLPMA) and officially completed in November 1980, and after numerous opportunities for public input and comment, including public hearings, over 800,000 acres were designated Wilderness Study Areas, only then to be managed as wilderness under the interim wilderness management guidelines, with 400,000 acres subsequently recommended to the President for designation as wilderness; and

WHEREAS, Under Section 603 of FLPMA, the BLM completed the wilderness study and made its recommendations to the President in 1991 and the President submitted his recommendations for wilderness to Congress in 1993; and

WHEREAS, The lands currently selected for wilderness reinventory in 1997 were rejected by the BLM in the 1980's as not meeting wilderness criteria; and

WHEREAS, The BLM appears to be reinterpreting its roadless criteria in order to increase the amount of land eligible for consideration for wilderness designation by reevaluating approximately one million acres of land even though such land did not previously meet wilderness criteria and no significant new information has been presented to the BLM on these land issues; and

WHEREAS, The BLM is continuing to reinventory such lands prematurely before Congress has acted on the President's recommendations; and

WHEREAS, The BLM is holding in abeyance multiple use activities on lands included as part of the reinventory resulting in detrimental economic impacts to the citizens of Colorado; now, therefore,

Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the Sixty­first General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the Senate concurring herein:

That we, the members of the Colorado General Assembly, hereby request:

(1)  That BLM lands continue to be managed to allow for multiple uses in accordance with existing resource management plans until such time as plan amendments have been lawfully adopted; and

(2)  That the United States Congress place a moratorium on any further funding to the BLM for the purpose of carrying out such roadless or wilderness reinventories until Congress acts on the President's 1993 recommendations.

Be It Further Resolved, That copies of this Joint Resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the United States Secretary of the Interior, the Director of the United States Bureau of Land Management, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and to each member of Colorado's delegation in the United States Congress.

Created: 4/16/98 Updated: 4/16/98