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House Votes Today on Budget Package Including Worst Land Grab in American History (10 Nov 2005)

For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, November 10, 2005

(WASHINGTON, Nov. 10) — The House of Representatives votes today on a federal spending bill with language from Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) that will let foreign mining companies, real estate speculators, oil and mining conglomerates, or anyone else purchase up to 350 million acres of American taxpayers' lands for as little as $1,000 per acre.

Environmental Working Group (EWG) has analyzed the national parks, forests, wilderness areas and other natural treasures at risk in 13 western states (www.ewg.org/reports/dirtcheap/). Among the lands Rep. Pombo's proposal puts up for sale are areas in or near Yosemite, Yellowstone, Death Valley and Grand Canyon national parks, some of America's last, best wild places.

Bipartisan opposition over Pombo's land sale has grown, with Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) asking House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) to strip the Pombo provision from the spending bill.

"We're cutting food stamps, student loans and Medicaid to deal with our skyrocketing federal deficit, but Congress is still considering Richard Pombo's costly special interest giveaway of priceless public lands at rock-bottom prices," Richard Wiles, EWG's senior vice president, said. "With no hearings or even a minute of legislative oversight, this outrageous deal treats taxpayers' lands like an ATM machine for anyone who wants to build a subdivision, strip mall or mining operation on our most valuable lands."

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EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C., that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.