Protecting America’s vast public lands is a key priority for LCV. Last Congress saw the enactment of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, a landmark piece of legislation that is a collection of over 160 individual bills protecting millions of acres of America’s natural resources. More recently, however, our public lands have been under siege as timber, mining, and oil companies and their allies in Congress have pushed to industrialize more and more of America’s natural heritage. LCV will keep fighting to conserve these lands for the benefit of future generations.
America’s 155 National Forests and 20 National Grasslands—totaling some 193 million acres and comprising around 8.5% of the total U.S. land area—provide vital fish and wildlife habitat, clean drinking water, and first-rate outdoor recreation opportunities for millions of Americans. LCV is committed to ensuring that these national treasures are protected for future generations so they can enjoy them as much as we have.
One part of our National Forests that merit special protection is roadless areas—backcountry lands that remain unspoiled by industrial activity. In the waning days of the Clinton administration, the US Forest Service adopted the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. This directive prohibited road construction on the 58.5 million acres of pristine roadless areas that still exist in our National Forests. Unfortunately, the rule has been under attack by industry since its inception. That is why LCV strongly urges actions from both the Obama administration and Congress to ensure that the few remaining backcountry areas within our National Forests remain safe from logging and drilling for future generations.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of America's greatest natural treasures. This vast Alaskan wilderness expanse is virtually untouched by humans and is home to moose, caribou, polar bears, and millions of migratory birds, as well as a unique collection of arctic and sub-arctic landscapes.
Unfortunately, this priceless landscape is at risk. Big Oil and their allies in Washington have long argued that tapping the oil resources in the Refuge’s coastal plain would lower gasoline prices and reduce reliance on foreign oil. However, a Department of Energy report concluded that drilling in the Refuge wouldn't lower prices at the pump in the short-term and at peak production might only save consumers a penny a gallon by 2025. By contrast, modest improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency would save far more oil than the Refuge could ever yield. LCV is committed to defending the Refuge’s incomparable landscape from irresponsible drilling.