1994 Scorecard Vote
For more than a decade, environmentalists have been working to strengthen federal protection for the hauntingly beautiful -- and biologically unique -- desert lands of California. For years, efforts to pass a California Desert Protection Act failed in the face of opposition from the Reagan and Bush Administrations and members of California's congressional delegation.
This year, however, the presence of two new senators from California -- Dianne Feinstein (D) and Barbara Boxer (D) -- helped advance efforts to establish three new national parks and extensive new wilderness areas in the state. Together, Sens. Feinstein and Boxer introduced S. 21, the California Desert Protection Act, which enlarges the Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Monuments and designates both as national parks. It would also create a new 1.5 million-acre Mojave National Park and designate nearly four million new acres of wilderness that would be administered by the Bureau of Land Management. During debate on the Senate floor, opponents of new parks and wilderness areas attempted to weaken the bill by amendment. Recorded votes were taken on three amendments:
Sen. Malcolm Wallop (R-WY) offered an amendment that sought to block creation of the Mojave National Park -- where hunting would be barred -- by substituting a Mojave National Monument (administered by the Bureau of Land Management), where hunting would be allowed. Had the amendment passed, these wild-lands would have received a lower level of protection, cost more to manage, and produced fewer economic benefits for the region. Opponents also noted that polls show Californians overwhelmingly supported creation of the Park and that hunters had historically shown little interest in the area. Even with Park designation, nearly 10 million acres of surrounding federal land would be open to hunting.
On April 12, 1994, the Senate rejected the Wallop amendment by a vote of 35 - 62. NO is the pro-environment vote. (See House vote 11.)