S.22 - Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2008

A bill to designate certain land components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes. view all titles (25)

All Bill Titles

  • Short: Craig Thomas Snake Headwaters Legacy Act of 2008 as introduced.
  • Short: Federal Ocean Acidification Research And Monitoring Act of 2009 as introduced.
  • Short: FOARAM Act as introduced.
  • Short: Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009 as introduced.
  • Short: NOAA Undersea Research Program Act of 2009 as introduced.
  • Official: A bill to designate certain land components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes. as introduced.
  • Popular: Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2008 as introduced.
  • Short: Northwestern New Mexico Rural Water Projects Act as introduced.
  • Short: Ocean and Coastal Mapping Integration Act as introduced.
  • Short: San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act as introduced.
  • Short: Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program Act as introduced.
  • Short: Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 as introduced.
  • Short: Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act as introduced.
  • Official: A bill to designate certain land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes. as introduced.
  • Short: Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 as passed senate.
  • Short: Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009 as passed senate.
  • Short: NOAA Undersea Research Program Act of 2009 as passed senate.
  • Short: Ocean and Coastal Mapping Integration Act as passed senate.
  • Short: Northwestern New Mexico Rural Water Projects Act as passed senate.
  • Short: Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act as passed senate.
  • Short: Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program Act as passed senate.
  • Short: Federal Ocean Acidification Research And Monitoring Act of 2009 as passed senate.
  • Short: FOARAM Act as passed senate.
  • Short: San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act as passed senate.
  • Short: Craig Thomas Snake Headwaters Legacy Act of 2008 as passed senate.

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Displaying 1-30 of 40 total comments.

  • TreePlanter 01/11/2009 3:08am

    It would be good for the NCT North Country Trail.

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  • Moderated Comment

  • Stbalbach 01/11/2009 4:33pm

    Socialism? You must be joking. America is marching quite quickly in the opposite direction, control of government by private special interests (corporations). The evidence for this is so overwhelming and so apparent in the wake of the current financial crisis and wars, it makes these occasional victories for the public good stand out as being unusual.

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  • Stbalbach 01/12/2009 3:32am
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    + -1

    The salmon has been misrepresented by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), it is much more complex than “$496 million for 500 salmon”, that’s just stupid. Where did Tom Coburn come up with that idiotic idea?

  • Anonymous 01/12/2009 4:36am
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    + -1

    As much as we all want to save the planet, and this bill does bring up some valid points, we do need to exercise a democracy as much as possible. This one is being sped through without sufficient time to evaluate the entire scope. I am a recreational outdoor enthusiast that enjoys the use of public access areas that are well regulated and governed. This bill poses a major threat in shutting down the areas I cherish.

  • Stbalbach 01/12/2009 8:51am

    Sped through?! Hardly. It’s been worked on for YEARS and is a bi-partisan effort about 50/50 Dems and Repubs proposed the bills – Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) was playing tricks and games to stall it, upsetting Senators on both sides of the isle. Also I would be curious how “This bill poses a major threat in shutting down the areas I cherish”, sounds rather short sighted and dubious. This bill will preserve areas I ALSO cherish, but also my kids and grand kids will still have access to them in generations time. We need to have a future and this bill is about doing the right thing.

  • Anonymous 01/12/2009 2:31pm
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    + -1

    funny how this bill will protect this lands from even a bicycle traveling through them… and many of these areas recently became available when the ban on domestic drilling in Western states expired last fall…

  • Anonymous 01/12/2009 5:39pm
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    + -1

    Yes this bill will preserve the land. However – you will not be able to access it nor will your children or grandchildren. This bill CLOSES the land totally. READ! This bill is doing nothing but robbing us of the access to land we all have a right to use. This bill goes too far and too much.

  • Moderated Comment

  • keihin 01/14/2009 6:08am

    I have read that the Congressional Budget Office has examined S.22 and declared it “revenue neutral”. This means that, on the whole, the projects contained within it won’t cost the taxpayers a cent.

    A wilderness designation does not close the land. The land remains open and accessible. This designation only prohibits vehicular access.

    Personally, I enjoy hiking much more than biking and four-wheeling. You see so much more when you’re moving slowly. And the land seems much bigger, and can be shared by more people. Not to mention that the land doesn’t get torn up by motor trails. The “Leave No Trace” ethic makes a lot of sense in these special areas.

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    Sodbuster 02/06/2009 5:54am
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    + -1

    All well and good if you can get around. For those of us with personal issues that prevent us from walking you are shutting us out completely. I have rheumatoid arthritis. I LOVE to get outdoors to not only prospect but also to take photos.

