Official results on the passage of the PILT amendment #333 to H.R.1 proposed by the Gentle Congresswoman Kaptur from Ohio were not close:
The amendment was defeated by a margin of 394 to 32. Since there was no exact time set for this amendment to be heard we had CSPAN on via laptop all day yesterday. They got to it in the late afternoon/early evening.
Please thank our Colorado Congressional Members who showed their support for county governments by voting no on amendment #333. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll117.xml
While we should all be pleased that this was not a close vote, PILT was only first fully funded by Congress in 2008—and that full funding which was part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 is going to be a big topic for the 2012 budget. This proposed amendment offered an opportunity to have a strong response to start educating many new Representatives and those Representatives from the east that simply do not understand western rural counties, that full funding of PILT is essential now and for the future. Full funding of PILT is not just to benefit local governments, it is a matter of national interest. These lands are federally owned for reasons that have been deemed to be important for all Americans – lands with unique mineral or water resources, wildlands, critical habitats, cultural resources, most of which are open for all the public to experience and enjoy.
Thank you for mobilizing on this issue. I heard from NACo staff that the materials supplied by Ouray County were the best they had ever received from a county – because they were very clear as to what PILT was used for, and what loss of PILT would cut. We were clear about the services our local governments provide (road maintenance, emergency response, search and rescue, sanitation cost-share, back country ranger cost-share, etc.) because of these public lands. NACo staff shared the materials you received widely with staffers and lobbyists across Capitol Hill, and I am sure they made a difference in this vote. We still need to be watchful and participatory on this issue in the near future.
I will be travelling to Washington D.C. in March for the NACo legislative conference as part of the Colorado Counties Public Lands Steering Committee. We are developing a brochure that will be handed out to explain to each Representative what PILT means to their state and local governments.
I appreciate the opportunity to serve such a dedicated group of citizens.
For more information on resources for economic development and sustainability of Gateway Communities – portals like Ouray, Ridgway, Silverton, Durango, Telluride, Montrose, Gunnison, Crested Butte – to popular public lands, check out these links:http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/sustainable/about_gateway_communities.html
If this topic interests you, I would like to know. I think it would be a great “happy hour” round-table discussion topic.