Coburn Rips Omnibus Lands Bill

Parochialism and short-term political expediency trumped common sense in the U.S. Senate, said Oklahoma junior Senator, Tom Coburn, M.D.
“The public lands bill handicaps future generations with additional debt and new barriers to both renewable and traditional energy resources in our own country,” Coburn said.
The Senate passed the omnibus public lands bill Thursday, on a vote of 77-20. The bill setting aside millions of wilderness acres and excluding them from energy exploration.
“Today, we rejected transparency and the ability to know the size and cost of federal property so we can better manage our resources. We rejected transparency because we prefer darkness and a lack of accountability. We rejected eliminating earmarks because we want to look good back home even if we undermine our future. We rejected the ability to access energy both renewable and traditional. We rejected prioritizing the needs of our national parks, which are deteriorating in the face of at least a $10 billion maintenance backlog because we prefer new ribbon cutting ceremonies to the hard work of upkeep and oversight,” Coburn said.
The American people also should be disappointed that in a time of economic turmoil the U.S. Senate has devoted seven weeks to a bill that could have been done in two weeks, Coburn said.
“Seventy of the bills in this package, which I supported, could have passed by voice vote. Had the majority agreed to a simple and open amendment process months ago we could have been focusing on more important issues. The fact that one-third of the Senate supported some of my amendments demonstrated that this bill was too complex and controversial to pass essentially in secret with no debate, no amendments and no recorded votes,” Coburn said.

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