    I am being completely shut out because I cannot use my UTV to get into those areas. Well maintained trails DO NOT threaten the land or its use.

  • Anonymous 01/14/2009 9:05pm
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    + -1

    I enjoy off road riding. The fact that people like some of you don’t doesn’t make you more important then me. Dirt bikers, atv riders and four-wheeler enthusiasts built many of the trails that people like to use. We also can’t ride on every trail out there. There are plenty of them that are for foot traffic only. We say on the trails and enjoy the public lands as much if not more then you do. They are public lands let the public use them as they wish.

  • Comm_reply
    jplynch3 01/29/2009 9:09am

    I’m not aware of any off-roaders that have built any trails on public lands. Nor maintained them. I support responsible off-roading, but it would be great if they would organize volunteer groups to maintain the trails that are open to them. Also, while we’re at it, can they put mufflers on their engines!

  • Anonymous 01/15/2009 8:57pm

    To those who assert S.22 would “close the land,” I suggest reading the Bill, which pretty clearly it seeks to restrict commercial development and limit the use of motorized vehicles on the protected land. Still plenty of opportunity to enjoy our natural resources in a natural way. And an expansion of the Natural Trails System, which is specifically designated for recreation. Just leave the Hummer at home when you hit the trails! Try a horse!

  • Anonymous 01/16/2009 1:05pm
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    + -2

    I wish we could get the whole country as a wilderness area escept Oklahoma and Utah- they will become a dump

  • trollkiller 01/16/2009 1:17pm
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    + -2

    I agree

  • cgoetz7 01/17/2009 7:50pm

    Does anyone know the public areas that the bill would protect that currently allow motorized vehicles? Or if you could point me to the section of the bill that discusses the use of motorized vehicles on public land. Thanks.

  • keihin 01/18/2009 6:59am

    I don’t have a list of all the affected areas that currently do allow vehicular access. I do know that any area designated as a Wilderness Area, and that doesn’t mention specific exceptions, will fall under normal Wilderness Area guidelines. Those guidelines prohibit the new roads, as well as any mechanized travel. This allows for horses and hikers, but not ATVs, ORVs or even bicyclists. The intent of this designation is preserve large, continuous tracts of roadless land that show only minor evidence of human impacts, and typically have unique and valuable geology and biology.

    See http://www.wilderness.net for a better and more thorough explanation.

    See especially this page, which clarifies some commonly misunderstood points about lands designated as Wilderness:

  • Anonymous 01/18/2009 2:51pm

    Honorable Senators Boxer and Feinstein,

    I am writing you today to voice my displeasure regarding your vote today on the Omnibus Federal Land Management Act (Bill # S.22).

    While I find merit in many of the bills it did include, I am very displeased that so many bills which lack substance and represent “pork” spending were included in this enormous package. I also resent the fact that many of these bills will effectively lock the public out of many of OUR lands via the “Wilderness” designations they carry.

    Given the pending investigation by the Interior Department of improper activities and misconduct by public officials involved in the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) which is a division of the Bureau of Land management and their alleged collusion and impropriety with environmental advocacy organizations, I do not think it prudent that any consideration should have been given to the legislation.

    My family and I spend many enjoyable hours recreating in our National Forests, National Parks and on BLM lands. During our visits we like to get out in nature with family and friends. We usually travel to our chosen destination via a four wheel drive vehicle as it allows us to get away from paved roads and into areas we could not otherwise reach by other means. Upon arrival at our final destination we spend our time camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and traveling the trails in the vicinity with our Jeep and other OHVs taking in the beautiful scenery that our public lands afford us.

    We in the OHV community generally support the idea of travel being limited to designated roads, trails and areas. We are also in support of a thorough environmental review and analysis as well as ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the OHV infrastructure. Indeed, we as an OHV community have voluntarily taxed ourselves in order to provide funds to the agencies involved so they can actively and effectively accomplish these tasks.

    We strongly opposed combining these land bills into one package as it eliminated careful review and allowed special interest groups with large powerful lobbies in Washington DC to outweigh the voice of individual citizens, like my family and friends, who regularly visit and enjoy our public lands.

    We were dismayed about many parts of the bills that contain lands which cannot be considered suitable for Wilderness and will now ultimately result in the closure of many historically used four wheel drive roads (some originating as far back in time as the 1800s), snowmobile areas and mountain bike trails. It is our belief that specific bills in the Omnibus package will eventually eliminate access to our public lands. These bills will result in the loss of America’s access to millions of acres of public lands across the West.

