PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The U.S. House of Representatives could vote as early as next week on a wide-ranging bill that could shut off-highway motorcyclists and all-terrain vehicle riders out of more than 2 million acres of public land, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.
The measure, Senate Bill 22, also known as the Omnibus Public Lands Bill, is actually a package of more than 160 bills that were melded together to form a single bill more than 1,300 pages long.
"This bill was on the fast-track in the U.S. Senate and passed swiftly earlier this year without public scrutiny or debate," said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. "The measure is now being steamrolled through the U.S. House without giving the public an opportunity to fully digest its impact and debate the many provisions in the bill."
Moreland isn't the only one upset at how this legislation is being handled. U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), a key lawmaker, said, "Poor process produces poor product, and this is an example of congressional process at its worst. Parts of this bill are good, and parts are very bad. Each part deserves to be discussed and voted on its own merits."
Moreland called on all AMA members, off-highway motorcyclists, ATV riders and everyone who supports responsible outdoor recreation to immediately contact their Congressional representative and ask them to reject the bill. The measure should be defeated because it unreasonably bans motorized recreation on 2.1 million acres of public land by inappropriately designating it as Wilderness, and because the procedures used for fast-tracking the bill through the U.S. Senate and House violate the spirit of open and democratic government.
"Continued responsible access to public lands is a vitally important right for current and future generations," Moreland added. "This measure deserves to be fully analyzed and thoughtfully debated prior to a final vote."
A rapid way to contact elected U.S. representatives is in the "Issues & Legislation" area of the Rights section of the AMA website at www.AmericanMotorcyclist.com.