Defending our nation's conservation laws

Mason Cummings, TWS

Our nation’s wildlands and conservation laws are under attack

From the paddler’s paradise of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota to the jagged mountain peaks of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, American wildlands are almost overwhelming in their variety and beauty.

Equally diverse are the threats facing these places: from oil and gas drilling and mining to climate change, road building and habitat loss. Fortunately, the nation has a set of wise laws and practices aimed at protecting wild places and our environment.

But these laws are under frequent attack by pro-fossil fuel, pro-development members of Congress. With your help, we work to repel these threats. That means defending bedrock conservation laws like the Wilderness Act, Antiquities Act, National Environmental Policy Act and Roadless Rule. It means standing up when federal agencies try to fast-track mining and drilling proposals in inappropriate places. And it means fighting a small but vocal “land takeover” movement in western states, which seeks to sell off your public lands for private gain.


Why this issue matters

If drilling, logging and mining lobbyists have their way, our conservation laws will be weakened to allow for more and more natural resource extraction on public lands.

2 minutes, 30 seconds
How long it takes the American West to lose a football field’s worth of natural area to development.
Major conservation laws attacked
In recent years, Congress has tried to dismantle laws like the Wilderness Act and Antiquities Act.
"Land takeover" advancing
A fringe movement to take over or sell off public lands has led to "land takeover" proposals in state legislatures and even the U.S. Congress.

What we're doing

  1. Protecting the most sensitive places

    We lobby government agencies to guide destructive energy and mining projects away from sensitive wild places like the Greater Grand Canyon and Yellowstone.

  2. Defending key laws

    We work with members of Congress to defend against legislation aimed at undermining important conservation laws and environmental safeguards. Some of the laws we defend include: The Wilderness Act of 1964, our nation’s highest standard of land protection; the Antiquities Act, which gives natural or cultural landmarks “national monument” status; and the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which conserves wild, roadless sections of our national forests as off-limits for road construction and commercial timber harvest.

  3. Mobilizing Americans

    We mobilize Americans against the “land takeover” movement, a radical attempt to wrest national public lands from the agencies that care for them so that they can be sold off for mining, logging, drilling and other development.

  4. Taking legal action

    When absolutely necessary, as in the case of President Trump’s illegal reduction of national monuments, we take our fight to the courts.

What you can do

Join our WildAlert list for opportunities to tell elected officials that our wildlands deserve protection.