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Omnibus Land Act of 2008 – Your government at work

November 11th, 2008 · No Comments · Politics of Riding

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Whatever else you may think about the recent election, one thing is certainly going to change — public policy about the public’s right to use public lands. Specifically, our right to ride and responsibly use public trails and land will be under even greater assault.

The latest major assault on our rights as American off-road enthusiasts is the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2008. Please visit the AMA Rapid Response Center or Save the Trails to let your representatives know you want them to kill this bill.

This bill is bad by it’s very nature. There are more than 140 separate parts in it, and you can bet your last dollar that no one voting on it knows what they all are. Any bill in Congress with the word omnibus in its title is bad. Period. No exceptions.

The word omnibus means dealing with many items at once, and it’s the straight path to hell for decent legislation. Omnibus bills are expressly designed to obfuscate their contents, create hidy-holes for pet projects, and get things passed that would never pass on their own if they had to survive the harsh light of open debate. They are a favorite tool of corrupt, lazy politicians and special interests, who use them to hide things for which there is no public support. Half the time there are no, or very few, specifics in the bill at all when it is passed. Most of the specifics get written later by useless bureaucrats. Great, huh?

The only sure thing about this bill is that, as off-road enthusiasts, we will be worse off if it passes. It’s possible (but very difficult) to get good land use legislation. But it requires open debate, consideration, participation by the public, and lots of hard work. The Omnibus Bill got none of those things. It’s a shortcut, half-ass, slap-and-go, piece of lame duck legislation. Let your Representative know that we’ve had enough of their stupid legislating and they should just go home.

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