House of Representatives to Vote on Attacks to Public Lands and Waters

Update 5/1/2024:

On April 30, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the WEST Act with a vote of 211-202. The Superior National Forest Restoration Act was passed with a vote of 212-203.

On May 1, the Alaska’s Right to Produce Act was passed with a vote of 214-199, with 2 "present" votes. A "Motion to Recommit" the Mining Regulatory Clarity Act was passed, a procedural vote that effectively sends a bill back to committee and blocks a final vote to pass the bill. The last time a "Motion to Recommit" passed was in 1992.


The week of April 29, the U.S. House of Representatives is set vote on a slate of legislation that targets conservation achievements supported by hunters and anglers who advocate for our public lands and waters.  

These bills would overturn protections for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, repeal the new BLM Public Lands Rule that elevates conservation as a value equal to other uses of public lands, and make drastic changes to mining law on our public lands by granting absolute rights for exploration. If passed into law, each of these bills would reverse public land management decisions that benefit intact fish and wildlife habitat valued by hunters and anglers across the United States. 


  • The WEST Act, led by Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), would overturn the recently announced BLM Public Lands Rule. This rule elevates conservation as a value on par with other uses such as grazing, mining, and energy development on our largest public lands estate. It would conserve intact habitat, restore degraded landscapes, and require landscape health assessments in decision-making by the Bureau of Land Management.
  • The Superior National Forest Restoration Act, led by Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN), would overturn the 20-year mineral withdrawal that halted the proposed Twin Metals mine and protected the Boundary Waters, America's most visited wilderness area, from regionally untested sulfide-ore copper mining. It would also reissue previously canceled leases and arbitrarily preclude those leases and permits from judicial review.
  • The Alaska’s Right to Produce Act, also led by Rep. Stauber, would reinstate oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge, calving ground for the Porcupine Caribou Herd, was opened to oil and gas leasing in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act despite being proposed for wilderness designation. This bill would also overturn the recently announced NPR-A Conservation Rule, which maximized protections for previously designated Special Areas that provide habitat for the Teshekpuk and Western Arctic caribou herds. 
  • The Mining Regulatory Clarity Act, led by Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV), would make all mining claims valid on public lands and guarantee an absolute right to all mining activities including prospecting, exploration, and associated development. In areas we consider "protected" it would be unlawful to deny mining and exploration activities, even without a prior discovery of a valuable mineral deposit. 


Backcountry Hunters & Anglers strongly opposes these bills that would reverse hard-won conservation achievements supported by our members and would give away broad rights to the mining industry without addressing the tens-of-thousands of abandoned mines polluting fish and wildlife habitat. Join BHA in calling upon Congress to reject these bills that are a direct attack on our wild public lands and the opportunities they provide for current and future generations of sportsmen and women.


About Kaden McArthur

A western hunter and angler, my passion for wild places and wildlife brought me to Washington, DC to work on conservation policy.