Climbers Help Stall Oak Flat Land Exchange


The Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act came to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for a vote on September 26th, along with three proposed amendments. The bill was expected to pass the House fairly easily, as its nearly identical predecessor in the 112th Congress did last year. However, the bill was tabled because Republican leadership did not have the votes necessary to defeat the third amendment, which would essentially kill the bill.

It took an enormous, well-coordinated lobbying effort to get this result. In the weeks leading up to the scheduled floor vote, intense face-to-face lobbying was done by several Native American groups, environmental groups, and the Access Fund. Access Fund members should be proud of their significant contribution in stalling this bill—helping to bombard members of Congress with nearly 1,000 opposition letters.

It is likely that sponsors of this legislation will make additional efforts to pass the bill in this Congress, but our collective actions have caused them to delay a vote until they believe they have the necessary votes for passage. At least temporarily, we have helped to stifle the momentum that this legislation had in the House.