    These areas are not National Parks, they are lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and should managed as such. Many of the bills will allow BLM managers to close public access and reduce recreation as they have done in the past when given the freedom to do so, usually citing budgetary issues. Fiscal constraints are no excuse for the lack of proper management of our public lands and public access should not have suffered as a consequence.

    Lost in all this legislation was the issue of those whose mobility is impaired, including veterans like myself who incurred disabilities while serving our country and the elderly who cannot walk into or nearby most of the areas included in this bill.

    Back in the 60s development of America’s wild lands and backcountry was a threat. Now the threats are the Wilderness Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and many other environmental protection laws passed by Congress due to the way they are being used by Wilderness lobbies to lock recreationalists out of our public lands via “Wilderness” designations.

    Public lands are important recreational opportunities for mountain bikers, snowmobilers and Off-Highway Vehicle users, all of which are banned in “Wilderness”.

    There are other alternatives like National Conservation Areas or National Recreation Areas which would provide the same level of protection from development that the “Wilderness” designation carries while still preserving a diverse array of opportunities for recreation.

    I am very disappointed that you have not supported other alternatives which do not restrict America’s ability to enjoy our public lands by voting in favor of the Omnibus Federal Land Management Act of 2009.

    Thank you for your time.

  • Anonymous 01/19/2009 10:17am
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    + -2

    14,000,000 Gamboa, Panama?

  • Anonymous 01/22/2009 7:35am
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    + -2

    The problem with leaving ‘nature’ to itself, is that it wouldn’t stay healthy. The forests become overcrowded with trees. The saplings that come up dont have a chance for sunlight or water. Then the wildfires hit, and threaten the areas where humans do live. When timber is that concentrated, it’s next to impossible to stop. Bug infestations flurish and the other wildlife leaves. We don’t need to abandon these areas, we need responsible people to take care of them.

  • Comm_reply
    reynoldsad 02/16/2009 1:24pm

    I am sorry to offer a rebuttal but the forest did fine before we came here. Mother nature is way better than we are at managing anything. Just look at the enormous increase in certain types of cancer (breast cancer, etc) due to our brilliant ideas of managing orchard crops with genetically improved fruits/vegetables and use of hormones to fatten the beef, pork, and poultry many set on the table each evening.

    Yeah, people are really great at managing nature. I mean just look at the status of the environment today. We really muffed that job since our heads are so clouded with profits we cannot look past our wallets to our own grandchildren. Yep a fantastic job we have done here screwing things up.

    The life cycle is much better at managing all the details. Over population is easily dealt with by nature. A bit of disease removes a portion of the population. However, we often do not consider consequences of our actions when we try to control things. In the past non-native species were introduced to combat native diseases of orchard crops. Now we have overpopulation of certain crops which are impenetrable by natural controls.

    Your idea of bug infestation is off the mark. Ecology plays a much larger role than you give credit. You have left off the fact that predators feed on bugs… arachnids such as spiders. Wildlife will not leave. If that were true wildlife would have all drowned themselves before Columbus arrived when humans, animals, and plants lived in harmony. Native Americans did not try to manage anything. They merely wanted to live day-to-day. Unlike our profit minded ideas of mass production for sake of a big house on the skirts of town to show our friends with little regard for the single mother a few blocks away that is unable to buy the supermarket “harvest” because she is unable to find dependable labor so that she can feed herself or her children.

  • Comm_reply
    keihin 03/25/2009 12:26pm

    These natural areas won’t be neglected. They’ll still be subject to Forest Service oversight. Each will have an updated management plan.

    Most of the areas designated for wilderness have established and robust natural systems. Problems with wildfires are far more prevalent in areas that have been logged, and then developed understory growth. Old growth without understory fuels doesn’t present nearly the fire hazard.

    In any case, the thinking on fire management has been evolving in recent years. We may need to learn to let areas burn on occasion in order to maintain healthy forests. We may have good intentions, but our actions don’t always work out for the best. Excessive fire suppression may be one of these case.

    Invasive pests are mostly due to exotics entering a system, or environmental stresses due to situations like drought. These wilderness areas will provide vital biodiversity preserves that will prove more resistant to outside threats.

  • Anonymous 01/22/2009 8:43am

    Here’s a partial list of affected areas.


    California Desert and Mountain Heritage Act

    Background on the bill, including a description of areas and maps, is located at:
    California Desert and Mountain Wilderness Campaign.

    Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Wild Heritage Act – California

    A factsheet on the legislation is located at:
    Keep the Eastern Sierra Wild » Protect Wild Lands.

    Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Wilderness Act –California

    A copy of the legislation is located at:
    getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:h3022rs.t xt.pdf.

    Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and Dominguez Canyon
    Wilderness Area Act – Colorado

    For background, see: http://www.ourcolorado.org/what-we-d…areaproposals/

    Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness and Indian Peaks Wilderness Expansion
    Act – Colorado

    For more information, see:

    Owyhee Public Lands Management Act of 2007 – Idaho

    Background, factsheets, and other materials located at:
    Mike Crapo, U.S. Senate: Owyhee Initiative.

    Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Voluntary and Equitable Grazing Conflict
    Resolution Act – Oregon

    For more information, see:
    Soda Mountain Wilderness — Oregon Wild.

    Copper Salmon Wilderness Act – Oregon

    For more information, see: Copper Salmon Wilderness Campaign — Oregon Wild or
    Friends of Elk River – Copper Salmon Wilderness Campaign.

    Lewis and Clark Mt. Hood Wilderness Act of 2007 – Oregon

    Background, fact sheets, and maps are located at:
    Mount Hood Wilderness Campaign — Oregon Wild.

    Oregon Badlands Wilderness Act

    Background information, photos, maps, and more is located at:
    Badlands Proposed Wilderness — Oregon Natural Desert Association.

    Spring Basin Wilderness Act – Oregon

    Background materials are located at:

    Sabinoso Wilderness Act – New Mexico

    For more information, see:
    Sabinoso Wilderness — NMWild.

    Wild Monongahela Act – West Virginia

    For background information, see:
    West Virginia Wilderness Coalition :: WVWild.org
    or The Wilderness Society.

    Virginia Ridge and Valley Act

    More information, including testimonials from supporters and a description of areas, is located at:
    Virginia – We Love it Wild!.

    Beaver Basin Wilderness- Michigan

    Information on Pictured Rocks is available at:
    Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (U.S. National Park Service).
    A copy of the legislation can be found at: THOMAS (Library of Congress).

    National Landscape Conservation System Act

    For background information, see: The Conservation System Alliance.

    Wyoming Range Legacy Act

    For more information, see:
    Citizens Protecting the Wyoming Range: Issues: The Wyoming Range Legacy Act: A solution for Wyoming.

    Washington County Growth and Conservation Act – Utah

    The 2008 version of the legislation can be found through:
    THOMAS (Library of Congress).

    Izembek and Alaska Peninsula Refuge and Wilderness Enhancement Act

    For more information, see:

  • jplynch3 01/29/2009 9:04am
    This bill is not perfect but its “good enough” and long overdue. The relevant section for my state, Virginia, is the Ridge and Valley Act. This act has been negotiated for years, and has wide bi-partisan and local support. The lands are not “locked up”. There is a wide range of access for all users. And, if tweaking is needed in the future, Congress cancertainly do that.
  • jckherri 01/29/2009 6:32pm

    And what is this?


    Kudos to the Reeves for all they contributed to paralysis research, but this item has no business in this bill. We need to stand up and demand that our representatives in both houses may not add such unrelated material in a bill.

    It totally distorts the voting records. Not that the bill isn’t already so big as to make it nearly impossible to actually nail down any one legislator’s position on any particular issue.

    Don’t tell me that’s how it works. Are we getting hope and CHANGE as promised or just more of the same.

  • Anonymous 02/03/2009 1:13pm

    Dear Congressmen and women:

    As the new year begins, I find it critical at this time to express our concerns regarding the “Paleontological Resources Preservation Act” that is currently under consideration by the House. Unfortunately, this passed through the Senate as a part of the incredibly huge Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009. I find it disconcerting that this bill is continuing to make its way through the legislative system with all of its problems still attached. The AAPS (Association of Applied Paleontological Sciences) board of directors has reviewed House Bill HR 554, “Paleontological Resources Preservation Act” and S.22 “Paleontological Resources Preservation.” There are many good things about this bill in both forms, but also many issues that need to be addressed that affect not only commercial collectors, like Triebold Paleontology, but many academic and scientific institutions as well. We appreciate you taking the time to review this information and how it will affect all of us in the paleontology industry, commercial, academic and amateur. The following points are reasons why AAPS cannot support this Bill (using S.22 data) and urge you to vote NO on the upcoming Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 with Subtitle D included:

    Sec. 6302 (a) states that “the Secretary shall manage and protect Paleontological resources on Federal lands using scientific principles and expertise.” This is exactly what many professional companies, like TPI, have to offer. We applaud the Bill’s recognition that the Secretary of the Interior has the responsibility to manage and protect paleontological resources on public lands. After so many years of changing policy, this Bill would finally clarify regulation of fossil collecting, and increase public awareness. We are in complete support of the casual collecting exemption. Amateurs are the foot soldiers of paleontology and their activities are to be encouraged. We applaud the recognition that all qualified individuals will be eligible to obtain a permit. In past bills, commercial and amateur collectors were not allowed to obtain permits.

