Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: CAP’s Matt Lee-Ashley on Conservation Bills Attached to Defense Authorization
Press Statement

STATEMENT: CAP’s Matt Lee-Ashley on Conservation Bills Attached to Defense Authorization

Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Matt Lee-Ashley issued the following statement after the announcement that House and Senate negotiators have agreed to attach the largest public lands package in five years to the National Defense Authorization Act currently moving through Congress:

After a nearly six-year drought, it is good to see Congress begin to move wilderness, parks, and conservation bills on a bipartisan basis. This package is modest in scale and includes several giveaways to private interests, but on balance, it is an important step toward restoring Congress’s long-standing, bipartisan tradition of protecting our most special places for future generations.

President Barack Obama’s leadership on conservation in the past year—including his challenge to Congress in last year’s State of the Union and his protection of new national monuments—played a large role in shaking these bills free. There is more work to do, however, as this package does not include a number of strongly supported bills that have been languishing for years, including bills to protect Browns Canyon in Colorado and the Boulder White Clouds in Idaho. It is more clear than ever that the president will need to use the authority that Congress has already given him to protect these lands and others for the benefit of local economies and future generations.

Related Resources:
A Blueprint for Balance by Matt Lee-Ashley, Christy Goldfuss, Jessica Goad, Tom Kenworthy, Nada Culver, Brian O’Donnell, Greg Zimmerman, and Ti Hays
RELEASE: Report Provides New Data on Congress’ Dismal Land Conservation Record

For more information, contact Tom Caiazza at or 202.481.7141.