For Never Wild
A coalition of environmentalists has sued the U.S. Department of the Interior over its recent decision to prevent the Bureau of Land Management from considering any more Western land for wilderness designation. Areas set aside for protection under the 1964 Wilderness Act are protected from motorized recreation and most forms of development. In 1996, however, the state of Utah challenged the Clinton administration’s wilderness designation of more than 3 million acres, claiming that under the terms of a separate law, the Federal Land Policy Management Act of 1976, the Interior Department only had until 1991 to choose areas for wilderness status. Interior Secretary Gale Norton agreed with Utah and said no new lands in the West would be eligible for consideration as wilderness — a move that would affect almost 2 million acres identified as potential wilderness areas in Arizona alone.