    Sec. 6304 © 3 states that “specific locality data will not be released by the permittee or repository without the written permission of the Secretary.” It is against scientific principles to keep scientific data secret. This should be available to all scientists and the general public who own public lands. Except in only the most special circumstance locality data should not be withheld. Science and the public want to know this information.

    Sec. 6306 (b) states that “a person may not make or submit any false record, account, or label for, or any false identification of, any paleontological resource excavated or removed from Federal land.” Ironically, Paleontology is a field that is not set in stone. What you find and label in the field may not be what you find as preparation is undertaken in the lab. Penalties for misidentification of fossils will place every museum in jeopardy. There is not one museum that is free from labeling errors on specimens on exhibit or in collections.

    Sec 6303 © states that penalties “such person shall be fined in accordance with title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both” is quite extreme punishment for mislabeling a fossil. We could find a large number of our scientists and museum curators behind bars if this was actually enforced. And heavens! With (d) if you mislabel more than two times, your penalty could be doubled! I guess this would be one way for starving scientists to get a free meal…

    Sec. 6307 (a) 2 (A) states “the scientific or fair market value, whichever is greater, of Paleontological resource involved.” There is no logical scientific or empirical way to assign a dollar amount to scientific value. Only the term fair market value should be used. The market adequately determines the value of a Paleontological specimen.

    Sec. 6308 (b) states that “all vehicles and equipment of any person that were used in connection with the violation, shall be subject to civil forfeiture, or upon conviction, to criminal forfeiture.” Imprisonment and vehicle forfeiture should be reserved for only the most heinous violations. Our government does not need to put scientists in jail and confiscate University vans. We can visualize now a group of students unknowingly crossing over an invisible line and ending up handcuffed and prosecuted. An honest mistake is just that and should be treated accordingly.

    There are no provisions for the sale of fossils from commercial quarries or surface collecting. These are an important and integral part of the world of paleontology, and a mechanism to provide for the sale of fossils from public lands, like other resources, should have been devised as part of this Bill. There are also no provisions for commercial exploration, collecting, processing and sale of fossils on public lands. Wouldn’t this be a better alternative than fossils disappearing from the world forever? All other natural resources are allowed this application. Why have vertebrate fossils been excluded? Gravel companies can grind up fossils for fill, but collectors are not allowed to collect and sell these same fossils. Something just doesn’t seem right about this. AAPS members have volunteered numerous times to assist with the wording of this Bill and to date have been largely ignored. As the only organization of professional fossil collectors in the US, we find it disturbing that the issues we might have helped deal with in the creation of this legislation, and those which unfortunately require that we withhold our support, could have been successfully addressed had we been consulted. We invite you to visit our facility here in Woodland Park to see first hand how a commercial Paleontological company does business and pays its own way. Please extend this invitation to other members of the committee. I feel that they probably don’t really know what we do, how we do it, and the responsibility we have to science and our field of choice, paleontology. Professional collectors, intimately familiar with the latest techniques for safe retrieval and documentation can and should be a vital ally in the fight to preserve our fossil resources. Myriad opportunities exist for contract and collaborative exploration, excavation, preparation, molding, casting, mounting and conservation. Due to the expense involved with fossil collecting, many specimens have been lost to science due to the fact that the museums and universities collecting on public land do not have the time, money or staff to collect everything they see. These specimens end up as dust as they erode away. Representatives from different museums and organizations have told us of this exact thing happening to them, as year after year they return to a collecting area and watch fossils erode to nothing. It is also important to note that our arguments against this legislation are supported by the National Academy of Sciences 1986 report titled “Paleontological Collecting”. Unfortunately, years later and following numerous requests to participate in the process, we still have not had an opportunity to provide additional insight into this Bill. Perhaps with a little more input and a few amendments, this Bill could really benefit the science of paleontology. Please allow us an opportunity to participate in the creation of viable legislation that would preserve the resource and bring all of paleontology together. DO NOT allow this legislation to pass in its present form.


    Tracie Bennitt
    President, Association of Applied Paleontological Sciences

  • brada 02/11/2009 3:45am

    This issue is what fundamentaly separates Democrats from republicans. The Republicans hold nothing sacred except their personal wealth and have no honor. God bless Obama and the democrats.

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